Become a Volunteer

SANTA BARBARA HUMANE

Volunteer Program

At Santa Barbara Humane, volunteers are a key part of operations and are essential to achieving our mission. We recognize the valuable role of volunteers within the organization and their tireless efforts to serve our community and provide outstanding animal care. Santa Barbara Humane is committed to providing thorough hands-on training and ongoing support to every volunteer. Scroll down to learn more and apply to become a volunteer.
Volunteers can also download the VicNet app for Apple and Android devices making it easier than ever to manage your schedules, update your profile information, and receive important information from Santa Barbara Humane.

Interested?

We know how valuable your time is, and we appreciate your interest in sharing some of it with us. Volunteers like YOU can help enrich the lives of shelter dogs and cats, keep kennels and enclosures clean, and make adoptions happen each day. We are also recruiting volunteers to assist our veterinary team and outreach department.

To better serve our animals, volunteer opportunities are open to those 16 years or older who can commit to a minimum of two hours per week for 4-6 months at our Santa Barbara or Santa Maria campuses. Check out the volunteer job descriptions and apply below.

Volunteer Job Descriptions

Purpose:
As a cat volunteer, you’ll play a vital role in providing kittens and cats with socialization and enrichment, ensuring a clean and sanitary housing environment, reporting any behavior or medical concerns, and assisting with adoption match-making.  

Standard shift times: 

  • 7:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
  • 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
  • 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Duties:
Work alongside staff caring for the physical and emotional well-being of shelter cats and kittens: provide daily enrichment and socialization; assist potential adopters with introductions; and support daily operations such as feeding, washing dishes and litter pans, laundry duties, and restocking supplies.

Qualifications:
A sincere interest in feline health and behavior and ability to read cat body language and practice safe animal handling; attention to detail and ability to follow written instructions; willingness to provide customer service, greet visitors, and have informative conversations; willingness to perform cleaning duties related to cat housing and care.

Training requirements:

  • Interview & Orientation 
  • Complete Cat Care Training Checklist and demonstrate ability to perform duties

Purpose:
As a dog volunteer, you’ll play a vital role providing dogs with exercise, basic manners training, socialization, and enrichment. You’ll help ensure a clean and sanitary housing environment, report any behavior or medical concerns, and assist with adoption match-making.

Standard shift times: 

  • 7:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
  • 9:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.
  • 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.
  • 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Duties:
Work alongside staff caring for the physical and emotional well-being of shelter dogs; provide daily enrichment and socialization; assist potential adopters with introductions; and support daily operations such as feeding, spot cleaning, washing dishes, laundry duties, and restocking supplies.

Qualifications:
Ability to read dog body language, practice safe animal handling and situational awareness; commitment to positive reinforcement training; willingness to report changes in animal behavior or health;  ability to follow written instructions and willingness to perform cleaning duties related to dog housing and care. 

Training requirements:

  • Orientation and Interview
  • Complete Dog Volunteer Training Checklist and demonstrate ability to perform duties.
  • Review Dog Walking Level SOP
  • Complete Dog Walking Training Level Green training and certification

Purpose:
Our fast paced clinic provides spay/neuter and general veterinary care to thousands of animals each year. Clinic Volunteers provide front desk assistance, perform general administrative duties, and assist the clinic staff with administering treatments. This is a great position to gain experience in a veterinary clinic environment. 

Standard shift times: 

  • 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Duties:
Provide surgery and vaccine clinic assistance to staff: preparing surgical gowns and drapes; cleaning and sterilizing surgical area, instruments and equipment; cleaning animal kennels/cages; helping discharge animals back to their guardians; cleaning and folding laundry; providing people with post-surgical care information. More advanced volunteers may be trained for recovering animals after anesthesia and preparing vaccines.

Qualifications:
Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older. Must feel comfortable in a hospital setting. The surgery process should be something that greatly interests you and does not make you squeamish. Ideal candidates should have good physical agility and strength and must be able to follow exact instructions. Must be committed to showing up for shifts as we rely heavily on our volunteer help in the clinic!

Training requirements: 

  • Orientation and Interview 
  • Complete Clinic Training Checklist and demonstrate ability to perform duties

Purpose:
Santa Barbara Humane is the community’s pet resource, and we need experienced and committed volunteers to represent the organization at a variety of events. We’re looking for an independent people-person who loves animals and is comfortable speaking in public to groups of all sizes and ages with an ambassador dog by their side (which could be their personal dog if approved!). Guided by the Philanthropy & Outreach team, the outreach volunteer will become a resource to the community and an invaluable steward of Santa Barbara Humane’s services. Because assignments will include classroom presentations, visits to assisted living facilities, and tabling at community events, a flexible schedule is necessary.

Standard shift times:
Event times and locations vary and usually take place on evenings and weekends throughout the year.

