Volunteer 2017-03-20T18:37:39+00:00


Volunteers are vital to the success of the Dutchess County SPCA. It would be impossible to care for and socialize all of the animals in our care without the assistance of our dedicated volunteers. There are many activities available to volunteers: dog walking, behavior modification, and socialization; cat socialization; outreach assistance (help out at our various off-site events); office assistance (stuff envelopes, fold flyers, etc.); education assistance (school programs), and many more.

To volunteer at the shelter, you must be at least sixteeen (16) years of age.  To work directly with the our dogs you must be at least eighteen (18) years of age (due to liability).

Volunteering with the Dutchess County SPCA begins with an orientation session which will give you the opportunity to learn more about the programs at the shelter.  If you wish to work directly with the animals, there are additional classes specific to dogs and cats.

To sign up for an information or orientation session, check our calendar for dates and availability, and reserve a spot; or for additional information, please contact Karen Mazzella at karen.mazzella@dcspca.org or via phone at 845.452.7722, Ext. 427.

Frequently Asked Questions

You must be at least 18 years of age before you can walk dogs, 16 years of age to work in the cat room, or otherwise have contact with any of the animals.  We apologize for the restriction, but issues related to insurance force us to impose this requirement.

You can organize a drive 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, cleaning supplies, etc.  These donations are very helpful to us, since we use-up an enormous amount of supplies every year.

You and your family can also help with foster care.

You should be able to read and communicate well enough to follow instructions.  You should get along well with others, because you will have to work closely with staff members or other volunteers.  But you should also have the ability to work independently  without close supervision.

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 to the SPCA for adoption. You can learn about the program on our website HOPE Foster Program.

There are a variety of animal care including Dog Handling and Cat Care Enrichment Programs.

If you decide that you want to work with animals, we ask that you limit yourself to a single animal-care job, at least until you become a “seasoned” volunteer.  We value enthusiastic volunteers, but we don’t want you to over-extend yourself.  However, if you feel up to the task, you can add an administrative-type job  such as data entry  whenever you feel like you can handle the extra work load.

Yes.  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.  (You’re welcome to commit to a longer shift, if your schedule allows it.)  We apologize for imposing such stringent requirements.  The reason is this:  the staff and existing volunteers invest substantial time and effort into training new “recruits”.  Having a large turn-over would put a strain on everyone involved.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule.  Please see the explanation further below.

No, we ask that people adhere to a regular schedule (for example, 1:00 – 4:00 PM every Tuesday).  Of course, we assume that you will occasionally be forced to miss your shift as a result of vacations, doctors’ appointments, etc.  However, we do ask that you make a sincere effort to follow your schedule whenever possible.

Yes.  Foster care is performed in your home, so there is no particular schedule.  Special Event help (such as Dutchess County Fair or Stormville Flea Market) is done on an as-needed basis.  Data entry is also more flexible.

Some of the other non-animal-care jobs are also more flexible about time commitments.  Ask us for details.

No, unfortunately we do not.

No, we are unable to accommodate these requests at this time.

You may be scheduled to help with a special event.  You can do this without attending our “Orientation” sessions.  Advance notice is required, usually at least two weeks. Please use the contact information at the top of the page to sign up for a special event!

You can also organize a drive to gather items from our Wish List.  Just keep track of how much time you spend on this project, and we’ll sign any documents required by your school.

Once you have completed our “orientation” sessions, the staff and existing volunteers will work with you to determine a mutually acceptable schedule.

Dog and football playing with a volunteer
Download Volunteer Application