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Our Volunteer Program

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Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Chemung County Humane Society & SPCA! Listed below are the current volunteering opportunities that are available at the shelter. For further questions about any of the available positions, please call (607) 732-1827, ext 213.   

Volunteers are vital to the day-to-day workings of our shelter, and we have several different programs in which people from the community can get involved and help the animals. All volunteers must be at least 16 years old and complete a volunteer training series. Volunteers must also attend a general orientation session to receive more information about the specific volunteer programs that are offered.

Next Volunteer Orientations:

SATURDAY, April 25
11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Shelter

11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Shelter

Next Dog Walking Training:

Friday, May 8
6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Shelter
Note: You must attend a Volunteer Orientation before attending the Dog Walking Training

To attend a volunteer orientation session, you must register with the shelter's volunteer coordinator, Wendy Jackson, at least 24 hours prior to the session by calling (607) 732-1827, Ext. 213. You may also download and complete a volunteer application below and then e-mail the completed form to Community Education and Volunteer Programs Coordinator. Only completed applications will be processed.

Download the Volunteer Application


SPCA Volunteer Programs

Shelter Helper
A Shelter Helper assists with various areas of cleaning the shelter and caring for the animals. Some of these tasks include:
  • Wash dog/cat bowls, toys, litter pans
  • Do laundry (wash, dry, fold, sort and put away)
  • Assist in cleaning the Cat Room, O-Room (observation room), and Dog Kennels
  • Clean other areas of the kennel (hall, lobby, clinic room, offices)
  • Clean dog walking trails and exercise pen
  • Maintain grounds (weeding, sweeping, raking, hedge trimming)
  • Restock supplies (litter cans, food bins, paper towels)
  • Take trash out to dumpster
  • Socialize with cats and dogs

Cat Cuddlers
Cat Cuddlers are just that! Before you volunteer for this you must be shown the basics on how to handle cats and the proper way to sanitize between petting cats. This is a great way to end your day at the shelter - help out as a Shelter Helper for a few hours and then follow up with cat cuddling! Prerequisite: Some handling skills & training.

Dog Walkers
Each shelter dog is walked at least three times a day for exercise, fresh air, socialization and human contact. During this time they can also be taught basic obedience skills. Prerequisite: Dog-Walking Class.

Doggie Outings/Special Events
Volunteers can take shelter dogs for walks at various, planned locations to show them off to the public. This increases the socialization opportunities for the dogs and gives the shelter positive exposure. Prerequisite: Dog-Walking Class and participants must be eighteen years or older.

Grooming Cats and Dogs
Volunteers will talk to, pet, and groom various dogs and cats that need special grooming attention. This will hep the cats and dogs in our care to be more physically attractive and emotionally happy as a means of increasing their chances at adoption. This may also include giving cats and dogs baths when necessary. Prerequisite: Some handling skills & training.

Digital Photography/Animal Descriptions
The CCHS/SPCA website and the national shelter database,, serve as our virtual shelter and are great vehicles for matching shelter animals with prospective adopters. We need volunteers to photograph and write descriptions of the pets that come into the shelter weekly for our website and local newspapers. Additionally, we can use snapshots of shelter animals to connect with people and increase adoptions.

Offsite Adoption Events
The CCHS/SPCA hosts several offsite adoption events throughout the year at local merchants and community events.  These events promote animal adoptions and raise money for the shelter. Volunteers help on the day of the event to set up/break down, walk/show off animals and share information about the animals with potential adopters. Volunteers may also wash and groom dogs and cats before the event. Prerequisite: Dog-Walking Class.


Spay/Neuter Clinic Volunteer 

Volunteers assist the veterinarians and veterinary assistants with various tasks during spay/neuter clinics that are periodically held at the shelter. Tasks include handling the animals while vets perform pre-operative examinations, assisting with restraint during anesthesia administration, positioning and other adjustments for vets during surgery, preparing and properly labeling vaccination, completing paperwork, cleaning/sterilizing instruments, monitoring/handling of animals during post surgical recovery period and becoming equipped, through practice and observation by the vets and vet assistants, to perform unassisted extubation on the animals (removal of the respirator tube from animal's trachea). Separate application and training process required.


  • Desire and competence to safely handle cats and dogs of all sizes and temperaments
  • Ability to lift at least 40 pounds
  • Ability to work longer shifts than most volunteer jobs (many animals are sterilized in a single clinic), most clinic days last from 7am-7pm. Shifts are either 12 hours or split into two 6 hour shifts.
  • Good communication skills and the ability to react quickly to any changes in status and/or responsibilities
  • Arrive on time and work the entire shift you selected
  • Dress in attire appropriate to the job (scrub tops or tee shirts, non-slip and closed toe shoes, "stain resistant" clothing)
  • Take direction from the vets and staff members, and pay attention to surroundings
For more information on how to become a spay/neuter clinic volunteer, please call (607) 732-1827, ext 213.


Foster Care Families for Cats and Dogs

The foster program was established to give young, injured, sick, abused, homeless or under-socialized cats and dogs, who may otherwise have to be euthanized, a chance to heal and recover in volunteer foster homes. A separate application process and some additional training is required for all those interested in fostering animals from the Chemung County SPCA. If you would like to become a foster family for the SPCA, please fill out an application and then submit it to the Community Education and Volunteer Programs Coordinator at The volunteer coordinator will then contact you with further information. 

Listed below are some important questions to ask yourself if you are considering becoming a foster family for the SPCA:

Are you able to separate foster animals from your household pets?
Foster animals should remain isolated from your resident pets. You need to designate a certain room for them. We do not know what an animal may have been exposed to before coming into our care. Separating them helps prevent any disease exposure and transmission. It is for this reason that all residents' animals must be up-to-date on all vaccinations. 

Will you be able to spend quality time with the animal(s)?
On average, you should plan to spend a minimum of 2-4 hours per day playing and socializing with the animals that are in your care. This is so that they are ready for adoption upon return to the shelter. Due to the high volume of people the animals are exposed to at the SPCA, socialization is vital to their successful adoption. 

Can you commit to spending the entire foster period with the animal(s)?
An animal may be in foster care anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Before taking a foster animal, we will go over the time period that we will need you to commit yourself to the animal's care. It is helpful if you have a friend or family member that can look after your foster animals if you are going to be gone for a short period of time. In the event of an extended absence, we would ask that you bring the animal(s) back to us and we will find them a new foster home. 

Are you aware that there is a great deal of clean up when fostering? 
Animals are a joy, but they also have the capacity to wreak havoc when they are unattended. Since most foster parents work 8-hour days, it is important to know that your foster animals may mess in their crate or room. 

Do you have transportation available? 
It is very important to be sure that you have transportation available before considering fostering animals from the Chemung County SPCA. Transportation is mandatory for vaccination booster appointments, transporting the animals to be seen by potential adopters (by appointment only) and also in the case that the animal becomes ill and needs immediate medical care. The SPCA does not have the ability to transport animals to and from foster homes. 

 If you have any additional questions about the application and training process or general inquiries about fostering animals, please contact Wendy Jackson at (607) 732-1827, Ext. 204.