How to start volunteering

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.  After looking over this page, if you still have questions about volunteering, please email Hillary Hooke at hhooke@memphishumane.org.


Volunteer Applications: Volunteer Dog Walking and Cat Care and General Volunteers

Dog Walking:

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer dog walker at HSMSC, please complete this application. Please note that dog walking volunteers must be 18 or older. Once you have submitted your application, our volunteer manager will reach out via email to help you sign up for Dog Walker Orientation. At the Dog Walker Orientation, we provide an overview of The Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County’s programs and services, answer frequently asked questions about our dogs, and go over practical hands on skills you will need as a dog walker.

After orientation, you will need to purchase your volunteer equipment. This includes a yellow dog walker t-shirt and approved leash. These supplies must be purchased prior to your first dog walking shift. All volunteers are required to fill out a waiver of liability prior to volunteering.

Cat Care and General Help:

If you are interested in volunteering as a cat care assistant, or in general volunteering (administrative and event help, photography, IT, greeting adopters, etc.) please complete this application. Once you have submitted your application, our volunteer manager will reach out via email to help you sign up for your first volunteer shift. At your first shift, you will need to purchase a green general volunteer t-shirt and fill out a waiver of liability.


Who can volunteer?

We encourage everyone in our community who has a passion for animal welfare to check out our volunteer opportunities! However, due to the nature of some of our work, we do have some age restrictions on who can volunteer for certain activities. To be part of our dog walking program, you must be 18 years or older. For other volunteer opportunities, such as cat care or cleaning projects, who can volunteer is based on ability to work with our schedule and is not age restricted. Right now, the Humane Society is prioritizing long term volunteers, and we are most able to accommodate requests for volunteer hours when there will be an ongoing commitment. Please note that at this time we are unable to host volunteers who are 16 or younger who will not be accompanied at all times by a parent, caregiver or older sibling. 


When can I volunteer?

The Humane Society needs volunteers throughout the week – but volunteer opportunities will vary depending on the time of day and day of the week. Below is a brief outline of our dog walking, cat care and building maintenance schedules, which will give you an idea of when you can volunteer! Please note that if your schedule does not allow you to participate in one of the below opportunities, volunteering at the Humane Society might not be the right fit for you.

Dog walking shifts: Monday – Saturday, 9am-11am, and 4pm-6pm. Sundays: new volunteers must check with Hillary before Sunday shifts.

Cat cleaning shifts: Monday-Sunday, 9am-12pm.

Building maintenance shifts: Saturday 7am-12pm.


Group Volunteer & Community Service Projects:

Thank you for your interest in bringing your business or community organization to the Humane Society 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 the Humane Society.

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 Humane Society 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 the Humane Society requires.
  • Each group will provide a set number of expected volunteers. The Humane Society cannot accommodate overly large groups (25+) and the the Humane Society will require a minimum number of volunteers depending on the assigned task.
  • Group volunteers will be provided with needed supplies by the humane Society for assigned tasks. Volunteers may want to bring extra task related supplies (gloves, garden tools, etc.). Extra supplies are permitted; however, the Humane Society 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 the Humane Society 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: hhooke@memphishumane.org


School Community Service Hours:

We have a limited number of community service volunteer jobs available at any given time, so we encourage any interested students to reach out and inquire about volunteer opportunities at least one month in advance. Requests for community service hours at the Humane Society that are made less than one month in advance will generally not be considered, unless we have a particular need that the student can help fulfill.

Please note that the duties high school students are expected to help with for these community service hours are: general shelter upkeep and assistance, laundry, dishes, floor and wall cleaning, and various outdoor projects such as cleaning play yards. These are all extremely important, high-demand jobs at the Humane Society. 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. We do require that you sign up in advance, as seats are limited.

As an alternative to volunteering on-site, we encourage students to participate in one of our community events; organize a donation drive fundraiser; or create a personal campaign to raise money for our animals. Any student is welcome and encouraged to do a donation drive fundraiser or a personal campaign to earn service hours. Please email Hillary Hooke at hhooke@memphishumane.org for details.

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 the Humane Society. 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 Humane Society 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 Leonard at ltiscia@memphishumane.org.


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