Shelter Volunteers Make an Impact

Shelter Volunteers Make an Impact

Behind every animal on their adoption day is a volunteer who helped make it happen.

We are thankful for the many volunteers who care for shelter pets and work with the community to help us Make Happy Happen every day!

Volunteers provide dog enrichment, assist community members in need through our Pet Food Pantry, bathe and groom pets with matted fur or fleas, walk dogs, socialize with the shelter cats, give bunnies time to exercise, and so much more!

Every volunteer makes a positive impact, but don’t just take our word for it! Here are some impactful moments from our volunteers:

Fostering Hope

I have tried several different volunteer opportunities but the most unique has been a Guinea pig foster. I saw an email about three bonded sister Guinea pigs that were surrendered and they all were pregnant.  They needed a temporary quiet place to have their babies. When I met them, they seemed so cheerful and chatty.  I decided to take them home.  In a 24-hour period, I went from three mommas to adding ten babies! Baby Guinea pigs are adorable and within a week they started to call out for me when it was time to eat.  Those baby squeals are so cute!   It is a great feeling to know you can give a temporary home and love for animals in need.  I was given everything those Guinea pigs could possibly need and I had someone to call if I had any questions.  – Debra, foster volunteer

Enriching Lives

I love spending time with the dogs and showing them love and affection. While volunteering for dog enrichment shifts, I try and come in early before the dogs get a chance to meet with the public. It is so rewarding meeting these dogs and wondering what kind of past they may have endured and being hopeful for their future. Seeing how excited these dogs are for the 20-30 minutes of interaction just shows me how much they need it. It’s stimulating and allows me to help the shelter learn about what these dogs are like and what they know (such as basic commands or if they enjoy belly rubs). – Brittany, dog enrichment volunteer

My favorite cat to work with is a frozen, shut-down one. I tend to spend hours with just a few kitties rather than shorter periods of time with many. Spending a lot of time with a cat can be so beneficial. To see a cat that started off as a statue sitting in a corner at the back of its litter box cubby, showing no response to petting or treats; to a cat that recognizes and trusts me is incredibly rewarding. The most rewarding moment is when someone comes into the shelter and falls in love with one of these cats. – Chris, PurrTime volunteer

As a dog enrichment volunteer for a few years now, I’ve seen how much the dogs need to have enrichment in the shelter to make their lives more comfortable. In fact, since I’ve seen how much they need me, I’m studying to be a certified dog trainer. I’m using my skills at the shelter with the dogs, learning their signals, and how important it is for them to feel comfortable with me so they can find their forever home eventually. Every dog that I spend time with is in my mind and I love to train them. It’s rewarding to see the dogs get adopted and know they found their home. – Lis, dog enrichment volunteer

Today, I got to work with some puppies on being comfortable with people, and helping them learn that their behaviors can make great things happen, like getting treats! Later in the day, an adoptable dog made me laugh trying to convince me of his versatility, showing me how he could be a lawnmower, a bird dog, or a lovely walking companion. – Karen, volunteer


Interested in becoming a volunteer? Check out our volunteer page to get started!

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Source: The Humane Society for Tacoma and Pierce County