Volunteering FAQ

If you don’t find the information you're looking for on this page, please call us 763-432-4833 or send us a message.

Do you make exceptions to your minimum age rule?

For the safety of our volunteers and animals, we require that all volunteers be at least 16 years of age to volunteer in a regular role ― no exceptions. Although you must be 16 years old to volunteer, we have many other ways for young people to support the animals and learn about animal welfare

We also have special programs for young people who love animals and wish to learn more about how to help the world become a more humane place. 

I am unable to volunteer independently. Can I bring a helper with me when I volunteer?

Due to the nature of the work at Animal Humane Society, with limited resources and often confined physical space, we are unable to accept volunteering teams of any number. Each volunteer at Animal Humane Society must go through the volunteer application process individually and be able to independently fulfill the responsibilities of their role.
 

I have a group that is interested in volunteering at one of your locations. What do you have available for group volunteering?

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate groups of volunteers in our sites. Groups can support the animals in our care by making toys, collecting and donating items from our wish list or holding a fundraiser. 

After your group has held a fundraiser or donated items for the animals, a tour is a wonderful way to top off the experience. This is a great way for the group to see exactly how the animals are being supported by your efforts. Tours are available at any of our three shelter locations. 

Do you accept court-ordered community service hours?

We do not accept court-ordered community service volunteers.

How often do I need to volunteer?

Foundational volunteers (entry-level) have flexible scheduling in which volunteers can pick up shifts as their availability allows. Shifts typically range from 2 to 4 hours with a minimum of one shift per month.

Mid-level and advanced roles require a regularly scheduled shift.

When are the volunteer shifts?

Each site has slightly different volunteer scheduling and shifts. Foundational volunteer shifts are between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays, and 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. during weekends. All volunteer shifts range from 2 to 4 hours long.

Do you have one-time or summer volunteer opportunities available?

Animal Humane Society’s Walk for Animals fundraiser is held each spring. This is a one-day event open to the public and we welcome new volunteers. Opportunities for the Walk for Animals are typically announced in early spring. Find out more about volunteering for the Walk for Animals.

Animal Humane Society offers a Student Volunteer Experience for high school students entering grades 10-12 and recent high school graduates who want to volunteer with Animal Humane Society over the course of one summer. Learn more.

I just want to walk dogs. Do I have to start out in a Foundational role before I get to walk dogs or handle animals?

Yes! Foundational roles allow volunteers to learn more about working in a shelter environment without having to go through extensive training. Entry-level volunteers must work a minimum number of hours in shelter before advancing to any animal-handling roles.

Walking dogs requires more than just walking the dogs. We want to make sure the animals consistently receive a high-quality level of care and stay as healthy as possible. To do this, we need to teach volunteers about safety procedures and protocols that are currently in place to limit the transfer of disease within our shelters. We also want to educate our volunteers on how to correctly interact with shelter animals in order to reduce stress (on animals, and volunteers as well).

In addition, mid-level volunteers are expected to assist customers during their shift and to help staff with other tasks. We want to make sure our volunteers have the information and training they need to perform their expected tasks successfully.

Foster volunteer FAQs

Do foster volunteers get to choose the foster animals they bring home?

Animals that are available for foster care are featured in an email sent to foster volunteers each week. These animals are placed into homes on a first-come, first-served basis. Foster volunteers are never expected to take an animal that is not a good fit for their home or family. Foster animals are not yet available for adoption, so are not listed on our website.

What types of animals can I foster?

Most of the foster animals at AHS are cats and dogs. Occasionally, we have critters available for foster, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, or hamsters. The animals that go out to foster care at AHS are animals that aren’t quite ready for adoption, but most likely will be with extra time and attention from foster volunteers. Animals that are candidates for foster care include kittens and puppies who are too young for spay/neuter surgery, animals recovering from surgery or illness, and pregnant or nursing animals.

I want to foster in hopes of adopting once I find the right fit. Is this an option?

Yes! Most animals that go to foster care are able to be adopted by the foster family once the animal is cleared for adoption by AHS. Any exceptions will be communicated prior to the foster placement. Foster volunteers must complete the regular adoption process with Adoption Services staff.

Is my family allowed to help with fostering?

Yes! Family participation is allowed and encouraged. The registered foster volunteer must be 18 years old or older, and will need to be the primary point of contact, caretaker, and advocate for the animal throughout their entire foster stay.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline