1735 Monad Rd
Billings, MT 59101
(406) 294 7387

Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter! Without our volunteers, we would not be able to serve the community and the number of animals we intake. Giving your time here at the shelter is not easy. It is messy and exhausting and, sometimes, heart wrenching, but the unconditional love you receive from the animals and genuine gratitude from the staff makes all the work rewarding in remarkable ways. We are looking for people who have the drive to make a difference and the time to do so. Volunteering is a huge commitment, but you will learn new skills and become apart of a wonderful, fun community of like-minded individuals. Through your dedication to the volunteer program, you have the power to change an animal’s life for the better. 

 

FOR ALL VOLUNTEER, COMMUNITY SERVICE AND EVENT INQUIRIES, PLEASE CONTACT KELSEY DWYER AT (406) 294-1137 OR ACTIVITIES.COOR@YVAS.ORG. THANK YOU!

Volunteer Qualifications

All volunteers at Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter must be 10 years of age or older. No exceptions to this policy will be made. Any persons between the ages of 10-15 years whom wish to volunteer must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times, including orientations and trainings. Volunteer opportunities/tasks may be limited due to safety for persons between the ages of 10-15 years old. Persons between the ages of 16 and 17 years old may volunteer on their own with parental/guardian consent. Reliable transportation to the shelter is a must. The agency requires a minimum of 1 to 3 hours per week, depending upon the volunteer position.

What will we be asking of you as a volunteer?

  1. Volunteering is a serious commitment. We cannot run the shelter without you; your volunteer schedule is just as important as any of our staff members.
  2. Please have the time and availability to commit to volunteering for at least six months.
  3. Attend required training sessions for your interests/volunteer role(s)
  4. Commit to volunteering six hours a month
  5. Support our philosophies and policies inside and outside the shelter
  6. Be honest and realistic with us and with yourself concerning your needs, wishes and availability.
  7. Have fun!!!

Community service & volunteering as a group for school, work or community organization

YVAS accepts a limited number of community service individuals. If you are assigned to complete community service at the shelter, it is YOUR responsibility to contact our Activities Coordinator to set up your service. Community service individuals help staff with the basic upkeep of the shelter.

We love having groups come to the shelter to do various projects! In the past, volunteer groups have helped us paint dog shades, put together animal goodie bags, made cat toys, stuffed dog Kongs, and more! We can also arrange a tour, dog talk and/or cat talk. Groups must be limited to 10 people. All groups wishing to volunteer MUST schedule a day and time in advance. We do not do tours before 11am. To schedule a group day at the shelter please contact our Activities Coordinator.

These volunteer positions support day-to-day operations. These positions mainly have contact with the animals and with visitors. Options for volunteering in the shelter include, but are not limited to, the following positions.

Shelter 101

Learning the basics of volunteering is the foundation on which you will build an enriching experience here at the shelter. Every volunteer must go through our Shelter 101 program and complete a minimum of two hours before they can branch out into different roles. Shelter 101 teaches the basic day to day functions of the shelter. There are two teams, the Front Office Team and the Animal Maintenance Team. Volunteers will be assigned a team after the volunteer interview. Shelter 101 is a probationary period in which individuals will see if volunteering at the shelter is a right fit for both themselves and YVAS.

Kennel Cleaner

Primarily responsible for helping the staff clean and feed the animals in the morning. Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter maintains a continuous cleaning regime. This makes the shelter more inviting for the public by reducing the smell and sight of animal waste and provides a healthy environment for the animals.

9-Lives

9-Lives is a team of self-directed volunteers committed to improve the general living experience of all cats at Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter. Volunteers provide basic care and human contact for cats that are healthy and adjusted as well as cats who are sick or behaviorally challenged. Volunteers provide gentle socialization for cats that may otherwise fall very ill or are unable to present well to the public because of environmental stress.

Volunteers also work with staff to evaluate cats for our ‘Meet Your Match’ program, which is a system developed by the ASPCA that assists potential cat parents with finding the right cat for them so they are less likely to be returned to the shelter. Multi-tasking and a kind, caring manner towards cats and potential adopters is required.

