Volunteer Program Frequently Asked Questions
- Help save animals’ lives and make their lives happier!
- Assist the shelter staff by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet guardianship and animal protection.
- Help MHS save and earn money: Volunteer time is worth $19.51 an hour, and logging your volunteer hours helps us attain grant money.
- Gain skills and expertise: Employers and college admissions personnel look favorably on time spent in volunteer service.
- Help yourself! Volunteering makes you healthier and provides physical and mental rewards such as reducing stress. Feelings of optimism, joy, and having control over one’s fate strengthen the immune system!
Q: Is there anything that I should consider before taking the next step to become a Volunteer?
A: MHS needs volunteers who are self-motivated, mature, sensitive, and dependable. In addition, below is a list of questions that you should ask yourself to make sure that volunteering is a good fit for you:
- Are you over the age of 18? (Alternately, volunteers ages 14-17 may be accompanied by an adult over 25 years old who is also a volunteer, and must perform the same tasks.)
- Do you have consistent, reliable transportation?
- Do you have the weekly availability to work at our shelters or off-site locations (usually 2-4 hour shifts); and/or, availability to assist with at least 2 events a year?
- Are you able to make at least a 4-month commitment to volunteering for MHS?
- Do you have reliable access to the internet for obtaining information about volunteer positions, signing up for events, and logging your volunteer hours?
If you answered "no" to one or more of these questions, the MHS Volunteer Program may not be the best fit for you. Please feel free to call and discuss any of the above questions or your concerns further with the Community Outreach Department.
Q: Is there anything that children under the age of 14 can do to help the animals at MHS?
A: Absolutely! There are crafts that kids can make and donate to be used by our shelter animals, or ideas of how children can become involved in fundraising. Check out our kids’ page at: http://www.michiganhumane.org/volunteer_kids.
Q: What volunteer roles are available?
A: We have all sorts of volunteer positions available, such as walking dogs, socializing cats, administrative assistants, wildlife volunteers, foster caregivers, photo team members, donations collectors, and special events volunteers. Most help working directly with animals requires a weekly commitment.
Q: Why can’t I just go help out at the shelter?
A: All MHS Volunteers must first go to an orientation to learn more about the volunteer program and the available volunteer roles. You will then receive training for your chosen volunteer role(s). The MHS Volunteer program is structured to help provide the best care possible for the animals. Training is required for your safety and for the best interest of the animals in our care. All MHS Volunteers are on a schedule so we know that the animals will be receiving care each day, and at scheduled times. Our goal is to have all volunteer roles filled daily, so that we can better assist the animals. Volunteers must sign up so we are not over- or under-booked.
Q: Why can’t I just come and play with the kittens or puppies?
A: All of our volunteer roles are structured so that the volunteer is doing something to either make the animal’s environment less stressful or helping to make the animal more adoptable. Of course there is some socialization and play involved in this, but there are other responsibilities as well such as teaching proper behaviors (no mouthing, jumping, etc.), or cleaning up any accidents that the animal might have. We also want volunteers to know- or be willing to learn- about basic animal body language and communication for their safety.
Q: Do you offer community service opportunities?
A: Yes, we offer two types of short-term service opportunities. These volunteers do not work directly with the animals. Primary responsibilities of short term community service volunteers include providing janitorial services (i.e., cleaning bathrooms, sweeping, mopping, washing dishes, washing laundry, cleaning outside grounds, cleaning cages, etc.). If you need to complete community service hours, it is important to begin the process early, as there is an application to be completed, and training involved. We recommend contacting MHS at least 2 months before your hours need to be completed to be sure that you have the time to complete the application process and complete the hours of service.
- Community service program for students: For students who need to complete at least 20 hours of community service. We have an application for our Short Term Community Service Program which can be mailed or emailed to you. Student and parent (if student is under age of 18) will each need to complete an application as students 14-17 years old must volunteer with an adult over 25 years old who is also a volunteer, and must perform the same tasks.
- Court-ordered community service program: For people age 18 or older requiring 20 or more service hours. These opportunities are for people accused of misdemeanors only (not eligible for felony charges). Please visit the one of our adoption centers directly (located in Detroit, Westland, and Rochester Hills) and ask for a blue Court-Ordered Community Service Application.
Q: Are there any fees involved in volunteering for MHS?
A: We do not charge any dues or membership fees to our volunteers. The only cost incurred as a volunteer is for a volunteer t-shirt ($9) or sweatshirt ($14), which are required attire when you are working at the shelters or adoption centers.
Q: What are my next steps to becoming a volunteer?
A: If you meet the requirements listed above, your next step is to apply online at http://www.michiganhumane.org/get-involved/volunteer/apply/mhs-volunteer-application.html.