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Page last updated on January 30, 2023 at 8:27 am

Current as of 1/30/23:

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Bloomington Animal Shelter. We appreciate your willingness to help support animals in our community!

We have a long list of great people to train, so we are not currently accepting new applications. However, if you fit the requirements below and would like to be added to our waitlist, please email the Volunteer Program Director, Jenny Gibson, here: gibsonj@bloomington.in.gov

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General Volunteering Info:

We are unable to do short-term volunteering due to the amount of training required to keep everyone safe, so volunteers must serve a minimum of 6 months of service, and are welcome to stay longer, of course!  Those looking for short-term opportunities may can check the Bloomington Volunteer Network website. 

Volunteers are required to complete a 2-hour weekly shift and serve a minimum of 6 months(aside from breaks and vacations). Volunteers who are 13-15 years of age must be accompanied by a legal guardian at all times. Volunteers aged 16 yrs and older may volunteer on their own.

All applicants must pass our screening process, and cannot have a negative history with the Bloomington Animal Shelter, or have a history of any violent, severe, or animal-related offenses.  We reserve the right to refuse an individual if we feel it is in the best interest of the Bloomington Animal Shelter and the animals for which we provide care.  If you would like more information on our volunteer positions, you can read more below.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering and we can't wait to meet you!

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Volunteer Position Descriptions

*The following opportunities may change as the pandemic effects volunteer needs. 

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!  Shelter dogs spend a lot of their time in a kennel and always appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs, play and snuggle with new friends. Kennel life can be very stressful, and Dog Walkers provide our dogs with needed exercise, companionship, and stimulation.   

Rabbit Care

Have you seen how cute bunnies are?!  How would you like to greet all kinds of fluffy buns first thing in the morning?  Our rabbit population is consistently growing, so much that we are in constant contact with rabbit rescues to help us place them!  We often have Lionheads, Rexes, Flemish Whites, Dutches, Dwarf Hotots and more!  Bunnies also have a longer stay in the shelter because they require special daily care and a special diet, so we want to make their stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible.  The more volunteers that can help care for, and socialize them, the happier and healthier they will be! 

Adoptable Cat Care

Begin your morning with the happy sound of kitties awaiting your arrival!  Each morning, Adoptable Cat Care Volunteers assist with creating a healthy and happy environment for our lovely feline friends!  Shelter life is tough for cats, as any transition can be stressful.  Cat Care Volunteers get to know our kitties and help clean their living areas to help them feel comfortable and loved! 

Stray Cat Care

Be the first person to greet our Stray Cats each morning!  These kitties are housed in the "stray" area, meaning they are new cats that have come into the shelter recently.  Some of these cats may go home to their owners, some are pregnant moms and kittens, and some may just be waiting to go through the process to become adoptable.  We receive numerous cats a day, and they all really need help in order to have a comfortable and clean living space to be happy!   

Adoption Counselor

Adoption Counselors assist the public in finding a well-suited companion and experience the joy of seeing shelter animals go home with a new family! They provide excellent customer service to our patrons by listening to their wants and needs, and finding an adoptable animal that fits well for that person or family. Once a patron has found an animal they are interested in, ACs share their medical and behavioral history with the adopters, answer any questions they have, and can provide useful handouts to assist them with the transition of their new pet into the home!  As adopters must be 18 years old, minimum age is 18 for this position. This position requires advanced training and a 3-hour weekly shift for a minimum of 6 months.

Canine Steward

Be the point of contact for visitors looking to adopt a dog!  Canine Stewards are positioned in Adoptable Dogs and serve as liaison between the public and Adoption Counselors.  The Canine Steward will be trained in Dog Walking, so that they follow proper dog handling guidelines within the shelter.  They will assist the public with getting dogs in and out of their kennels for visitation, and share any background information we may have on that particular dog.  If they are interested in adopting, the Canine Steward then passes them onto the Front Desk staff or an Adoption Counselor to move forward in the process. 

Feline Steward

Be the point of contact for visitors looking to adopt a cat!  Feline Stewards are positioned in Adoptable Cats and serve as liaison between the public and Adoption Counselors.  They will assist the public with visiting kitties and share any background information we may have on that particular cat.  If they are interested in adopting, the Feline Steward then passes them onto the Front Desk staff or an Adoption Counselor to move forward in the process. 

Photography

Help our animals get adopted by taking pictures of our adoptable animals!  Pictures are used on Petfinder, our Adoptable Pet Posters, and Facebook!  Pet photographers should commit 2-3 hours a week and have lots of patience to capture a good quality photo.

Pet Descriptions

A funny or clever pet description can help an animal stand out!  Spend time each week getting to know our adoptable animals, and then write about them to help market them well to the public. Pet descriptions will be used on our website, kennel cards, Pet Finder, and Facebook, and help animals get adopted more quickly!

Greeter

Do you like to help people feel comfortable and welcome?  Do you enjoy helping people in your community?  Are you a calm, self-motivated, even-keel individual? Then YOU could be an excellent volunteer for the Animal Shelter Greeter position! Shelter staff is constantly juggling many tasks, helping multiple animals, and more, so we are looking for volunteers to help us provide exemplary and efficient customer service for visitors at our main entrance during afternoon hours.  The Greeter will open the door with a welcoming smile and cheery disposition to assist visitors and direct them to the proper area or staff member.  Duties include:  Answering the Front Door and asking how we can help our visitors.  Directing people to the proper waiting area, volunteer, or staff person for what they need.  Answering general questions and handing out informational materials.  Keeping the lobby area clean and organized. Helping bring in and putting away donations as needed, and more!

Borrow a Dog (For regular, trained, volunteers only)

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 "Furry Follow Up". Current volunteers are welcome to take any dog on the list for a trip outside the shelter anytime, as long as the dog is returned to the shelter 15 minutes before closing that day (hours vary).  The Borrow a Dog list and Guidelines are posted near the Volunteer Kiosk.

Special Events

Volunteers can help at fun special events showcasing Bloomington Animal Shelter adoptable dogs and cats!  Each summer, the Outreach Coordinator, Emily Herr, will schedule and supervise fun events that volunteers may participate in as Dog Handlers, Kitten Attendants, Adoption Counselors and more!  These events not only give our animals an adventure away from their kennels, but also gives them the opportunity to meet potential adopters and be adopted on site!  When an event is scheduled, a request for volunteers will be sent in the Furry Follow Up each week, so look there for fun opportunities! 

Book Buddies

Book Buddies is a community engagement program geared towards promoting literacy in our young community members while helping shelter cats, dogs, or rabbits! Book Buddies will bring their choice reading material to read aloud to shelter animals. Book Buddies is most suitable for children between K-6th grade levels, but children of all ages and reading levels are welcome. Adult guardians must stay with their Book Buddies during their reading session.

How to become a Book Buddy?

Simply come to the shelter during business hours, M/T/TH/F/S 12-4 or Sunday 12-3, stop by the front desk to sign in, grab a name tag, and cozy up with a shelter animal and let the reading begin! Most Book Buddies will read for about 20-30 minutes.

For questions about Book Buddies, please contact our Outreach and Behavior Coordinator, Emily Herr at herre@bloomington.in.gov

Community Service or Court-Mandated Volunteer Service:

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.

Group Volunteer Opportunities:

The shelter is unable to host volunteer groups until further notice.

Contact:

Please contact our Volunteer Program Director, Jenny Gibson, at 812-349-3872 or gibsonj@bloomington.in.gov with any questions.