Become a Volunteer

The Humane Society of Western Montana's goal is to ensure that every pet in the shelter gets a minimum of 20 minutes of human contact daily. Studies have shown that 20 minutes of human contact daily can make a difference in the life of a homeless pet. It decreases the pets anxiety which can cut down stress related illnesses and make them 'show' better to potential adopters.

A lot more goes into running a shelter than just the direct care of animals. We need lots of help maintaining our facility with things like weeding, building upkeep, kennel repair, making and preparing treats and enrichment activities, and much more. Every job we find a volunteer for is a job we don't have to budget for, and that leaves more resources for the animals. 

Because training new volunteers requires an investment of time and the animals are depending on you, we do require volunteers to sign up for weekly shifts and be able to make at least a three-month commitment to work directly with the shelter pets. We realize that you may not be available for every shift, but we request advance notice so we can fill your shift.

If you think you have the time and skills to volunteer with us please review the positions and available shifts below. Your help in the shelter, out in the neighborhoods or in your own home can and does make a world of difference for the animals!

How do I become a volunteer?

1. Do you fulfill our requirements to volunteer?

  • You want to help people find a new pet to welcome into their home
  • You want to helpe people learn the skills and find the resources they need to not have to give up their pets
  • You want to help animals in the shelter de-stress and get adopted
  • You are physically capable of performing the position you're applying for - Dogs are enrgetic and can jump and pull. Working with them requires being able to physically restrain them and provide vigorous exercise, sometimes in inclement conditions. Cats require being able to stand and interact with them for a half hour at a time. They can scratch and bite if stressed.
  • You are willing to learn new skills - All our volunteers get training throughout their volunteer careers
  • You're willing to be open minded, flexible, and positive about animals in the shelter, adopters, surrenderers, training/handling strategies, and Humane Society Policies, even if they don't align with your personal views
  • You're willing to commit to the shelter - We typically require volunteers to sing up for a pre-scheduled weekly shift and commit to that schedule for at least three months


2. Look at the volunteer positions below


3. If you think you're a good fit for a position and you can fill one of the available shifts, submit an application!

Volunteer Positions

  • Dog Team- These volunteers come in every week for a scheduled 2 hour long shift to take shelter dogs out for walks, training, enrichment, and they help Dog Side Staff prepare treats, meals, food toys, and help ensure every dog in our building gets at least 20 minutes a day of one-on-one time with a person. You must be 18 or older to volunteer with dogs at the shelter.

              Available shifts: Not currently accepting new volunteers. Please check back later!

  • Dog Field Trips - Part of our Short Term Fostering Program, these volunteers take dogs on half day adventures out of the Humane Society. Field trips are only available in the mornings and scheduled in advance but require no weekly commitment. Availability is dependent on the number of dogs in the building and their preferences. Some rules and restrictions apply. Learn more about Shoter Term Fostering here.

              Available shifts: Always accepting new volunteers! Apply here

  • Dog Sleepovers -  Part of our Short Term Fostering Program, these volunteers take dogs out of the shelter after we close to adopters and let them get some much needed R&R at home overnight while we are closed to adopters. Sleepovers have some strict rules on what dogs can do and where they can go. Since the dogs that benefit most from sleepovers are typically the ones that are the most stressed in the shelter, meeting other animals often doesn’t go well. Applicants who have another pet at home are much less likely to find good sleepover matches. Learn more about Shoter Term Fostering here.

              Available shifts: Always accepting new volunteers! Apply here

  • Cat Team - These volunteers come in every week for a scheduled 2 hour long shift to socialize with, train, and play with cats, and help ensure every cat in our building gets at least 20 minutes a day of one-on-one time with a person.

              Available shifts: Wednesday 1:00-3:00, Thursday 1:00-3:00 and 3:00-5:00, Friday 1:00-3:00 and 3:00-5:00 Apply Here

  • Cat Cleaning Assistant - These volunteers come in for one morning a week and help staff clean, feed, and get the cats ready for the day. It usually takes between 1-2 hours, depending how many cats we have in the building. While it's not a very glamorous task, it is incredibly important to maintaining a high quality of life for the cats in our shelter, keeping stress levels low, and ultimately getting cats adopted! If one of those shifts works in your schedule please consider helping out the cats!

              Available shifts: - Mondays 9-11AM, Tuesdays 9-11AM, Wednesdays 9-11AM, or Sundays 9-11AM Apply Here

  • Dog Cleaning aSsistant - Dog Cleaning Volunteers – These volunteers come in for one morning a week and help staff deep clean the dog kennels and get them set up for the day. It usually takes between 1-2 hours, depending how many dogs we have in the building. While it's not a very glamorous task, it is incredibly important to maintaining a high quality of life for the dogs in our shelter, keeping stress levels low, and ultimately getting dogs adopted!

              Available shifts: - Mondays 9-11AM, Tuesdays9-11AM, Wednesdays 9-11AM, or Sundays 9-11AM Apply Here

 

Under 18? We would still love your help! Check out the Kids page to learn more

Need to volunteer to fulfill a community service requirement? Visit our Community Service page to learn more

We are always looking for people who want to help in ways besides directly with animals. These roles include weeding, facility upkeep, humane education presenters, board of director committees, events, and more. If you would like to help with any of these other activities, please apply here!

Fill out the volunteer application here if you can fill one of the shifts posted above. If you submit an application for a position that does not currently have any openings, we will hold your application for 6 months and contact you seem like a good fit for a position that opens up

Questions?

Email our volunteer coordinator at volunteer@myhswm.org

Please Be aware that the Humane Society is a busy working environment where pet allergens, cleaning agents and high noise levels exist. Critters may jump on you, leave muddy paw prints and could scratch or bite. Although not all jobs require hands-on involvement with shelter animals, you will almost certainly be working near dogs, cats and other small animals.

Thank you!

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