Volunteer Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in becoming an HSEC volunteer. Volunteers make such a difference in what we are able to accomplish on behalf of our furry friends. We have flexible volunteer opportunities for those over the age of 10 years to work directly with the animals in our shelter as well as many ways to help with daily tasks, special events, and much more. Just fill out the volunteer application and we’ll be in touch to get you started!

Animal Socilaizing

Many of our shelter animals may not have had the best experiences with people and we want to help them learn to trust loving human contact. Volunteers play with our animals, pet and hold the shyest ones, and give them all a chance to exercise-in return, our volunteers get dog kisses, hear cats purring, and witness the joy of learning that a forever family has been found for our animals. Please understand that due to the volume of applications we recieve, we don't always have a position open, or enough positions for everyone.  

Laundry, Dishes, Shelter Care, Maintenance

Can you believe we go through over 300 dishes and hundreds of towels, dog bedding, and washcloths every day? That’s a lot of sorting, folding, and organizing to do! If your inner Martha Stewart and/or Bob Villa needs something to do-we can sure use your help! These don't sound like glamorous jobs, but our volunteers are essential to us!

Recycling, Rummage Sales, And Other Revenue Assignments

We are entirely dependent on donations-all revenue comes from a wide variety of fundraising avenues. Many hands make light work! You can sign up for special events only or select ongoing duties-if it works for you, it will work for us!

Volunteer Instructions

Please be advised that we do background checks on EVERYONE who applies to be a Volunteer with us. We reserve the right to deny your application if your background does not meet the criteria our volunteers must meet. We appreciate your help and honesty in completing this application.

Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer with us here at the HSEC. We want this to be a rewarding experience for you and ask that you take a few minutes to read the information below and sign if/when you understand and agree to follow our already established shelter rules. Due to the nature of our business, there are rules that MUST be followed while you are here with us, for your own personal safety as well as our animals and staff.

Once your volunteer applicaiton is received, we will contact you via email to schedule a tour of our facility, chat about our volunteer signup process, and sign our liability waiver.  If you don't see that welcome email in your inbox within a week, please call us to follow up.

By submitting your volunteer application, you hereby release, waive and dischare the Humane Society of Erie County, its employees, agents, officers and directors from any and all liability for any and all loss, damage, illness or injury to property or person or resulting in death of the undersigned or anyone else arising out of or related to serving as a volunteer from the Humane Society of Erie County. It is important to understand that there are disease risks associated with pets, and that your own pets should be up to date on vaccinations through your veterinarian for their safety.

  • Our volunteers sign up for shifts using the scheduling book in the lobby- either in person or by calling us.
  • Volunteer visits are scheduled for 1 hour time blocks, and we have a limited number of volunteers we can accommodate at the same time.
  • Unless specifically stated otherwise, animals should be let out of their kennels only one at a time for brushing, bathing, walking or playtime.
  • Animals must be returned to the cage you got them out of and the lock on the door securely closed.
  • If you are uncomfortable with any job you have been assigned, please let a staff member know.
  • If a shelter visitor asks you a question, please refer them to a shelter staff member.
  • You will be asked to sign a confidentiality form that asks you to not share information about anyone you see surrendering an animal here or anything that is not intended for public use.
  • As we depend on our volunteers, calling us ahead to alert us if you need to cancel or reschedule a shift is requested.
  • Please keep in mind that we are not a petting zoo, and although the animals in our care crave human interaction, we request that it is done in a calm and responsible manner to improve the animal's behavior and increase their chances of adoption.