Greeter/Office Assistant

Greeter/Office Assistants  play an essential role in greeting shelter visitors and providing direction and support on busy days and carrying out various clerical duties in the office. Volunteers greet every visitor to the shelter and help them find the services they are looking for. They play ‘traffic control’ ensuring all customers are seen in the order they arrive. Volunteers also file paperwork in the appropriate files, stuff envelopes, prepare adoption packages, help customers fill out ‘Meet Your Match’ surveys, and do miscellaneous filing and copying. Volunteers in the office are the staff’s ‘right hand’ for anything they need.

Animal Photographer/Photographer Assistant

Animal photographers are responsible for taking digital pictures of dogs, cats, and other adoptable animals for our website.  Photographers are responsible for removing the animal from its cage or kennel, maintaining control over the animal, and putting the animal back in its cage or kennel after the photo session. Animal photographer assistants help our photographers set up stages and props, assist in handling animals and provide general support for the photographer.

Pocket Pet Pal

Dogs and cats are not the only animals we accept at YVAS. We also take in pocket pets (hamsters, bunnies, chinchillas, guinea pigs, etc.). Our small critters need much needed socialization and care. Volunteers clean cages and water bottles, provide clean bedding, food and toys. They also give pocket pals human interaction.

Grooming Aid

We consider animal hair an accessory here at the shelter. Dogs and cats, especially those in kennel situations, need regular grooming to keep them happy, healthy and adoptable. You must attend cat and/or dog behavior classes before becoming a grooming aid.

Dog Walker/Quiet Time Buddy

Dog Walkers spend quality time with dogs to get them used to interaction with people and give them much needed exercise and time out of their kennel. They direct the dog’s energy to walking and playing with them in the dog runs or spending quiet time with them, depending on the dog’s needs. This is instrumental in the socialization process. Volunteers on this team walk shelter dogs on an assigned shift and can walk dogs anywhere dogs are allowed in the neighborhoods and parks around YVAS. Quiet Time Buddies provide our shelter dogs with a sense of ‘normalcy’ by taking them out of their kennel to a quiet place to hang out with the dogs. Volunteers also read to the dogs and do homework. 

Out of Shelter Volunteering

Out of shelter volunteering opportunities do not necessarily require a shift or time commitment. Options for volunteering outside the shelter include the following positions:

Foster Care Program

Be a hero. Save a life! Fostering can be an excellent family project. It is an intense, short-term commitment. If your lifestyle does not permit you to have an animal full time, here is a rewarding opportunity for you. YVAS needs families or individuals who are willing to offer their home on a temporary basis to animals in need. Foster care is most frequently needed for animals that are too young to be adopted.

Public Relations

Help us reach out to donors, veterinarian partners, and interested pet owners with press releases, newsletters, flyers, and promotional materials for special events. This is a great opportunity for college marketing or public relations students.

Spay & Neuter Clinic Volunteer

Our spring and fall low-cost Spay & Neuter Clinics are the most important events of the year. Volunteers at the clinics help us with cat and dog checkin and checkout, recovery, prep, tech and more!  Contact the Activities Coordinator if you are interested in helping with this great opportunity to reduce the number of unwanted animals in our community!

Off-Site Adoptions

Periodically, shelter and foster animals are taken to various locations around the City where they are made available for adoption. These events are organized and staffed by volunteers who help setup/take down the tables and cages and assist potential adopters.

Special Events Committee Volunteer

Help out with Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter special events and fundraisers! Raising the many thousands of dollars necessary to continue operations every year is a massive undertaking requiring dedicated volunteers. Attend and brainstorm at meetings, help with invitations/publicity/exposure, and manage/coordinate specific functions. Volunteers need to be able to get along with others and work in a team environment with firm deadlines and responsibilities. Volunteers must be responsible and reliable!

Public Education Team (P.E.T.)

Volunteers on this team play a vital role in connecting the community with Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter’s programs and adoptable animals. P.E.T. volunteers act as YVAS ambassadors and support YVAS participation at various community events, including festivals, adopt-a-thons, fundraisers and smaller events. Volunteers provide information about adoptable animals, hand out fun giveaway items, receive donations, and chat with the public about their pets. They also provide an easy way for the community to learn about the shelter, connect with services such as our low cost Spay & Neuter Clinics, and discover volunteer and foster opportunities. If you want to help promote Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, this is your chance!

Contact Activities Coordinator Kelsey Dwyer for more information at activities.coor@yvas.org or 406-294-1137.