Brighten their Day. Build your Future.
A little love goes a long way. Here at The Sonoma Humane Society, you can have a lot of fun and help save a lot of lives. We’re always looking for passionate people like you to volunteer. Check out what’s happening here, then … come see for yourself!
Is mobile matchmaking in your future? Our outreach and adoption events blaze homing trails for cats, dogs and bunnies alike. Spend a weekend helping to match homeless animals with new, forever homes. Get behind the scenes and roll up your sleeves—it’s not all just glam and shed fur. Transporting cats and bunnies is conscientious work. Doggies get nervous too, and all the animals will need your soothing, gentle touch.
Be a Hero—Volunteer!
Cat Care Partners. Dog Walkers. Bunny Huggers. Habitat helpers. Litter lifters. Event attendants. What’s the common denominator? A LOVE for animals, a desire to serve and connect with the community and an inclination for new experiences.
Behavior & Training (Dogs)
Unleash the Trainer Within.
Ever since the pyramids were built, cats haven’t been too keen on training. So our Behavior and Training (B&T) teams focus on dogs. Goofy dogs, playful dogs, dogs who like to bark, dogs who like to watch—and all the doggies in between. If you’re a dog-savvy volunteer with solid B&T skills who will come when called, we’d love to meet you.
As you help doggies develop versatility in their dog-to-human skills, you’ll also have amazing experiences. Imagine a profound sense of connection and satisfaction once a dog has become well-trained and joyfully bonds with his/her new human.
We have loads of fun with our dogs, while maintaining healthy boundaries around desired behaviors. Adoptability is key, so we use progressive and positive reinforcement methods to build trust and cultivate willingness. Our trainers are terrific role models who are happy to share their wealth of knowledge.
A Little Love goes a Long Way
Fostering kittens and puppies, cats or dogs, is a delightful way to share your love. Nurturing the life of a cat or dog in need is deeply satisfying and connects foster ‘parents’ with the community in so many ways. From setting up a safe space in your home to accommodate furry visitors, to getting out for daily walks that open you to connecting with neighbors you didn’t even know, being a foster parent provides the foundation of love and security that these animals desperately need.
An animal who is in rehabilitation often needs the nourishment of human companionship to facilitate healing. If you aren’t up for a whole litter of puppies, then opening your home to an animal who’s on the mend could present a great fit for a low-key lifestyle.
SPECIAL FOSTER NEEDS: We are in need for foster volunteers for our House Rabbits. Please contact Foster for more information on how you can provide a safe and nuturing foster environment.
Fascinated by the Medical World?
Our full-service public hospital is at the heart of everything we do. On a typical day there are dozens of spays and neuters along with a dose of dental cleanings, vaccinations, blood drawings, x-rays, flying pee, post-recovery cat loving, yummy snacks, mirthful co-workers and an occasional emergency surgery. If you’re considering a career as a vet technician, nurse or doctor, meaningful volunteer experience with the Sonoma Humane Society could be at the foundation of your future.
Have a Warm Lap to Spare?
When it comes right down to it, isn’t love really the only power that can rock someone’s life? Of course, living in earthquake country can do the same thing. But we’re talking about what it means to share your life with a four-legged friend in their golden years. No matter how you describe it—companionship cultivates happiness. If your low-key lifestyle has room to embrace the company of an older cat or dog—or if you’re entering your golden years too—then our fospice program might be just the right fit.
Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT)
One of the most rewarding things about helping animals is seeing the impact they have on people. Animals have this amazing ability to make us smile when we're down, never judge us no matter what we look like, how we act or past mistakes, and they lift up our spirits when we are ill, injured, feeling lonely or unloved.
Some of our most important volunteers are the four legged ones. Pet Assisted Therapy Teams (PAT) at the Humane Society make an impact on so many lives in our community with a simple tail wag, gentle paw or wet kiss. Teams of dogs and their people are on the road visiting hospitals, nursing homes, Alzheimer's facilities, schools, libraries and many locations throughout the County spreading love and joy to those who anxiously await their visits.
Want to Join our Team?
