Volunteer

Volunteers are the bread & butter of our organization. We cannot continue our lifesaving work without them. Thank you for your interest in volunteering!

Before applying, please click "Volunteer Opportunities" below to choose a few areas that may best fit your schedule, skills, and passion!
Volunteer Opportunities
Current volunteers log in here!

  • Volunteer Requirements

    All potential volunteers must:

    • Enjoy working with animals and people
    • Be at least 16 years old. (Download the PDF below for ideas on how children younger than 16 can help!)
    • Have a valid email address
    • Commit to at least 2 hours weekly for most positions


    We do not accept the following into our regular volunteer program:

    • Children under the age of 16
      Staff-client volunteer teams
      Court-ordered community service (see below)
      High school or college students needing hours for classes (see below)

    For information on court-ordered community service, business volunteer opportunities, or contributing volunteer hours for a high school or college class, check out our Short-Term Volunteer Opportunities below.

    Opportunities for Kids Under 16

     Download PDF
  • How does volunteering work?

    Once deciding that they can commit to volunteering consistently for the long-term, volunteers must submit a completed application. Before completing the application, check out our Volunteer Opportunities packet to see the areas we need help, timeframes for each position, and essential capabilities for each position!

    Most volunteer opportunities require a commitment of at least 2 hours every week between the hours of:

    7:00 am - 6:00 pm CST Tuesday-Saturday
    8:00 am - 4:30 pm CST Sunday-Monday

    Potential volunteers must be approved and only approved applicants will be contacted

    Accepted volunteers must attend a 2-hour orientation (scheduled with the Volunteer Coordinator) and additional training in their area of interest before starting their duties independently.

     If you know you'd like to join our team, please apply below!

  • Short-Term Volunteer Opportunities

    Court-Ordered Community Service

    The VHS accepts volunteer help from participants in the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office Pre-Trial Diversion Program and select participants from other counties. This is not part of our regular volunteer program and court-ordered community service hours are not considered “volunteer” hours, whether for personal use or for school projects.

    Community service help must come to the shelter and fill out a preliminary release before beginning hours. The following restrictions apply:

    • All participants must be age 18+.
    • Those with charges of animal cruelty or neglect may not participate
    • Those with charges of other crimes such as attempted murder, battery, theft, or armed robbery may not participate. VHS reserves the right to deny entry into the program for any participant.
    • Community service help must provide a valid photo ID and proof of health insurance when signing up for hours.
    • Most of our community service duties at the VHS involve lifting of up to 50 lbs., scrubbing, bending, and being exposed to all types of animals. Those with allergies, fear of certain types of animals, health conditions that prevent these types of duties, or those who are pregnant are strongly encouraged to complete hours elsewhere. (Keep in mind that very few duties involve direct contact with animals. Most duties are manual labor and cleaning tasks.)
    • Community service help must devote at least 2 hours of time every day that they volunteer (for example, one cannot volunteer from 1:30-3:00. All shifts must be at least 2 hours in length. This means that all community service must be signed in by 2:30 pm daily.)
    • Community service help should wear old clothing and tennis shoes that they do not mind getting dirty, wet, bleached, or covered in animals’ bodily fluids.

    To sign up for court-ordered community service, stop by the shelter Tuesday-Saturday from 9 am – 6 pm CST or contact your probation officer. No phone calls please. Once you are enrolled, hours can be completed 7 days a week. Additional information will be provided upon enrollment.

    Do not delay. If you have hours to complete, start as soon as possible. VHS reserves the right to turn away help at any time due to lack of staff or available duties for community service help. Hours are not guaranteed.

    High School/College Class Requirements


    The VHS gets hundreds of requests each year for students wishing to complete their volunteer hours for school at our shelter. While we always appreciate volunteer help, we must train our regular animal care volunteers extensively. As a nonprofit, we are not able to devote valuable staff time and resources to train those who will only serve a few hours for a short-term project.

    Occasionally we will have short-term opportunities for students at the shelter. These are not duties that deal directly with the animals, but they are still vital in helping us care for them and maintain a pleasant facility for potential adopters! 

    They include tasks like:

    • Folding & putting away laundry
    • Washing windows & dusting
    • Unfolding newspapers
    • Dividing up pet food
    • Picking up trash
    • Weeding landscaping


    We will also allow students to organize offsite fundraisers or supply drives for our animals and apply those hours toward their project.

    All of our volunteers at the shelter must be at least 16 years of age. If you would like to discuss doing short-term volunteer hours for school, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator using the form below. Keep in mind that only approved applicants are contacted. DON’T DELAY! We have very few of these opportunities throughout the year, and they fill up quickly. VHS reserves the right to turn away help at any time and volunteer hours for classes are not guaranteed.

    Businesses & Groups

    If your company, fraternity/sorority, or other group would like to volunteer together, we can usually accommodate requests made at least 1 month in advance. Our group volunteer opportunities are limited to 25 people at once.

    Our most urgent needs for larger groups of volunteers are:

    Happy Tails Resale Shop

    Saturdays from 8:15 am – 3:15 pm (year-round)
    Up to 6 people (or two shifts of 6 people each)

    West Side Nut Club Fall Festival

    First full week in October
    Three 4-hour shifts between 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
    8 people per shift

    Look for 2018 signups in late August/early September!

    Most other group volunteer opportunities must be arranged Monday-Friday, 8 am – 6 pm with some Saturdays available. These include helping with various duties around the shelter like landscaping care, dividing up pet food, and animal enrichment.

    Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator to discuss group volunteer opportunities for your business!

    Scout Projects & Senior Projects

    VHS is a popular place for local Scouts and high school seniors to complete their senior projects. While we appreciate the help and support from the community, we can only devote staff time & resources to a small number of projects each year. These projects are approved on a first-come first-served basis. Don’t procrastinate! 

    Some examples of current available projects are:

    • Building or fundraising for benches and shade tents for our dog yards
    • Completing landscaping on our property
    • Improvements to our Cageless Cat Lounge
    • Offsite fundraisers


    Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator to inquire about any available Scout projects!