Group Projects at OHS

OHS provides one-time volunteer experiences for small (6-8 people) and large (8-30 people) groups.


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Some groups help maintain the OHS dog-walking path.

Interested in bringing a group of people to volunteer for a one-time session at OHS? Learn more about what group volunteer projects consist of, and how to schedule a visit. You can also read more about the impact groups have on shelter pets in this story »

Donations Needed

Donate_buttonThank you for your group’s interest in volunteering at OHS. The pets at OHS rely entirely on your donations for food, shelter, and medical care. If your organization would like to make a donation to aid the animals and our volunteer program specifically, you can do so online.

Scheduling a Group Visit

Details about both Small and Large Group visits are provided below. If you are interested in scheduling a group visit, please fill out our Group Volunteer Interest form. We will contact you once we receive this form.

Small Groups: 6-8 People

Opportunities for SMALL groups are filled through August, 2018.  Typically groups are booked 60-90 days from the current month. Please fill out a Group Interest Form for further information.

A Small Group visit to OHS includes 6–8 people. Youth groups must include at least one adult chaperone age 25 or older in their group.

For Summer, 2018, we offer two choices: Grounds Work and Animal Socialization

  • Grounds Work  (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, 10-noon): Groups will help OHS maintain our dog walking path and play yards, garden in our rose garden and other areas, sand and paint outdoor fixtures, et cetera. Volunteers will not work hands-on with animals, but will get a shelter tour and meet friendly dogs while they are working.
  • Animal Socialization (Monday/Tuesday (3-5), Wednesday – Friday (1:30-3:30, Saturday/Sunday (1-3): Small groups are instrumental in helping OHS socialize and prepare our animals for new homes. Your help will provide them with the attention they need and the social skills that help them get adopted. While visiting with the animals, volunteers will help with animal socialization (petting, exercising, grooming) and cleaning (scooping poop, et cetera).

You can volunteer if you: 

  • Are 12 years of age or older. Youth under 12 years of age cannot volunteer at OHS.
  • Can squat, stand, bend, lift and twist for long periods of time.
  • Can comprehend and follow lengthy instructions, adhere to shelter policies, procedures and protocol, and are able to think and act quickly to ensure volunteer, animal and public safety.

When can small groups volunteer? Sessions are generally available daily from 10 am–12 pm and from 1–3 pm. Volunteer slots are filled on a first come first served basis and weekend openings are limited.

Can our group volunteer more than once? Multiple visits are welcome, but are limited to once per quarter and availability varies. If the group participants are the same for all visits after the initial volunteer session, subsequent visits will consist of direct work with the animals.

What do small group visits include? Visits are two hours in length and begin with a 45-minute training/tour that includes information on the shelter and animal handling skills. After training, the volunteer session includes approximately 75 minutes of hands-on time with shelter pets or 90 minutes of grounds work.

Note: We may alter volunteer activities based on shelter needs, and group size limitations may vary.

Large Groups: 8-30 People

The group volunteer visits for LARGE groups are filled through August, 2018. Please email us in July for fall availability.  

Large groups are instrumental in helping us maintain our dog walking path and grounds. Your help will provide a safe and dry dog walking area for our homeless dogs and dedicated dog walking volunteers.

Who can volunteer? People who:

  • Are 18 years of age or older. Youth 12-17 are welcome to participate alongside an adult chaperone. Youth under 12 years of age cannot volunteer at OHS.
  • Can squat, stand, bend, lift and twist for long periods of time.  Grounds work is physically demanding so volunteers should be in good physical condition.
  • Can comprehend and follow lengthy instructions, adhere to shelter policies, procedures and protocol, and are able to think and act quickly to ensure volunteer, animal and public safety.

When can large groups volunteer? Group volunteer sessions are generally available Fridays and Sundays (occasionally on other days) from 10 am–3 pm depending on staff/volunteer availability to lead projects. OHS has limited availability for groups of this size, and can only accommodate approximately two large groups monthly depending on organizational needs.

What do large group visits include? Visits are 3 hours in length and begin with a 45-minute training/tour that includes information on the shelter and volunteer activities. After training, the volunteer session includes approximately 2 hours of work on our dog walking path or grounds. Work may include loading, hauling and spreading bark chips, as well as pruning, planting, weeding, and invasive plant removal. All work materials are provided.

How to Prepare for a Group Visit

Youths 12-17 years old must complete the Youth Group Volunteer Waiver Form ahead of time and bring it with them to the shelter. The forms must be complete with parent signature and indicate health insurance coverage. All youths are required to have personal or organizational health insurance coverage. Youths without complete forms or insurance coverage are not allowed to participate. One chaperone (25 years or older) for every eight youths is required.

Adults (18 or older) will be asked to sign a waiver release on site.

All participants must wear long pants and closed-toed shoes (tennis shoes/boots) when volunteering at the shelter and should leave valuables at home. Please be on time.

Questions and Contact

If you have additional questions, please contact the Youth and Community Group Volunteer Department directly at (503) 416-5032 or email us to learn more.