Duties:

  • Pick up “event box” and pre-specified supplies as needed from SB Campus Beck House, load vehicle, and drive to outreach event location
  • Volunteer may either (1) bring their own service dog or (2) pick up a pre-determined adoptable ambassador dog from either shelter campus
  • Volunteers use their own transportation to events unless they are assisting with animal or equipment transport and approved to drive a Santa Barbara Humane vehicle
  • Set up materials such as pop-up tent, table and tablecloth, Lonely Hearts Club profiles, informational fliers, and giveaway items; and/or curated PowerPoint presentation
  • Safely handle and attend to the needs of the ambassador dog in a public setting
  • Present in a group setting about Santa Barbara Humane and facilitate safe introductions of the ambassador dog to the attendees
  • Provide resources as a representative of Santa Barbara Humane and answer questions from participants when appropriate
  • Contact information will be provided for more in-depth questions *Note: volunteers should not speak to media/press*
  • Break down and pack up the materials, drive back to the SB Campus Beck House, unload
  • If applicable, return Santa Barbara Humane vehicle
  • If applicable, return adoptable ambassador dog to assigned kennel

Qualifications: 

  • Comfortable with public speaking to a variety of audiences
  • Able to relay accurate information about Santa Barbara Humane’s mission and services after a training by P&O staff
  • Professionalism and presentability
  • Valid Driver’s license
  • Intermediate dog-handling skills
  • Able to work evening and weekend shifts as needed
  • Strong communication

Training requirements: 

  • Orientation and Interview 
  • Animal handling
  • Hands-on Outreach Volunteer Training

Purpose:

Photograph shelter animals available for adoption and post on Shelter Luv.  Availability to shoot special events and offsite events as needed.  

Shifts:

Photographers can select the shifts that work best for them, but must be able to commit to shifts each week. Available Monday – Sunday.

Duties Include:

  • Photograph cats and/or dogs available for adoption
  • Download photos into personal computer or SB Humane computer, resize, and save
  • Upload photos and animal descriptions on Shelter Luv
  • Track Adopted Animals and ensure that Shelter Luv is current at all times

Age Requirements:

  • Photographers must be over 16 years of age.  

Skills and Qualities Needed:

  • Strong command of photo software 
  • Ability to write effectively and to follow standard profile descriptions
  • Willingness to commit to a set schedule and work with other team members to ensure all profiles are kept up-to-date

Tools Required:

  • Personal digital camera and photo software
  • Internet Access from a personal computer

To Apply: 

Please email [email protected] with information on your photography background, some examples or a portfolio of your work, why you are interested in this volunteer position, and the days/hours that would work for you on a weekly basis.

Purpose: 

It’s proven that animals with personal descriptions are adopted faster than those with generic personality types!  We need writers who can spend time getting to know the animals in order to write profiles that uniquely capture each individual personality, for posting in the shelter and on-line.

Shifts:

Writers can select the shifts that work best for them but must be able to commit to shifts each week. Available Monday – Sunday.

Duties Include:

  • Weekly shelter visits with animals that do not yet have a personal description 
  • Writing a unique description in the animal profile on Shelter Luv 
  • Track Adopted Animals and ensure that Shelter Luv is current at all times

Skills and Qualities Needed:

  • Effective creative writing skills and adherence to standard profile descriptions outlines 
  • Ability to spend time with the animals to get to know them to help you write-up creative and accurate descriptions of each animal 
  • Willingness to commit to a set schedule each week and work with other team members to ensure all profiles are kept up-to-date 
  • Training as a Cat Volunteer or Dog Volunteer, and/or willingness to complete the training

Tools Required:

  • Internet Access from a personal computer

To Apply: Please email [email protected] with information on your writing background, some examples of your work, why you are interested in this volunteer position, and the days/hours that would work for you on a weekly basis.

Campus Locations

Santa Barbara Campus
5399 Overpass Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93111
Directions >

Santa Maria Campus
1687 West Stowell Road
Santa Maria, CA 93458
Directions >

Apply today!

Dog & Cat Volunteers

Our current orientations are full at this time. Please check back the first day of April when new opportunities will be posted.

Orientations for dog and cat volunteers are held once a month at our Santa Barbara and Santa Maria campuses.

  • Be sure to make note of your selected campus location—Santa Barbara, or Santa Maria—as this will be where you report for your volunteer shifts.
  • Weekend positions fill up quickly, therefore, our greatest need is for weekday shifts.

Santa Barbara Campus

Dog and cat volunteer orientations are currently full. Please check back April 1st for new opportunities.

Santa Maria Campus

Cat volunteer orientations are temporarily on hold as we gear up for kitten season! Check back April 1st for new opportunities.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Santa Barbara Humane

Our current animal volunteer positions are full at this time.

Stay updated by subscribing to our email newsletter or following us on social media for announcements about future volunteer opportunities.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

To apply to be a volunteer in the Veterinary Clinic, Philanthropy & Outreach department, or for photographer and writer volunteers, or if you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Writers and photographers: Please be sure to include samples or a portfolio of your work.

What to Expect

Dog kisses and kitten purrs, a sense of satisfaction for helping animals, the opportunity to work with other animal-passionate folks and learn about animals. As a volunteer, you will play a key role in supporting animals and our community; we simply could not do this work without you! Your efforts will change the lives of animals and the people who love them. The simple acts of comfort you offer—and the comfort of knowing they are in safe and loving hands—will give them the strength they need to continue on their journey into loving homes.

A few guidelines to consider:

  • Volunteers should commit to a schedule and volunteer a minimum of 8-12 hours per month.
  • Volunteers under 16 years of age must partner with a parent or adult guardian volunteer.
  • We strongly encourage all volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Volunteers are expected to follow program rules, abide by our Culture of Caring, and respect our philosophy as a Socially Conscious Shelter. 

The onboarding process:

  1. Complete the online application via the links above and choose an orientation date and time
  2. Attend orientation
  3. Attend training
  4. Begin solo shifts

Questions?

Send us a message and we will get back to you soon.

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Hello!

Thanks for your interest in volunteering with Santa Barbara Humane. We’ve received your inquiry, and a team member will reach out to you soon!

Thank you!

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