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City of Bloomington, Indiana

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Bloomington Animal Shelter!  As of November 19, 2017, we are no longer accepting volunteer applications for this round.  We will re-open the application in 3 months or so, so please check back here for more information in March of 2018. 

*Group Volunteer Opportunities:

The Blooomington Animal Shelter is currently under construction, and therefore cannot accommodate group activities until further notice.  However, there are other ways for groups to help the shelter, such as: conducting a supply drive, purchasing/creating dog or cat toys, or collecting monetary donations.  Feel free to contact the Volunteer Program Director, Jenny Gibson, with any questions:  We apologize for any inconvenience, and thank your organization for thinking of us.

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!  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.   

Dog Walkers should be willing to work with dogs of all sizes, breeds, and ages, able to read kennel cards, follow instructions, and safely transfer dogs in and out of their kennels to the appropriate yards. All interested volunteers must attend a required Dog Walking Training and will 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!  Shelter life is tough for cats, as any transition can be stressful.  Cat Care Volunteers get to know our kitties and help them feel comfortable and loved, which helps them connect with potential adopters!

Cat Care Volunteers should be willing to work with all cats of different ages, breeds, and sizes, and 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.  Volunteers must be able to read kennel cards and follow specific verbal instructions from various staff members. This position involves handling cats, providing fresh food and water, and cleaning or changing litter boxes. Cat Care also involves lifting cats, bags of litter, and cat food.  Cat Care Volunteers are required to work a 2-hour morning shift, from 9-11am, once a week for a minimum of 6 months.

Feline Nursery

Tiny kittens and pregnant mother cats need your help in the Feline Nursery!  Greet these cuties during a morning cleaning shift, an afternoon spruce up shift, or even get trained to bottle feed kittens!  Morning cleaning shifts take place each morning from 8:30-10:30am, and afternoon Spruce Up shifts vary per day.  Working in the nursery involves following strict cleaning protocols, as this population is the most susceptible to disease. Volunteers will use and change gloves per kennel, give food and water, and clean/scoop litter boxes.  Those trained to bottle feed would be called in to do so when we have kittens in need.  These volunteers are trained by the Shelter Manager, Julia Eppley.     

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!  Adoption Counselors 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.  Adoption.  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. 

Canine-ality Assessor

Find out about the personality of each of our adoptable dogs by performing this test. Knowing a dog's "Canine-ality" is helpful in creating the perfect match! Interested volunteers must be comfortable with dogs.  Each dog is evaluated individually using elements of this test.  As puppies are adopted quickly, it is recommended to focus on adult dogs for this test.  The "personality" result of this test is posted on the dog's kennel and helps adopters learn more about our adoptable dogs!

Feline-ality Assessor

Find out about the personality each of our adoptable cats 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!  As kittens are adopted quickly, it is recommended to focus on cats 6 months and older. The "personality" result of this test is posted on the cat's kennel card and helps adopters learn more about our adoptable cats!

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 "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! 


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!

Book Buddies

Book Buddies is a community engagement program geared at promoting literacy in our young community 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, Outreach Coordinator Emily Herr at

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.

How to Apply:

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Bloomington Animal Shelter!  As of November 19, 2017, we are no longer accepting volunteer applications for this round.  We will re-open the application in 3 months or so, so please check back here for more information in March of 2018. 
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.  If we sound like a good fit for you, please fill out the application that is linked at the top of this page.  Please also add this email to your contacts to ensure that you receive messages from the Volunteer Program Director:

Please allow 3-4 weeks for your application to be processed. Once the application is approved, you will be contacted via email with information regarding a New Volunteer Orientation.


Please contact our Volunteer Program Director, Jenny Gibson, at 812-349-3872 or with any questions.