If you have a dog that might be a great candidate for our PAT program, we'd love to meet you. PAT Dogs and their handlers must complete a 6 week training class which includes the CGC test and certification and observation in the therapy setting for therapy specific behaviors. Additional training may be required during your tenure as a Sonoma Humane Society PAT volunteer team.
Enroll in one of our Behavior & Training PAT classes
Explore our Read to a Dog program
Frequently Asked Questions: Discover the hows, whens, whys and FUN of volunteering with us.
Q: Are there any minimum requirements?
A: Yes. Here are our basic requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer in the shelter (if you are under 18, contact our Humane Education Dept ).
- We request that you have an email address. You are welcome to use the volunteer center computers to access your email for SHS information and notifications.
- We only bring aboard volunteers with clean background and criminal records. We ask that you are able to commit to a minimum of 2 hours a week for at least 3 months. Dog Walking volunteers must commit to one scheduled shift per week for at least 6 months.
- You’ll need to attend our monthly General Volunteer Orientation before you begin as a volunteer. If you will be working directly with animals, you’ll be asked to attend at least one additional training orientation, and may be mentored by an experienced volunteer before working independently.. General Volunteer Orientations are held twice a month. You will be notified of the next orientations by email once we receive your application.
- Please be able to squat, bend, twist, lift or stand for long periods when working directly with the animals.
- You’ll need to possess strong customer service skills and the ability to write and communicate clearly, since all volunteer positions work directly with the public, staff and other volunteers.
- Please be a Team Player, and share our mission: Ensuring every animal receives Protection, Compassion,
- Love and Care.
Q: Does the Sonoma Humane Society have volunteer opportunities for groups?
A: Yes. Our group opportunities are project-based. . If you have a group that is interested in volunteering at our facility for a project, please email our Volunteer Coordinator with information about the size, skills and time availability of the group. .
Q: Is there a dress code?
A: We ask that our volunteers wear long pants, close-toed shoes, and shirts with sleeves. Please no offensive logos or slogans on Tshirts. We do not permit volunteers to wear shorts, flip flops, tank tops, or bare midriff shirts. If you’re dressed inappropriately, you may be asked to leave.
Q: Do I have to volunteer a certain number of hours?
A: We require our volunteers to make a commitment of 2 hours per week for at least three months (6 months for dog walkers). This ensures that the volunteers have a good understanding of shelter policy and procedures and also ensures the well-being of the shelter animals through consistent care. The two hours may be split in to two separate one-hour shifts if necessary to fit your schedule.
Q: When can I volunteer?
A: The shelter is open for itsvolunteers everyday of the week and weekends, from 8am to 6pm. Some hours vary within department. Our weekend event volunteer shifts are generally 10am-4pm. We open to the public from noon to 6PM every day for adoptions.
Q: Can I volunteer for the shelter at any other locations?
A: While we are an independent shelter with one location, SHS has many off-site events for you to participate in throughout the community as a mobile adoption/outreach volunteer. Once you have completed your trainings and have at least a month of completed shifts at the shelter, you can start signing up for events. We also have cats available for adoption at PetSmart on Santa Rosa Ave., and need cat cuddler volunteers to represent us at that location throughout the week and weekend..
Q: Can I volunteer in multiple departments?
A: Yes, you can and many of our volunteers do! However, we recommend that you pick one group and get familiar with the time commitment and duties involved before adding on additional training. The Volunteer Coordinator will discuss the options with you when you come to the General Orientation.
Q: Are there any costs associated with volunteering?
A: We do not require membership, but we do encourage our volunteers to become members. The Base Membership is $25 . Click here to view membership options.
You will be given a badge, and asked to wear an apron. If you wish to purchase your own logo apron, they are $20/each. You may also use one of ours; be sure to leave it to be laundered when you exit the shelter.
I'm Ready, How do I Apply?
Volunteering for The Sonoma Humane Society is as easy as 1-2-3!
Step 1: Read the FAQs.
Step 2: Complete and submit the Volunteer Application to get the ball rolling.
Step 3: Our Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to discuss next steps. Woo hoo! You’re almost here!
Volunteer Spotlight >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Meet some of our wonderful volunteers and learn why they are in the spotlight!