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City of Bloomington, Indiana

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Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. Without the support of volunteers like you, we would not be able to provide for the animals in our care as well as we do.

Volunteers are required to complete a 2-hour weekly shift and serve a minimum of 6 months. Volunteers who are 13-15 years of age must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Volunteers age 16 and older may volunteer on their own.

All volunteers will begin in either Dog Walking or Cat Care and may advance to other positions after a month of service. Please read more about our volunteer positions below.

Volunteer Position Descriptions

Dog Walking

Fall in love with our shelter dogs each day and help them feel safe and loved! Walking shelter dogs not only provides them with needed exercise, but also enriches their lives while living in a new environment! Nothing brings a pup more joy than having someone interested in playing, or just a simple walk about!

Shelter dogs spend a lot of their time in a kennel and always appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs, and receive and give attention to whomever is interested in sharing time with them. Kennel life can be very stressful for dogs, and Dog Walkers provide them needed exercise, companionship, and stimulation.

We have volunteers walk dogs on the Adoptable and Stray Sides of the Animal Shelter, and Dog Walkers should be at ease with dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages. Volunteers should be able to read kennel cards and transfer dogs in and out of their kennels to the appropriate yards. All interest volunteers will attend a required Dog Walking Training and then be assigned a weekly shift. There are multiple Dog Walking shifts each day, and Dog Walkers are required to serve a 2-hour weekly shift for a minimum of 6 months.

Cat Care
Begin your morning with the happy sound of kitties awaiting your arrival! Each morning, Cat Care Volunteers assist with creating a healthy and happy environment for our lovely feline friends!

Volunteers should be willing to work with all cats of different ages, breeds, and sizes. Volunteers should not have even slight allergies to cats, or dust. Cat Care Volunteers will assist staff members with cleaning cat colonies and cat kennels on the Adoptable Side of the Animal Shelter. This position involves handling cats, providing fresh food and water, and cleaning or changing litter boxes. This position requires volunteers to work a 2-hour morning shift, from 9-11am, once a week for a minimum of 6 months. Cat Care involves lifting cats, bags of litter, and cat food. Volunteers cannot have even slight cat allergies and must be able to read kennel cards and follow specific verbal instructions.

Adoption Counselor
Minimum age is 18. Assist visitors in their search for a great companion. Be familiar with the animals available for adoption. Encourage visitors to complete an Adoption Survey so we can match them with an animal meeting their lifestyle. This position requires advanced training and a commitment of at least one year. AC shifts are 3 hours in length. We encourage volunteers to spend time in direct animal care for a month before making this commitment. Additional training is provided

Canine-ality Assessor
Find out what personality each of our adoptable dogs has by performing this test. Knowing a dog's "Canine-ality" is helpful in creating the perfect match! Interested volunteers must be especially comfortable with dogs.
Each dog is evaluated individually using elements of this test. Additional training is provided.

Feline-ality Assessor
Find out what personality each of our adoptable cats has by performing this test. With an overwhelming number of cats at the shelter for adopters to choose from, knowing a cat's "Feline-ality" helps them stand out! Additional training is provided.

Borrow a Dog
Our dogs love the opportunity to take a quick break from the shelter and head out on the town with a volunteer. Each week a list of dogs that would do well playing at a park, going for a jog, or checking out downtown is sent out in the "Weekly Round Up", and posted outside the Volunteer Office. Current volunteers are welcome to take a dog for an hour or so anytime we are open. Guidelines for borrowing a dog are posted outside the Volunteer Office.

Special Events
Volunteers help at special events showcasing Bloomington Animal Shelter adoptable dogs and cats. During the summer months, we take 4 dogs and a litter of kittens to each Farmer's Market. Special event requests are sent out in the "Weekly Round Up" each week, so keep your eyes open!

Help our animals get noticed by taking pictures of our adoptable cats and dogs! Pictures are used on Petfinder, Adoptable Pet Posters, and Facebook! Pet photographers should commit 2-3hours a week and have lots of patience to capture a good quality photo. Feel free to use your own camera or borrow ours!

Pet Descriptions
A funny or clever pet description can help an animal stand out! Spend time each week getting to know our adoptable cats and dogs, then write about them from their perspective. Pet descriptions will be used on
kennel cards, Pet Finder, and Facebook.

Book Buddies

Book Buddies is a community engagement program geared at promoting literacy in our young communitiy members while helping shelter cats! Book Buddies will bring their choice reading material during business hours to read aloud to shelter cats. Book Buddies is most suitable for children between K-6th grade levels. For more information on this program, please contact, Emily Herr

How to get started:

If you are interested in applying to become a volunteer, please fill out this application below (you will leave this website).  Please allow 2-3 weeks for this application to be processed. Once the application is approved, you will be contacted via email with information regarding an orientation.

If you are interested in coordinating a group project at the Shelter, please be aware that due to our space limitations we can not accommodate large groups. Also, due to our daily schedule of tasks that must be completed, we are only able to accommodate a small number of group projects each year and those must be specific projects that will meet a current need we have. Projects will need to be discussed on a case by case basis with the Volunteer Program Director.

You can contact our Volunteer Program Director, Jenny Gibson, at 812-349-3872 or email her at

If you are required to do Community Service or Restitution, DO NOT complete a Volunteer Application. There is no application for community service and you do not need to schedule your hours in advance. However, we must receive a copy of your Community Service paperwork, usually from the Probation Department, before you can begin any hours. That paperwork can either be faxed to us at 812-349-3440 or you can bring it with you on your first visit. Our hours are Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. As long as we have your paperwork, you can come to the Shelter any time during those hours and check in at the front desk to log your hours and receive an assignment. If you have any questions, please call 812-349-3492.