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?
Due to the pandemic, we are only able to bring in a limited number of new volunteers at a time. We are doing our best to safely provide the level one-on-one training we would like our volunteers to have. This means we will only be onboarding new volunteers for specific cleaning and maintence shifts for the time being. We are not currently offering any dog walking or cat socilization volunteer shifts, but you can check out our visitor volunteer program. Please feel free to look through our requirements and submit an application for us to keep on file.
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 sign 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!
Follow our volunteer facebook page to see all our volunteer program updates and current opportunities!
Visitor Volunteers - We understand that there are so many people in our area who want to come volunteer at HSWM! We also understand that not everyone is able to commit to a structured schedule. We do not want that to be a barrier for you. We want to invite you to come to the shelter during any of our open hours to be visitor volunteers. We have a sign in station when you enter the lobby, just sign in, read over the waiver and instructions and head on in to see the pets!
Visitor Volunteers are able to do things like; Spend 20 minutes with a shelter cat, teach a cat a trick, create enrichment, take adorable photos, drive by treats and quiet kennel training for dogs. These are some of the most important activities that our previous cat socialization volunteers have always done, but now you can create your own schedule and come in whenever we are open.
Visitor Volunteering is a great opportunity for kids under 18 years old! Children must always be acompanied by a parent or guardian.
- 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!
- 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!
DATE WITH A DOG - Want to take a shelter dog home to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie? Or take a companion out on a hike or to grab a coffee? Date with a dog is a great short term foster opportunity that allows a volunteer to take a dog out of the shelter for a few hours before we open to the public. This program is very dependent on what dogs we have in the shelter from day to day, which can make scheduling challenging. All dates will be scheduled directly with the volunteer coordinator and are subject to change as the shelter performs intakes and adoptions.
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!
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. We prioritize applications for open shifts, so we often can't reply to every application for a closed position.
Email our volunteer coordinator at email@example.com
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.