Volunteering at Santa Maria Humane Society

Volunteers are the mainstay of our organization and perform an essential part of our day to day operations. Volunteer opportunities available at SMVHS are as diverse as the people they attract. We offer two volunteer shifts per day, 10am to 1pm, and 1pm to 4pm, Monday through Saturday. An orientation and training class is offered to new volunteers each month. Volunteers may work one or more shifts per week. We like to place our volunteers on a regular schedule that works best for them and suits our needs. 

There are many areas where volunteers can be of assistance: socializing cats and kittens, exercising the dogs, helping out in the office. Additionally, we often have outside mobile adoption and fundraising events where volunteer help is requested. 

The next Volunteer Orientations will be held:

  • Friday, June 23 at 2pm
  • Saturday, July 15 at 2pm
  • Tuesday, July 25th at 2pm

Cat & Dog Socialization Workshops:

  • Cat Socialization Workshop will be held Wednesday, February 8 from 12 until 1 PM. 
  • Dog Handling Workshop Level 1 will be held Wednesday, February 8 from 1:30-3:30 PM. 

To attend a cat or dog workshop you must first attend the new volunteer orientation. All workshops are by pre-registration only. You may register to attend at:  Volunteer Hub.  Please use proper punctuation as you enter your profile. Thank you. 

How do I volunteer at SMVHS?

Begin by registering online at our Volunteer Hub or by filling out a volunteer application at the SMVHS front office. You will be contacted and invited to attend a Volunteer Orientation.  Orientations are held monthly and are open to anyone interested in volunteer opportunities at SMVHS. Orientation includes a presentation about the history of SMVHS, our Mission and Vision, animal success stories, and the many ways that caring volunteers can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals. The class will include a tour of the entire facility. 

After the presentation, if you have decided that the SMVHS is the right volunteer fit for you, you will be assigned to a specific job training class. A $25 materials fee will be collected at this time, which will cover the cost of a t-shirt, name badge and all training material needed for your volunteer service. This materials fee enables us to continue our volunteer program without taking any money away from the support and care of the animals. 

Following the volunteer orientation you will be scheduled to attend a training workshop. Workshops are offered for cat village and dog handling. Office volunteers are on an as-needed basis, consist of a personal interview and on the job training.

All of the volunteer orientations and training classes are held at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society at 1687 W. Stowell Road. Pre-registration is required and classes fill quickly. Submit a volunteer application or register through Volunteer Hub for the orientation you wish to attend. If the class you have selected is full, you will be offered an alternate date, if one is currently available. See Calendar for upcoming dates.

Volunteer Requirements:

  • Submission of a volunteer application if you’d like to volunteer with us.
  • Volunteer orientations are held monthly at SMVHS, and every volunteer is to attend the orientation prior to volunteering at the shelter.
  • Dog handlers are required to attend both the orientation and a dog handling workshop before they are allowed to interact with the dogs. See age limitation below.
  • Office assistants and cat village volunteers may begin volunteering as soon as they receive a brief orientation by staff personnel. They are also strongly encouraged to attend the monthly orientation, but it is not mandatory.
  • The minimum age requirement for volunteering at our facility is 14 years with a responsible adult (parent or legal guardian). Both persons are to fill out volunteer applications. The adult must attend the orientation with the minor and accompany them every time they come to the shelter. We have limited openings for dog volunteers at a minimum age of 16 years. Minors can work with dogs if there are openings and at the discretion of the volunteer coordinator. They may come onsite without an adult, but are limited to yard rotation and animal socialization and exercising – no dog walking offsite.
  • At the discretion of the volunteer coordinator, children under the age of 14 may accompany their parent (who is the active volunteer) in Cat Village. The adult is the volunteer; the child is simply accompanying them. Under no circumstances are they to be dropped off at the shelter and left unattended.
  • All rules and regulations must be adhered to at all times. We reserve the right to dismiss any volunteer from the program if we feel they are a detriment to our organization.
  • Volunteers must wear long pants and closed toe shoes to the volunteer orientation, and to every volunteer shift. Also, no dangling jewelry or strong perfume. Bringing a light jacket is a good idea when it's windy.
  • Please no ear phones or texting during your volunteer shift. We are a non-smoking facility.
  • Volunteers must be able to squat, bend, twist, lift, or stand for long periods when working directly with the animals.
  • Office assistants are asked to commit to one shift on a regular and continual basis. Occasional relief help is also needed, please inquire.
  • Volunteers must possess strong customer service skills and be able to write and communicate clearly, since all volunteer positions work directly with the public, staff, and other volunteers.

Volunteer Descriptions: