OHS running team volunteer with godric the dog in the OHS portland campu rose garden

Adult Volunteers

OHS offers a variety of volunteer opportunites for adults age 18+.

Volunteer Applications

Portland Campus Volunteer applications are currently closed. We will accept applications again at the end of December 2022.

Salem Campus Volunteer applications are open!

The Volunteer Information Center is the place to schedule your hours online, view or print a report of your hours, post your commute or OHSTAR hours, and update your profile.

We welcome you to apply to our adult volunteer program. Please see the general requirements below.

General Requirements

  • At least 18 years old.  Volunteers under 18, see the Youth Volunteer Program.
  • Able to commit to volunteering a minimum of 12 hours per month for the first 3 months, and then strive to volunteer 8 hours per month thereafter.
  • Possess strong customer service skills; read and understand instructions and procedures; write legibly; and communicate clearly, professionally, and politely. All volunteer positions work directly with the public, staff, and other volunteers.
  • If you are volunteering as a driver using a shelter vehicle you must have a clear, insurable driving record.
  • Have regular access to the Internet and an email account.
  • Ability to see well enough to move safely throughout the building and read instructions.

Physical Capabilities if Working with Animals

  • Quick reflexes and ability to use both hands simultaneously (example: open kennel door while handling animal).
  • Ability to bend and squat in order to leash/harness, and/or pick up an animal.
  • Ability to stand for significant periods of time while walking dogs, socializing cats, or cleaning kennels.
  • Ability to hear if animal is giving warnings, such as growling, yelping or hissing.
  • Ability to see clearly enough to distinguish animal body language. 
  • Ability to react quickly in order to prevent animals from escaping (example: ability to quickly pursue and retrieve any animals who have escaped from a kennel).
  • Ability to work in a loud and chaotic environment.

Cognitive Capabilities

  • Ability, once trained, to work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Recognize limitations in knowledge and abilities, and know when to ask for help if needed.
  • Ability to problem solve, and positively handle redirection and constructive criticism.
  • Acceptance of the boundaries between the role of the volunteer and the staff.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and a solution oriented approach to challenging situations.
  • If volunteering with animals:
    • Ability to recognize potentially hazardous situations.
    • Ability to remain calm with animals who are upset.  Behave sensitively, confidently, and use positive reinforcement training tools.

If you are unable to apply or volunteer in person, we have many ways to help from home!

In a continued effort to ensure the safety of our employees, volunteers, and community members, all Oregon Humane Society employees and volunteers are required to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and show proof of vaccination, booster, or have an approved medical or religious exemption. Please review our policy prior to applying to the adult volunteer program.

To become a volunteer apply online. We are not able to send applications by postal mail.

*If you would only like to volunteer your time as a foster parent and not also at the shelter, please fill out the foster care page only volunteer application instead. The general volunteer application is for those who are interested in volunteering at the shelter. Foster care only volunteers do not volunteer at all in the shelter.

After receiving your application, we will contact you to schedule your volunteer orientation. These are generally held the last Sunday of each month (no orientations are held in December).

Once you have been scheduled for an orientation, you will receive an email asking you to complete a background check. All person’s volunteering must complete a background check. If you have any questions, please send us a message.

Portland Campus

Salem Campus

Background Check: A standard national criminal background check is required for all adult applicants. This is not a credit check. If you have a prior felony conviction you could be declined.

Court-Mandated Service: This program cannot be used to fulfil court-mandated hours. Instead, view our court-mandated community service program.

Students: We cannot accommodate students who are required to fulfill short-term community service hours. OHS will not grant community service hours to any volunteer unless they can make a six-month commitment of 12 hours per month.

Short-Term: We do not accept any general short-term volunteers (even during the summer) due to extensive training requirements.

Costs & Supplies: All adult volunteers must purchase needed supplies and pay for the background check. Costs are:

  • $47 for cat-handling volunteers, shelter resource volunteers, and administrative volunteers
  • $57.50 for dog-handling volunteers
  • $47 for small animal-handling volunteers
  • If you are financially unable to cover this cost, please let us know and we will find a way to help.

We would not be able to do what we do without our amazing volunteers. Volunteers support our mission, enrich the lives of animals and partner with the staff in every department of our organization. Our strategy is to foster collaboration between staff and volunteers to ensure meaningful opportunities for our volunteers, as well as the staff and animals of OHS. Below are just a few of the ways to volunteer at our campus:   

  • In-shelter care of animals
  • Foster care (caring for animals in your home)
  • Assisting customers at the OHS retail store or Salem-based Thrift Store
  • Assisting OHS educators with youth education programs
  • Assisting with OHS special events
  • Caring for animals at offsite adoption locations
  • Running with dogs who need extra exercise
  • Technical/emergency animal rescue – OHSTAR
  • Helping maintain our building and grounds, like our rose garden
  • Assisting with data entry, phone calls and other administrative activities
  • Dog walking
  • Animal Care Assistants – cleaning kennels, making sure animals have food and water
  • Enrichment Team – helping keep shelter animals engaged
  • Foster care
  • Assisting customers at the Salem Thrift Store
  • Assisting customers with adoption meets at the shelter and/or offsite locations 
  • Spay and Neuter Clinic – reception or clinic assistant
  • Assisting with data entry, phone calls and other administrative activities

Log In: Current Volunteers