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Volunteers are a vital source of support for both the animals and staff at Indianapolis Animal Care Services (IACS) and the key to the shelter's success, donating over 20,000 hours of time each year. Volunteers at IACS demonstrate:

  • A pleasant, helpful, enthusiastic, and friendly manner
  • Caring and empathy toward customers, guests, staff and animals
  • Knowledge of IACS's purpose, policies and procedures
  • A general knowledge of pet management and pet behavior
  • Efficiency and organizational skills
  • Oral and written communication skills
The first step to become a volunteer is to complete the online Volunteer Application
Once your application has been received, it will be processed and you will receive an email guiding you through the process to sign up for Orientation.
At Orientation, you will learn more about how the shelter operates and the different ways that you can help.
After Orientation, you will be required to complete 12 buddy hours (paired with an experienced volunteer) before you can work on your own.
Volunteers must be at least 12 years of age. Volunteers between the ages of 12 and 15 MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Volunteers between the ages of 16 and 17 require a parent’s signature.
Volunteer are required to complete eight (8) scheduled hours each month.
Shelter Tours & Service Learning Opportunities:
If you are interested in bringing your group to our facility, please contact Michelle Meriweather

Volunteer Opportunities Include:

Hands-On Animal Care

  • Dog Walking – It is very important to each dog’s health that they are able to exercise and stretch regularly each day; most dogs at the shelter spend close to 23 hours a day in their kennels. Help these dogs by walking them in special runs built to maximize physical and mental exercise opportunities for each.
  • Advanced Dog Walking - We have levels that include basic dog walking, leash-walking on the grounds, leash-walking in small groups, and walking strays. Each level has its own training requirements and requires a certain amount of experience prior to advancement
  • Enrichment & Stimulation – Studies show that toys, walks, even reading books to animals reduces their stress level by the third day of their shelter stay. Reducing stress leads to increased disease resistance which means greater adoption potential! Stress in shelter animals is the number one factor in disease transmission. IACS is always in need of and appreciates folks who come to walk, read to, cuddle or hold those animals sheltered here.
  • Grooming and Bathing – Everyone with bathing experience is allowed to give baths to dogs but only those with prior experience in grooming will be allowed to trim/clip coats, trim nails, etc. Organization/maintenance of the grooming/bathing area is a must
  • Dog Evaluation Assistant – Dogs offered for adoption have to be evaluated before they can be moved to the adoption kennels. Work with IACS’s dog behaviorist to evaluate each dog and test the friendliness of one dog with another. Special training necessary.
  • Foster Care – Indianapolis Animal Care Services receives close to 15,000 animals each year. Some arrive with medical or behavioral problems while some are simply too young to be made available for adoption. Open up your home to a temporary furry guest (or guests) via foster care. For more information, fill out the Foster Home Application.
  • Medical Support – At any given time, IACS oversees the care of approximately 500 animals. These animals need to be vaccinated and treated for any medical ailments afflicting them. Veterinarians, vet technicians and students in these fields are welcome to help the animals in the shelter environment. Proof of experience/special training necessary.

Customer Interaction (within shelter)

  • Adoption Counseling – Greet guests in the lobby/reception area and escort them back into the kennels for adoption purposes. Adoption counselors utilize knowledge of dog and/or cat breeds and behaviors to help adopters choose the right animal for their lifestyles. Special training necessary.

Community Outreach

  • Special Events/Offsite Adoptions – Assist at offsite adoption events, such as those at local pet stores, Mega Adoption event, and even special events that happen here at our shelter! Adoptable animals are brought to these locations and sent home the same day! Other events, such as community events, school outings and city festivals allow IACS the opportunity to educate the community about the problems facing animals in the community. Special training necessary.

Administrative Support

  • Follow-up & Special Project Calls – Assist IACS departments (Customer Service, Field Operations, Kennel Operations, Volunteer Department, Community Programs) as needed in making needed follow-up calls. Calls may include adoption and vaccination follow-ups, breed rescue screenings, visitor surveys, etc. Special training necessary dependent on the project.
  • Data Entry – Help the above-listed departments in day-to-day operations by entering and organizing data. Areas in particular need of this assistance include the Community Programs (foster care) and Volunteer Departments. Special training necessary dependent on the project.
  • Digital Photography – Help create more adoption opportunities for animals at the shelter by photographing them for the Petfinder Web site. In addition to photographs, strong biographies of the animals are a must! Utilize shelter computers or your home PC to add animals to the Web site. Special training necessary.

Facility Support

  • Kennel Cleaning – Assist the kennel staff in daily cleaning of animal holding facilities. Areas in most need of cleaning on a daily basis are the various cat rooms and the dog isolation room. Special training necessary – offered anytime!
  • Housekeeping – Assist with general duties such as mopping floors, cleaning windows, dusting sills, scrubbing empty kennels, laundering duties, etc.
  • Seasonal Landscaping – Help beautify the IACC facility by planting and tending flowers at building entrances and other shelter grounds. Prior experience and an understanding of appropriate planting materials and procedures required. Materials may be acquired through fundraisers, grant writing, and/or donations. Prior approval necessary before any planting may be done.