VOLUNTEER
PROCESS

Volunteer Process

Volunteer Process

Join Our Cause, Get Involved

We are an organization powered by volunteers, caring people of all ages and backgrounds bound by a common love of animals. The Humane Society could not achieve its mission without the dedication of the more than 300 volunteers who donate their talent and time. We are always looking for animal-lovers who want to get involved. It’s a great way to make a difference and make new friends.

 

Orientation Monthly Schedule (Subject to change due to holidays)

  • Adult Orientations are held the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. and the third Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m. at the Humane Society.
  • Level 1 Dog Walking Orientations are held the third Saturday of every month at noon and last roughly an hour and a half.
  • KPAW Orientations are held the 3rd Saturday of every month at 9 a.m. at the Humane Society.
  • Bottle Baby and Foster Orientations are held the third Saturday of the month at 2:00 p.m. when we have enough general volunteers requesting the program. Please check our calendar to see our next scheduled Bottle Baby orientation.

We do require that you please sign up in advance to attending any of the orientations as seats in the classroom are limited. Registration is done by filling out these forms with your requested General Volunteer Orientation date https://form.jotform.com/81194451885162

Volunteer Orientation

At each volunteer orientation, we provide an overview of The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County’s programs and services, answer frequently asked questions about our shelter, review available volunteer opportunities, and provide animal handling training. We offer general volunteer training as well as specialized training should you want to walk our dogs or learn how to become one of our bottle baby foster parents. Sign up by completing this form online with your requested orientation date: https://form.jotform.com/81194451885162

After orientation, you will need to purchase your volunteer equipment. This includes a green volunteer t-shirt for the general volunteers or a yellow dog walker t-shirt and approved leash if working with our dogs. These supplies must be purchased prior to your first volunteer shift. All volunteers are required to fill out a volunteer application, waiver of liability, and commit to a minimum of 4 hours of service per month.

NOTE: We do require that you please sign up in advance to attending any of the orientations as seats in the class are limited. Also, some orientation times have changed, so please review this page and our calendar before signing up for an orientation.

 

 

 

Adult Volunteers (17+ years old):

To become a volunteer at HSMSC you must first attend the Adult Volunteer Orientation where you will learn about HSMSC, our mission and services, as well as the volunteer opportunities available. Typical duties include, but are not limited to: dog enrichment, cat exercise & socialization, dishes & laundry, cleaning, adoption floor greeting, and event support. Limited community events, off-site adoption, and education program opportunities also are available; however, the focus is volunteering on-site at HSMSC.

If you are interested in socializing our cats, there will be an additional short training session partnered with some on the job training when you schedule your first cat house shift. You would schedule your first shift training upon completion of the Adult Volunteer Orientation.

If you want to walk and socialize our dogs, you need to attend the additional Level 1 Dog Walking Orientation after completion of the Adult Orientation. Every third Saturday we offer both orientations, Adult Volunteer at 10:30 a.m. and then Level 1 Dog Walking Orientation at noon.

Adult Orientations are held the first Monday of every month at 6 p.m. and the third Saturday of every month at 10:30 a.m. at the Humane Society. We do ask that you please sign up in advance to attend the orientation, as seats in the class are limited. Purchase your volunteer supplies at the time of your scheduled orientation or before your first day of volunteering. Sign up by completing this form online with your requested orientation date: https://form.jotform.com/81194451885162

 

Dog Walking Volunteers (17+ years old):

Help our dogs become more adoptable by giving them much needed exercise and using techniques that teach them behaviors that will help them get adopted and stay adopted. Volunteers must be at least 17 years of age or older to assist “hands on” in our dog walking/training. As a dog walker you will socialize, train, and exercise adoptable dogs by taking them on their daily walks. Services also include: cleaning, filling & passing out the enrichment toy known as KONGS, filling dog water bowls, folding laundry, scooping poop, and filling treat bags.

We color-code our dogs and our volunteers to ensure that the advanced dogs are walked by more experienced, specially trained volunteers. Beginner dog walkers must attend the Level 1 Dog Walking Orientation AFTER attending the Adult Volunteer Orientation. Level 1 Dog Walking Orientations are held the third Saturday of every month at noon and last roughly an hour and a half. Please come prepared for hands-on training with some of our level 1 dogs and wear long pants or jeans, along with closed toed shoes.

Purchase your volunteer supplies at the time of your scheduled orientation or before your first day of volunteering. We do ask that you sign up in advance to attend the orientation as seats in the class are limited. New volunteers must complete General Adult Orientation prior to coming to the Dog Walker Level 1 Orientation.  If you would like to complete General Adult Volunteer Orientation on a Saturday morning plus Dog Walking Level 1 the same day, you can sign up for both orientations when filling out their New Volunteer Agreement here: https://form.jotform.com/81194451885162 Volunteers currently enrolled in our General Adult Volunteer Program can sign up by speaking with a member of staff during their next volunteer shift with us.

