Volunteer Program FAQ

The Humane Society of Bay County embraces volunteers as essential partners in our lifesaving work. We engage volunteers in supporting staff at every level to amplify our efforts to create a more humane community. We welcome and respect our volunteers’ unique identities, diverse backgrounds, and experiences to build an inclusive no-kill animal welfare movement. We believe everyone can help fight for our furry friends!

  • Be at least 18 years of age. Teens between 16-18 who are still enrolled in a high school program can apply to join our Youth Volunteer Program
  • Be able to volunteer independently
  • Attend a volunteer orientation prior to the start of volunteer work
  • Commit to volunteering once a week for the first month of volunteering
  • Be willing to pay a $15 volunteer fee at the time of your orientation. This includes a volunteer T-shirt and helps defray HSBC volunteer program expenses

Volunteer service through the volunteer program CANNOT be court-ordered

Volunteering at the Humane Society of Bay County does require certain skills and abilities. These essential capabilities are, but are not limited to:

  • Willing to work as part of a team to achieve the goals for the day
  • Able to take instruction and work independently when needed
  • Comfortable speaking to staff, customers, and other volunteers
  • Maintain a professional appearance & positive energy
  • Able to follow safety protocols
  • Able to work with cleaning chemicals
  • Meet the basic physical requirements for volunteers
  • Commitment to HSBC’s mission

Start by filling out an application. Once completed a staff member will contact you within two (2) business days to advise you of the next steps.

Upon application approval:

  1. Sign the confidentiality agreement, liability waiver, and volunteer guidelines
  2. Provide a photo ID or a copy
  3. Complete in-person training/orientation
  4. Set up your volunteer schedule

We ask for a commitment of once a week for the first month of volunteering

Yes. We have easy-to-follow training guides and volunteer/staff trainers who will support you through every step. We even have some opportunities that require little training so you will feel like you are making an impact immediately.

Volunteers will be asked to come to orientation or make arrangements for training before the start of the first shift.


  • Orientation could take up to one hour
  • An brief overview of the organization
  • Bring a picture ID, a copy is placed in your file
  • We will review volunteer guidelines
  • Complete any outstanding paperwork
  • An overview of the safety policy
  • Expectations and volunteer duties
  • Q & A

We ask for a $15.00 volunteer fee at the time of orientation. This includes one (1) volunteer t-shirt. Additional shirts can be purchased for $5.00. Fees are not refundable.

All volunteers must be clearly identified as a volunteer while performing services at the shelter, or thrift store, or while participating in any special project or fund-raising event.

    • A volunteer t-shirt, one (1) is provided at orientation. Additional t-shirts are $5.00
    • Closed-toed shoes, you will be on your feet so wear practical and comfortable shoes
    • Jeans are required when working at the shelter or helping with donation pickups
    • Clothing with offensive language or displays of alcohol, tobacco, etc.
    • Open-toed shoes or open-back shoes
    • No dangling jewelry

Volunteers performing a service that involves handling animals or working at the thrift store should wear clothes that can get dirty or furry.

It is recommended that when volunteering you wear clothing that will protect your skin from any injuries that may occur.

  • Volunteer shifts are scheduled, we do not take walk-ins under any circumstances
  • Two (2) cancellations or no-shows of scheduled shifts will result in being ineligible for further service
  • At any point in time, if the volunteer is not meeting expectations or causing a disruption of normal business operations, the Manager can discontinue any further service
  • Volunteers must sign in and out for their scheduled shift
  • Accidents or injuries must be reported to the Manager immediately
  • Please do not bring anyone (friends, relatives, children) who have not been approved to volunteer with you. Personal pets are not allowed

The following actions will not be tolerated and will result in the immediate dismissal of the volunteer:

  • Abusive behavior toward an animal
  • Physical or verbal abuse of any staff or volunteer
  • Disregarding the rules and regulations
  • Sexual harassment
  • Any use of drugs or alcohol or arriving under the influence

Most volunteer work requires some physical ability. The basic requirements are:

  • Ability to stand or walk for the duration of volunteer shift
  • Lift and carry 25 lbs
  • Tolerate loud sounds and odors

