Much of what we do to save animal lives depends on the help of volunteers. Volunteering is fun and rewarding, and it is also a great way to help the homeless animals. Just a few hours every week can make a big difference. Volunteers do many different kinds of things, including animal care (walking dogs, cleaning cat cages, etc.), assisting in our adoption center in PetSmart in Amsterdam, doing animal adoption events, and much more.

Here are some FAQs about volunteering with MCSPCA:

Q. How old do I have to be to work with the animals?

A. You must be at least 14 years old before you can walk dogs, work in the cat room, or otherwise have contact with any of the animals.

Q. If I’m under 14, can I still volunteer with the animals if I work alongside a parent or other adult?

A. Sorry, no. But, there are other ways you can help. See below.

Q. If I’m under 14, what jobs can I do?

A. You can help us by organizing a drive at your school or in your neighborhood to collect items from our wish list.  You can ask your friends, relatives, neighbors, and classmates if they’d like to donate things such as blankets, towels, dog toys, bags of kitty litter, etc. These donations are very helpful to us, since we use-up an enormous amount of supplies every year.

Q. Are there any other requirements for volunteering?

A. You should be able to read and communicate well enough to follow instructions. You should get along well with others, because you may have to work closely with staff members or other volunteers. But you should also have the ability to work independently – without close supervision.  Dog-walkers need to be healthy and reasonably strong, since many of the shelter dogs pull hard when they’re on a leash.  Also, you should check with your doctor before you start volunteering.

Q. Do you have a foster care program?

A. Yes, and the whole family can help with this rewarding job! We’re always looking for people who can provide temporary care and housing to young or ill animals. The animals would live with you for a period of a few weeks, until they can be returned for adoption. Contact the Foster Care Coordinator on the Contact Us page.

Q. Are there any jobs that do not involve contact with animals?

A. Yes! For example, we need help with website maintenance, and other computer-related jobs. These can be done right from your home! For more information, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator from the Contact Us page.

Q. Can I do more than one job? For example, can I clean cat cages and walk dogs?

A. We value enthusiastic volunteers, but we don’t want you to over-extend yourself.

Q. Is there a minimum time commitment?

A. If you have an animal-care job, we request that you agree to volunteer for at least two hours per week, for at least a year. Once you complete training, the staff will discuss the schedule with you and put your name on the open shift that works for you.

Q. Are there exceptions to the rules about time commitment and keeping a regular schedule?

A. Yes. Foster care is performed in your home, so there is no particular schedule. Event help is on an as-needed basis.

Q. What if I only need to do a certain number of hours for school?

A. You may be scheduled to help with a special event. Advance notice is required, usually at least two weeks.  You can also organize a drive to gather items from our wish list.  Keep track of how much time you spend on this project, and we’ll sign any documents required by your school.

Q. OK, I’d love to help! What’s the next step?

A. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Ann Marie Bertuch at info@mc-spca.org, or leave a message for her at the shelter by calling 842-8050.