How do I become a HSSM volunteer?

Volunteering at HSSM can be a very rewarding experience. Your first step to becoming a volunteer is to attend our New Volunteer Orientation (25 people per orientation). Anyone under the age of 18 must have a parent/guardian present.

I’ve done the orientation. Can I walk the dogs and socialize the cats?
Not yet and here is why. Our volunteer program is based on a
3 paw system.


Paw 1.
All volunteers start here. The Paw 1 level gives volunteers time to become familiar with our shelter and staff. Volunteers will be at this level until they complete their minimum of 5 hour required service (maximum 2 hours each time you come to volunteer). As a Paw 1 volunteer, you may help with cleaning such as dishes/laundry, outdoor kennel clean up and you can also make enrichment bags for the dogs.

Paw 2.
After completing your 5 hours of minimum volunteer service, you can request to be trained in more hands-on duties such as walking the dogs and socializing cats. Paw 2 can also help out with washing the dogs.

Paw 3.
Volunteers interested in expanding their horizon can request additional training to advance to Paw 3. You will still do all of the things listed above, as well as walk the dogs marked with the Paw 3 level. Dogs marked with Paw 3 require a more experienced handler. Paw 3 also includes helping out with offsite events when needed.

I need court-ordered volunteer hours. Can I complete these hours at HSSM?
Yes, of course! To complete court-ordered community service at HSSM, you must be at least 18 years old, serving hours for a non-violent offenses, and our Volunteer Coordinator has received your paperwork from The Volunteer Center of Southwestern Michigan (Niles, MI) or The Volunteer Center (Benton Harbor, MI) and has approved you to complete your community service at HSSM. PLEASE NOTE: There will be a one time donation of $15 in order to complete your court-ordered community service. This will be due prior to starting your community service.

What is Volgistics?

Volgistics is a volunteer management program. It helps us keep track of who is volunteering at the time, keeps track of volunteer progress and it lets you make your own schedule. All volunteers must make a one time donation of $10 at the new volunteer orientation in order for us to keep this program up and running. This software changes per volunteer account. All volunteers will need to have an account.

What happens in the event of an injury at HSSM?
Due to the Humane Society being a non-profit organization, we do not have the funds to cover any medical expenses. At the New Volunteer orientation you will sign a waver stating that HSSM is not held liable for any injury that takes place on Humane Society property.


How often can I volunteer?
There is no set schedule. We do ask that volunteers remain active as much as they can, however we do have a limit on how many hours you can volunteer in one day. We ask that volunteers limit their stay to no more than two hours. We can only accommodate 5 volunteers in the building at one time.