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Adoptable dog at HRA

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Volunteer FAQ

adoptable dog wearing HRA bandana

Humane Rescue Alliance

What kind of things can I do as a volunteer?

Lots of different things! As a volunteer, you can assist with the care and training of our animals, support our adoption and fundraising events, pass out pet food to local families, assist our veterinary staff in our medical center, greet visitors to the shelter and answer phones, help with administrative projects, and much more.

What kinds of animals can I work with?

After completing species-specific training, volunteers can interact with any of our adoptable dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, reptiles, and other animals when available. Some volunteers choose to focus on one species while other volunteers enjoy working with multiple species in different shifts.

Please note, after the orientation, you will need to complete additional animal handling training before you may volunteer with the animals. 

What are your hours? When are you open to volunteers?

We have volunteer opportunities 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays! Most of our volunteer opportunities occur between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM daily. 

We ask all of our volunteers to sign-up online before coming in to volunteer. This ensures our animals are getting the best care and allows our teams to better prepare for your shift.  

Please note, after the orientation, you will need to complete additional animal handling training before you may volunteer with the animals.

What is the time commitment as a volunteer?

Volunteers must commit to at least six months with us. Additionally, some volunteer roles have monthly hour requirements, which we will go over during training. 

Generally, volunteers who are able to commit to 8 hours each month, or about 2 hours each week, tend to be the most satisfied with their volunteer experience and make the greatest impact.  

When can I start?

As soon as you complete your online orientation, you will be prompted to create your online volunteer account with our database partner, Get Connected. Your account will be reviewed and approved within 24-48 hours.  

Once your account is approved, you will be prompted to schedule a virtual meeting with a member of the Volunteer Program Staff to confirm your proof of COVID-19 vaccinations. After that is completed, you will be able to start volunteering!

Is there an age requirement for volunteers?

There are volunteer opportunities with HRA for all ages! Click the links below for the details. 

How can my group, company, or organization volunteer?

To learn more about our partnership and employee engagement opportunities, please visit our partnership page.

To learn more about volunteer groups, please visit the volunteer groups page.

How can I earn Student Service Learning (SSL) hours?

Click here for more details!

Due to limited onsite volunteer opportunities for minors, HRA may not be able to honor all requests for SSL hours.  

How can I earn community service hours?

Because our volunteers do so many tasks independently, we are not able to sign court-ordered service documents that attest to our direct supervision. However, please visit our volunteer projects page for some other options that may satisfy your requirement.

How do I join PACK?

The People and Animal Cardio Klub (PACK) consists of trained volunteers who run or walk with our adoptable dogs, providing additional outdoor recreation and enrichment while they wait for their new homes. PACK runs occur Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM. 

The program includes a monthly hours requirement and training prerequisites. After volunteering in our adoption center with dogs for a certain number of hours, volunteers may begin PACK training. 

Can I take my dog to PACK?

No, we ask you to please focus on the dogs in our adoption center.

Can I take HRA animals home?

You absolutely can through our long and short-term foster programs and, of course, if you adopt! Click here for more details on fostering.

What if I don’t meet the Essential Capabilities?

The Essential Capabilities are in place to keep our volunteers and our animals safe while at HRA. The ability to hear and respond quickly to verbal communication is vital because we utilize radios and verbal cues (like calling around corners) to indicate potentially dangerous situations. Furthermore, our animals use verbal indicators (like growling and whining) to let us know when we need to back up and end an interaction.  

If you do not meet the essential capabilities for volunteering with animals, please reach out to us at [email protected]. We often work closely with new volunteers to identify a path that will allow you to support HRA and the work we are doing for animals in DC.  

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