Some volunteer work requires additional abilities and include:

  • Lifting over 25 lbs
  • Ability to lift and move various furniture
  • Pushing and pulling products on shelves
  • Ok being outside for periods of time during hot weather

Review the Shelter and Thrift Store FAQ for additional requirements

After 40 hours of volunteer work, you are eligible for a 20% discount at the Thrift Store for one (1) year from the date of your volunteer application.*

Store volunteers may be responsible for, but not limited to, the following:

  • Organizing displays
  • Re-stocking
  • Store cleaning
  • Tagging items
  • Maintaining sales floor presentations
  • Maintaining a courteous and professional attitude with customers
  • Helping customers with purchases (for example: answering questions, moving furniture, etc.)
  • Helping change seasonal displays
  • Sorting and cleaning donations
  • Working in the warehouse (testing products, washing and folding linens, moving furniture, etc.)
  • Going on donation pickups

*Community service is not eligible to receive a discount
*Store purchasing policy applies

We do not have volunteer opportunities at this time at our shelter.

How is volunteering at an animal shelter different than other volunteer work? You get to work with animals and meet like-minded animal lovers! It’s a great way to make friends and spend time with cuddly critters.

You also get to help lonely animals. You get to play with them, make sure they live in a clean environment and help them find loving homes. You’ll help guide people on their path to finding their dream pet. It’s challenging work, but it can also be a rewarding process.

While volunteering at an animal shelter can be a great experience, it does require a lot of work beyond just playing with animals. Volunteers are responsible for taking care of the animals’ needs which include: cleaning up after them, cleaning kennels, sweeping, mopping, filling water and food bowls, tidying litter boxes, washing linens, etc.


  • Standing unassisted for long periods of time
  • Walk distances unassisted
  • Bend, kneel, crouch unassisted
  • Use of both hands simultaneously
  • Lift, carry and move at least 25 lbs independently
  • Must have average vision (you must be able to see the body language of an animal for safety)


  • Volunteers are only allowed to handle certain animals, please do not open any kennels that you have not been given permission to do so
  • Please do not go into restricted areas, i.e. quarantine or intake
  • Please wash your hands between touching animals, throughout the workday, handling animals from
    kennel to kennel increases the risk of spreading diseases
  • Inform staff if bites, scratches, or animal aggression occurs
  • Only one animal is to be walked at a time. You will have access to leashes and will be informed of the animals that you are authorized to walk
  • During the summer months, monitor the dogs’ comfort to ensure they are not overheated. Limit walking time to about 10-15 minutes per dog
  • Inform staff if there are any noticeable health concerns with an animal. i.e. runny noses, limping, lethargy, etc.

Disease Transmission & Control
A healthy animal may be carrying disease while showing no symptoms. Stress plays a huge role in lowering an animal’s immune system and allowing them to become ill. Our most important job is to help keep the animal’s stress levels as low as possible.

It is possible for you to transmit disease from the animals at the shelter to your pets at home and vice versa. We ask that all your personal pets be vaccinated for parvo, and bordetella as well as up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. We also recommend changing clothes after your volunteer shift and before interacting with your own pets or other animals.

We do offer court-ordered community service opportunities. Please see our Community Service Program for more information.

Thank you for considering the Humane Society of Bay County for your group volunteer outing! We offer the following opportunities:

  • Working at our Thrift & Gift store; processing donations, store projects, in-house events
  • Your group can also support our work by coordinating and participating in offsite group service projects (like making toys, collecting and donating items from our “wish list,” or holding a fundraiser)

On-location opportunities require all volunteers to be at least 18 years of age or older, and require all volunteers to be able to volunteer independently, exercise sound judgment, stand, walk, bend, and crouch unassisted. Volunteers should also be able to manipulate 20-25 lbs. If you have questions about the essential capabilities for these activities, please ask before signing up.

Groups must have at least 3 volunteers. The maximum number of volunteers we can accommodate is 6-8. If you will have less than 3, you may be asked to reschedule.

If you would like to book a volunteering session for your group, please email our team at [email protected].