Do You Love Animals? Become a Shelter Volunteer!

Become a Volunteer at Lakeland Animal Shelter

Volunteering at Lakeland Animal Shelter means something different to everyone. Each new volunteer begins through orientation with Lynn Sabo, the volunteer coordinator, and then receives a sign-in sheet and official nametag, created by Kristen Perry, the executive director.

After these two initial steps are completed one might consider themselves an official shelter volunteer, and that...is where the similar experiences end. Each volunteer embarks on their own unique journey to find what’s right for them at Lakeland Animal Shelter. 

The volunteer program spans over 20 categories. Some might find it surprising to know that not all of our volunteer opportunities even involve working with animals! One of our most unique volunteer opportunities is at Nine Lives Boutique.

The boutique is our very own resale shop, run completely by volunteers with 100% of the proceeds going toward animal care at Lakeland Animal Shelter. As one of our boutique volunteers affectionately shared, “volunteering at Nine Lives is so much fun because you can shop, work, and help the animals - all at the same time!”

Other volunteer categories that do not directly involve animals include gardening, general shelter maintenance, photography, and event planning. So as you can see, there are countless ways to help at Lakeland Animal Shelter.

If you are looking to help the animals by working with them directly, however, there’s also no shortage of options here! Our Bright Futures training class is also run completely by shelter volunteers.

Each dog “handler” is paired with a dog, and the two attend class together weekly. This is perfect for those who have experience with dogs and wish to work directly with one particular dog.

The handlers often develop a close relationship with the lovable canine they work with and make it their personal mission to not only improve the dog’s experience at the shelter, but also set out to find the perfect family for that dog. One of our Bright Futures volunteers stated that she enjoys being a part of the class because she knows that she is making a difference in a dog’s life, both now and for the future.

Other dog-related volunteer opportunities include walking, simply spending time with the dogs, grooming, and taking them to outreach events.

Of course, we also have CATS at the shelter - lots and lots of cats!  And guess what? They love attention!

If you haven’t actually visited the shelter, you may not realize that our cats live in free roaming colonies. It’s a pretty cool setup, if you’re a homeless cat. The cat colonies are always open to volunteers!

If you consider yourself a “cat person”, consider this opportunity! Our cat colony volunteers often get to know the cats and their different personalities, helping to pair them with the purr-fect forever family.

Many of our volunteer categories center around the animals at the shelter and helping care for them, providing each animal the attention they deserve, while they stay with us. However, believe it or not, it doesn’t end there!

The main reason Lakeland Animal Shelter exists is to care for homeless animals in Walworth County and sometimes beyond. We couldn’t do this though, without hundreds of successful adoptions each year. The ultimate goal of our shelter is to find each and every animal a loving “fur-ever” family, and that’s where yet another volunteer opportunity comes in.

Not only does the shelter need people to help care for the animals, while they stay with us, but also needs volunteers to help place them in loving adoptive or foster homes. Focusing on their future is certainly a worthwhile endeavor.

We have volunteers who actively seek perfect families for our animals. This can be done in so many ways. Whether it's on social media, word-of-mouth, outreach events, or fostering, our volunteers often determine the future of so many animals in our care. While a volunteer's goal varies greatly, depending on their role at the shelter, it’s fair to say that quite often our volunteers turn some of the saddest stories into the happiest endings.

To learn more about volunteering at Lakeland Animal Shelter, please visit our Volunteer Page!