 

KPAW Volunteers (13 – 16 years): “Kids Promoting Animal Welfare”

The KPAW volunteer program is a unique volunteer program aimed at getting young people in our community interested in animal welfare. KPAW volunteers assist with the basic, day-to-day needs of select HSMSC adoptable animals. If you are interested in socializing our cats, there will be an additional short training session partnered with some on-the-job training when you schedule your first cat house shift. You will schedule your first shift training upon completion of the KPAW Volunteer Orientation.

Typical duties include, but are not limited to: dog enrichment, cat enrichment, cat exercise & socialization, dishes & laundry, cleaning, and event support. Limited community events, off-site adoption, and education program opportunities also are available; however, the focus is volunteering on-site at HSMSC. KPAW volunteers create a better quality of life for the animals in our temporary care.

Teen volunteers ages 14 – 17 who demonstrate exceptional animal handling skills, maturity, self-motivation, and dependability may be able to advance to higher-responsibility assignments, such as mentoring younger children in our Jr. Camp Counselor Program each summer and training new KPAW volunteers by being an Assistant Volunteer Trainer! Our Jr. Camp Counselor’s must love kids and animals!

KPAW Orientations are held the 3rd Saturday of every month at 9 a.m. at the Humane Society.  Volunteers must fill out an application and have a waiver of liability signed by a parent and pay $20 for their annual membership and t-shirt. KPAW orientation does require pre-registration, which is done by emailing amoore@memphishumane.org.

 

Bottle Baby and Fostering Orientation:
(Open to any Adult Volunteer or KPAW Volunteer with their parent Adult Volunteer)

Are you ready to open your heart and home to an animal in need? HSMSC welcomes you to join our Bottle Baby and Foster Orientation! Receive hands-on training and learn how to properly care for kittens and puppies under 5 weeks old as well as other animals in our care who may need a foster home.

Fostering bottle babies is a serious commitment, as the little ones may need feeding as often as every 2-3 hours. Yes, that means several times each night! They also need help going to the bathroom (after every feeding) and need warmth constantly. While this is time consuming, it is very rewarding work!

Bottle baby fostering may be best for people who work from home, have flexible schedules, stay at home, are retired, or are able to bring tiny kittens or puppies to work every day.

Here are some of our other foster scenarios:

  • Puppies and kittens that are too young to be spayed/neutered go into foster care until they are old enough for surgery, so they can get some basic training and socialization skills.
  • Mom dogs and cats with nursing babies need a quiet foster home to relax and raise their babies in. All the joy of bottle babies with a lot less work!
  • Animals with healing wounds, broken bones, recovering from surgery, etc. all need foster homes to recover comfortably in, away from all the other pets in our care.
  • Sometimes geriatric dogs and cats come to HSMSC whose quality of life is still relatively good but are unlikely to live very much longer because of medical issues (renal failure, FeLV, etc). These animals are placed in special hospice foster homes and provided with medical care, comfort, and lots of love until their time comes.

After the orientation and successful completion of our foster application (which does include a vet check if you have other pets in your home), attendees will have the opportunity to take bottle babies or foster animals home as they come in to our care and use the skills they’ve learned to care for our animals. We do ask that you please sign up in advance to attend the orientation as seats in the class are limited. New volunteers must complete the General Adult Volunteer Orientation prior to signing up for a Foster/Bottle Baby class. You can sign up by completing this form online with your requested General Adult Volunteer Orientation date: https://form.jotform.com/81194451885162

 

Special Needs Volunteers – Volunteering with Assistance

At the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County, we welcome volunteers of all abilities. However, not every volunteer activity is going to be the right fit for every volunteer. Most volunteer activities require a full range of seeing, hearing, bending, stooping, and the ability to lift 25 pounds.

The HSMSC offers a variety of opportunities for volunteers with special needs. Adults and teenagers who require regular assistance with physical or cognitive tasks in their daily lives are welcome to volunteer as long as they are accompanied by their caregiver, their professional support staff, or an equivalent adult who also meets the requirements of a HSMSC volunteer. The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County is not able to provide assistants or mentors on an ongoing basis.

Expectations for Assistants

In addition to helping someone have a fun and fulfilling time as a volunteer, assistants are there as backup just in case anything goes wrong. For this reason, we hold assistants to the same high standards as we do regular volunteers when it comes to training. Assistants should pay attention during classes and be able to demonstrate the same core concepts that we expect of all other volunteers.

Assistants are expected to take all required training classes, submit a volunteer application, pay for the volunteer t-shirt, and conduct themselves in line with HSMSC’s standard volunteer rules.

