NEXT VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION – SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 2017, AT 11:00 AM
It is very simple…It is all about the animals! Volunteering your time is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Volunteers are an extremely important part of the Dutchess County SPCA. We rely on volunteers to help us with many aspects of our organization, including but not limited to animal care, shelter maintenance, office duties, foster care, fund raising, special event service, and numerous other activities. Without the help of the many volunteers that pass through our shelter doors each year, we would not be able to provide the high quality of service our furry friends deserve. The DCSPCA relies on the hard work of volunteers to spend time with and care for the animals in and out of the shelter, keep the shelter looking its best and spreading the word about the DCSPCA to the community. If you are 18 years or older, there are many opportunities from walking and socializing dogs, cuddling and socializing cats, to helping out in the office, making repairs, grounds work, distributing posters and fliers, participating at various outreaches and events, or by becoming a foster pet parent. For those aged 13 – 16, when accompanied by a parent, socializing and cuddling cats is an option. Under 13, no problem! There are many ways for children to help the animals.
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.” ― Sherry Anderson
How to get started – attend a Volunteer Orientation, which is held on the third Saturday of each month from 11:00 am to noon, at the DCSPCA Adoption & Education Center, 636 Violet Avenue, Hyde Park, NY 12538. Call 845.452.7722, Ext. 427 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
If you would like to be a “Bark Buddy”, there is an Intro to Dog Handling class which is offered on the Monday following volunteer orientation at 6pm. There is an additional set of classes “Hands on training” on Wednesdays at 6pm for 3 classes. While attending these classes, you will also be shadowing with mentors. Mentor Hours: Monday thru Friday 9am – 12 pm, Friday afternoons from 2 pm- 4pm, and Saturday from 8 -11am and Sundays 3:30 – 6 pm.
For Kitty Cuddlers, after volunteer orientation, you will work with a mentor and are welcome seven days a week from 12pm-6pm. Getting to know our felines helps potential adopters find the best fit for their home and lifestyle.
“Buddies” walk dogs, take them into the play-yards, give them “people time”, teach basic obedience and socialization. You decide your own time schedule after completing your work with a training mentor. Bark Buddies are needed seven days a week, starting at 8am and into the evening for last walks starting at 6pm. P.A.L. (Petting, Attention & Love) volunteers spend one-on-one time with dogs that need a bit more individual attention.
- You will work with a training mentor to learn all the procedures.
- Work with the cats for socialization and daily exercise.
- You can spend time with felines one on one in approved playrooms
- Help adopters with pointing out specific animals that may be suitable for their lifestyle.
- You are welcome seven days a week from 12pm-6pm. Getting to know our felines helps potential adopters find the best fit for their home and lifestyle.
- Organize a collection drive for pet food and supplies “ get creative by hosting a movie night or ice cream party for your friends, with a shelter wish list item as admission!
- Start a fundraiser, like “Pennies for Puppies or “Coins for Kitties at your school. Make it a competition among classes, grades or clubs!
- Create posters or flyers educating people about pets and post them around your school and community.
- Choose to write a report for your class about spaying and neutering, or adopting a shelter pet. You will learn more and so will your friends!
- Start a dog-walking or pet-sitting service in your neighborhood, and donate the money you raise or use the money to buy supplies for the shelter.
- Make bookmarks that encourage people to spay or neuter their pets.
- Host a dog wash in your neighborhood, and ask that pet owners pay in either cash or items from the shelter’s wish list.
And, most importantly, if you have cats or dogs at home¦
- Lead by example: make sure your family’s pets are spayed or neutered, and help care for them with daily feeding, watering, walking, grooming and playtime. Also make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations and have ID tags, in case they get loose. If you do choose to volunteer at Dutchess County SPCA once you’re 13 or older, you’ll already have great experience with animals to put on your application!
Take photos/videos of our shelter pets who will be featured on our website and social media sites.
A picture is worth a thousand words. The power an image can have on the human mind is incredible. A good photo does so much more than just document, it can transport us. A good photo can evoke emotion instantly; it can well our eyes with tears before we’ve even processed the totality of what we’re seeing. A good photo will cause the viewer to pause, to contemplate, to look deeper. A good photo can remain frozen in our mind for a lifetime. A good photo can save a life.
Off-site event photographer
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.