Kids are the Future: Q & A with Youth Volunteers

Youth Volunteers in outdoor run with dog

Spending Quality Time with Animals and Making New Friends Along the Way


Youth Volunteers posing with dogThe OHS Youth Volunteers range from 12 to 17 years old. A volunteer shift can look like everything from helping a shy dog feel a little bit more comfortable to mentoring other volunteers and training them on the day to day tasks. This week is Volunteer Appreciation Week and we gathered a group of Youth Volunteers to talk about what volunteering at OHS means to them.

When did you start volunteering at OHS and what drew you to the mission and the work at OHS?

Azariah: 3 weeks. I got a cat from here and I just really wanted to volunteer here.

Chloe: I’ve been volunteering since June of 2018. I really like cats and pet sitting so I like having an excuse to be around as many animals as possible.

Baylie: I started volunteering in 2018 because I wanted to make a difference for the animals.

Eva: I started volunteering here in May of 2018. I just really love animals and wanted to be around them more and get exposed to working in a shelter.

Emily: My mom works here and I was doing summer camp and wanted to get involved after.

Katherine: I’ve been volunteering for about 3 years. I didn’t have any pets, so I just wanted to be around animals.

Matea: I’ve been volunteering here for about 3 years. I started volunteering because I had a friend who volunteered and really enjoyed it.

Do you have a current favorite shelter pet or maybe one from the past? Who are they and why are they your favorite?

Group Answers: Honey! She was a pitbull who was here and I just remember being so happy for her when I found out that she got adopted.

There was a black lab here who was just the sweetest. I remember sitting in her kennel and she would sit on my lap. It was the best.

There was a tiny little chihuahua who loved playing with tennis balls and it was so funny. I was in the run with him for an hour playing.

This little, white poodleish dog. I don’t remember his name, but his eyes were really far apart which I just loved. He was weird looking, but adorable.

I love the chatty cats in the cattery.

What do you enjoy the most about volunteering at OHS?

Group Answers: I actually love when you show up to a shift and can’t find any of the same animals that you did before. It’s kind of sad that you don’t get to see how they’re doing, but it’s also really rewarding that you know they’re somewhere permanent.

I like knowing that I was a positive impact on their day.

One of the things I love the most about volunteering is knowing that I have the power to really improve the animal’s experience at the humane society. As amazing as the humane society is, it can be tough for the animals, so just being able to spend some quality time with them and help calm them down if they’re stressed makes me feel good.

Being able to make friends with other people my age that share a common passion and interest in animals.

I like seeing the shy dogs warm up to me. If they start out under their bed and then they come out and sit on your lap, it’s so nice.

Do you consider yourself a cat lover, dog lover, rabbit lover or all of the above? Tell us more.

Group Answers: Cats.

I grew up with cats so I kind of have a bias, but honestly all of the animals here are really sweet.

Cats and dogs.

Mine kind of switched. I started off as more of a dog person because I was a little bit afraid of the cats, but as I got to know them more, I’m a little bit more of a cat person.

It’s hard to decide. I’m a cat person but I volunteer at OHS because I wanted to be around dogs more.

Why is animal welfare important to you? Youth Volunteers with Dog

Group Answers: Every pet is so deserving and every single one of them has so much to offer and it’s so important to get them connected with a family that they can get that from.

Every animal that I’ve ever encountered has been so sweet and I think that’s such a special thing. I think it’s really important to preserve their joy.

It’s also very sweet knowing that because they can’t help themselves that there are so many people that are supportive and there to help them.

Do you have an animal that inspires you? Who are they and why do they inspire you?

Group Answers: My cat that I foster and I’ve had him since he was 7 days old. Seeing where he came from – can’t see, can’t walk, can’t hear and knowing that I helped him through that process definitely bonded us together and I just love him so much.

My cat too. He came from here and he had a really hard beginning. He was abused and was missing teeth. At first he was hiding under the bed and now he can’t wait for us to come home and is always happy.

My cat from the humane society. When I got her, she was like a pound, not very socialized, and super afraid of humans and I saw her over the next few months open up and realize she was safe. It was really beautiful to witness that and she’s so loveable now.

My grandma’s dog because he’s slowly getting to a point where he’s better with people and learning how to be a dog.

For anyone interested in volunteering at OHS, what advice do you have for them?

Group Answers: To be confident with the animals and not let them know that you may be fearful.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The people here are so kind and so helpful and it’s so much better to ask how to do something then to do it alone.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience as an OHS volunteer?

Group Answers: It definitely makes you more comfortable with animals and lets you know what they like.

The variety of things that you get to help out with is really cool. It’s mainly socializing animals, but I have helped out with events and those were so fun to attend and help put together. So, it’s not just walking dogs, there’s other stuff that you can do.

There are a ton of things that you can do as a volunteer. A couple of months ago I started as a mentor so I help train other volunteers and it’s really cool to know that there are so many things you can do in this program.

Learn more about Youth Volunteers at OHS.