What do volunteers do?
Due to the small staff’s large work load, HSSET is in constant need of persons to help us socialize, walk, and care for our residents’ more personal needs. Many of the animals at the shelter are in need of dedicated attention which we do not always have the time to give them. Volunteers commonly spend time with individual pets or animals who room together, playing with them, grooming them, taking them for walks, and generally showering them with affection.
From time to time, special projects will come up that need a larger work force than we can provide, such as charity event booths or putting together mail packets for large donation drives. Some volunteers offer their specialized services–such as photography, sewing, landscaping, even welding!–as necessary. For more details, please speak with Rachel Barron.
Why is orientation mandatory?
The shelter is an incredibly fun, rewarding place to spend an afternoon volunteering. You get to work with almost any animal you want, for as long as you want–but remember, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Volunteer orientation serves to introduce the facility workings to new volunteers (or old volunteers who would like a refresher course). In it, we teach you about the way the shelter handles our large resident population from feeding times, to quarantine procedures, to how to handle accidents, or any–thankfully rare–fights that may occur. Even when those procedures boil down to “get a staff member,” such as in the case of the aforementioned fight, it’s important to us that our volunteers understand just what sort of situations they could find themselves in and how to handle them.
Why is there a Fee to Volunteer?
In order to cover the cost of volunteer shirts, paperwork and trainers we must charge a one-time fee of 25$ per new volunteer. This fee provides a t-shirt and an information packet with all you need to know about handling the shelter pets. We require all volunteers to wear their t-shirt when on duty as a means of distinguishing them from other shelter guests.
Can’t my underage child volunteer?
Underage volunteers are allowed only on a case-by-case basis, as approved by the shelter manager. In all instances, said child must have a volunteer parent or legal guardian accompanying them who will be within several feet of them at all times. This is as much to ensure the child’s safety as the animals’, as some animals may have negative reactions to younger children.
Is it necessary to wear a volunteer shirt every time I come in?
We strongly prefer volunteers to be wearing their volunteer shirt and lanyards any time they are on the grounds. If you do happen to forget exceptions can be cleared by the shelter manager, provided the volunteer in question has their lanyard. If you are without both your shirt and lanyard we’re happy to let you stay around the shelter but ask that you please refrain from participating in any volunteer activities such as walking animals without supervision. This is to prevent confusion for staff and presumptive pet parents alike, who might not be familiar with all or new volunteers and may become confused as to what behavior is acceptable for potential adopters. Remember, orientation happens for a reason and persons who have yet to complete their orientation are barred from certain activities volunteers enjoy.
I’d like my large group to work together on a big project for you. How can we set that up, and what might you need done?
We are so very grateful for the community organizers who take time out of their own schedules to help us get a little bit ahead. There are always so many things to do around here, and there never seems like enough time to get it all done. That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering a large group project.
Due to parking lot space restrictions group projects are best coordinated at least a month in advance–two would be wonderful. Not only does advance warning give us time to prepare our staff and residents for the added hustle and bustle, but it allows us to let the community know what is going on in order to minimize confusion for potential adopters. If your group is part of a business or other organization, it’s a great opportunity to get a little publicity in return for your generous efforts, and also to solidify your plans so that everything comes together as smoothly as possible.
Another thing is that the extra time in planning allows both parties to make final decisions about what is to be done. While the shelter needs all the help it can get, we also have to be aware of any long term investments that might need to be made to accommodate certain things such as a room expansion or the addition of extra flower plants–to give a few examples from projects in the past. While these are incredibly generous offers, if the shelter cannot support the added electricity draw, for instance, or maintain the additional garden work… The shelter manager and board President always have a list of ideas available, and will be more than happy to work with your group to find a project worthy of your time that best benefits the shelter.
In order to set up such a project, in fact, it’s best that you contact Rachel Barron–once again, she’s our Volunteer Coordinator–and ask to be put in touch with either Carrie May or Amy Bean. He might ask a few preliminary questions, just to make sure you’re passed to the correct person. Once again, we are so grateful that you’ve considered giving us a huge helping hand.