Your first step to volunteering is to attend a General Orientation, which you may RSVP’d for by completing this form online with your requested General Adult Volunteer Orientation date: https://form.jotform.com/81194451885162

 

Group Volunteer & Community Service Projects:

Thank you for your interest in bringing your business or community organization to HSMSC to volunteer. We have projects available throughout the year that we always appreciate extra groups of volunteers to help with. These projects do not include hands-on contact with the animals in our care, but they are all very important aspects of helping animals in need. Volunteers who help us with animal care go through extensive training and make a weekly commitment to a volunteer position. If you are interested in helping in this way, please read more about general volunteering at HSMSC.

Please commit to volunteering at least two hours to make it worth the time and effort it takes to coordinate a group activity. After your group volunteering shift, we will have a staff member provide your group with some education about our mission, supervised animal interaction, and a behind-the-scenes tour of our facility.

If your group is interested in helping to form a HSMSC group volunteer event:

  • Your group should consist of at least five people.
  • Any children in the group should be at least 12 years old. (Please give advanced notice if there will be anyone under 18 coming to help.)
  • Most (if not all) volunteer work is done outside, rain or shine.
  • Group volunteer work may range from cleaning, facility maintenance, lifting and moving, or special projects as HSMSC requires.
  • Each group will provide a set number of expected volunteers. HSMSC cannot accommodate overly large groups (25+) and the HSMSC will require a minimum number of volunteers depending on the assigned task.
  • Group volunteers will be provided with needed supplies by HSMSC for assigned tasks. Volunteers may want to bring extra task related supplies (gloves, garden tools, etc.). Extra supplies are permitted; however, HSMSC is not liable for lost and/or stolen items.

We ask that our group volunteer project attendees donate a $10 flat fee per person volunteering to HSMSC on the day of their scheduled group project. This donation allows us to provide your group with a dedicated staff member to plan and assist in your volunteer group project and directly benefits the animals in our care.

Schools and nonprofit groups can have this fee waived but are encouraged to bring donations in place of the fee. Please speak with our Volunteer Engagement Specialist when submitting your group project inquiry and if approved, a current donation list will be emailed for your group’s fundraiser.

Group project inquiry is done by emailing your name, business or group name, number of people interested in volunteering, and your requested group volunteer date to: amoore@memphishumane.org

 

School Community Service Hours:

The School Community Service Program is designed for students who are required to complete a specific number of community service volunteer hours for educational purposes. We have a limited number of community service volunteer jobs available at any given time, so we encourage you to sign up at least 2 months before your project is due.

Duties in this program are usually general shelter upkeep and assistance (laundry, dishes, floor and wall cleaning, outdoor projects, data entry, etc.): all extremely important, high-demand jobs at the HSMSC. Please note: there is no direct animal interaction guaranteed. When you are accepted for your community service hours, we are happy to sign off on any required hours and paperwork.

If your school community service requirement is 10 hours or more, you must attend the appropriate Volunteer Orientation based on your age. We do require that you sign up in advance, as seats are limited.

If you or your student needs 10 hours or less, volunteering at any one of our community events, organizing a donation drive fundraiser, or creating a personal campaign to raise money for our animals are the qualifying opportunities. Please email Ashley Moore at amoore@memphishumane.org for details. Any student is welcome to do a donation drive fundraiser or a personal campaign to earn service hours.

 

Court-Ordered Community Service (Separate from our General Volunteer Programs):

The Court Ordered Community Service Program at The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County is available for individuals who are required to complete court-ordered community service hours within Shelby County and the surrounding areas. Due to limited time and training, Court Ordered Community Service volunteers will not have direct animal contact while working at HSMSC. We are only able to take a limited number of Court Ordered Community Service volunteers, so we do not guarantee that we have opportunities available at any given time.

Court Ordered Community Service tasks will include, but are not limited to: kennel cleaning, laundry, dishes, bathrooms, floors and other cleaning tasks. If you have any physical limitations or health concerns, please let us know in your application, so that we can assess whether we have tasks that accommodate your needs.

  • We CANNOT accept Community Service volunteers with the following charges, either current or past: aggravated offenses, violent crimes, any assault, or animal cruelty.
  • All Court Ordered Community Service volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.
  • We have limited shifts available; depending on your hours needed and due date, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to accommodate your request for community service.
  • All shifts will be scheduled ahead of time; we are NOT a drop-in program.
  • Court Ordered Community Service volunteers will not handle animals.
  • You must have documentation of hours needed and offense committed from a Shelby County court, parole officer, probationary officer, or other mandated service. The court documents must include the parole/probationary officer’s name and telephone number, and DOC number (if applicable), number of hours to be completed, and deadline for completion.
  • Must have a valid ID, driver’s license, passport, or government ID.
  • Must be able to follow directions under HSMSC supervision.
  • Must be forthcoming with the nature of their offense.

Please note that The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County reserves the right to refuse a Court Ordered Community Service Volunteer, or ask them to leave, at any time for any reason.

To check for available opportunities and speak to the Court Ordered Community Service program manager, please email at ltiscia@memphishumane.org.

 

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