Volunteers like you are the heartbeat of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society.

United States Air Force volunteersVolunteers are the heartbeat of our organization. In addition to traditional volunteer activities like walking dogs, interacting with cats, preparing meals and enrichment activities, laundry, off-site adoptions and special events, new programs and activities to save the lives of more dogs and cats have been implemented.

We will announce a new volunteer orientation schedule in the spring of 2020.  In the meantime, you can email Matt Chan, CAWA, Director of Community Engagement, at mchan@smvhs.org to see how to become involved.

General Volunteer

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society operates from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm every day of the year. During our monthly orientation program, volunteers gain an overview of the organization and about current needs. From feeding and cleaning to loaned jogger programs and community events, volunteers support every area of our operation.

General Volunteer at the Humane Society

Open Paw

The Open Paw program is designed to teach shelter dogs and cats how to model good behaviors in order to get them adopted and stay adopted. Volunteers working in the shelter are critical to the success of the program. Basic household manners and friendly behaviors are taught to shelter pets in order to assure their success in the real world. Volunteers in the shelter learn Open Paw Level I through IV.

Open Paw Volunteer


The Gary & Lyn Hock Spay & Neuter Clinic will spay or neuter almost 3,000 dogs and cats this year preventing tens of thousands of homeless puppies and kittens from being born. Clinic volunteers help clean and prepare surgery instruments, schedule appointments, and provide general clinic support.

Court-Ordered Community Service

Community Service hours may be completed by volunteering with Santa Maria Valley Humane Society. Individuals performing community service will do work around the building by cleaning and performing maintenance tasks. Court ordered community service workers will not be permitted to interact with animals, unless otherwise directed by management. Individuals convicted of a felony or any charge involving animal cruelty, neglect, or abandonment are not eligible to volunteer at the shelter. Santa Maria Valley Humane Society reserves the right to limit participation in any volunteer program for any reason if doing so is in the best interest of our animals. You must make an appointment to begin your community service so that you may receive appropriate training. To make an appointment, please contact the volunteer department at volunteer@smvhs.org.