THURSTON COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
3120 Martin Way E, Olympia, WA 98506
What does a volunteer do?
Some of our volunteer opportunities include:
Most volunteers spend a lot of their time working with the animals in cat and dog adoption. The first priority for all volunteers in these areas is to keep the animals’ environment healthy and clean. This means that all volunteers working with animals are expected to clean the kennels. Other opportunities include socializing, walking, grooming, bathing and matching adopters with the right pet.
The longer you volunteer (allowing us to get to know your skills better), the more options we can provide.
What kind of a commitment is required?
Before you agree to volunteer, please make sure you have the time available to offer. We ask that volunteers be prepared to donate at least four hours a month, for at least six months.
In order to be really helpful to the Shelter, volunteers are encouraged to make a long-term commitment to the animals. We experience a VERY HIGH turnover rate. When volunteers come, are trained, then quit coming, it takes staff time away from the animals to train new volunteers. For that reason, we discourage "summer-only" volunteers or students who have just a few hours of community service to fulfill. An experienced, dedicated volunteer base makes all the difference to the animals in our shelter!
If you don’t have the time for a long term commitment, there are still many ways you can help.
When can I volunteer?
Volunteers are needed when the Shelter is open, Tuesday-Friday 9:30-5:30 and Saturday 9:30-4:00.
How old do I have to be?
You must be at least 14 years old to volunteer at the shelter. Potential volunteers, 11-13 years old, must be accompanied by a responsible adult volunteer at all times while at the shelter.
What if I have community service hours to complete?
If you need to fulfill community service hours for school or the courts, you will need to talk to the Volunteer Coordinator before you begin volunteering. We cannot sign off on any hours unless we have made arrangements in advance.
School-Required Community Service: We will accept school-required community service for any amount of time; however, we require a minimum of 24 hours of volunteered time at the shelter before we can sign your form.
How do I become a Shelter volunteer?
Make a reservation to attend a volunteer orientation. These orientations last around 1 ½ hours and cover basic information about volunteering and Animal Services.
If after the orientation you feel that volunteering at the shelter would be a good fit for you, you may submit a volunteer application. (Applications are handed out at the volunteer orientations.)
It takes a couple weeks to process your application and background check. After that, we will contact you to schedule your first volunteer shift. This is when you will get your hands-on training.
Click here for current information on volunteer orientations and current volunteer needs.
Are there other ways to help?
Absolutely! We always need supplies and money to properly care for the 135+ animals that enter our shelter each week. With all the economic problems our community and country currently face, homeless animals and their needs are often overlooked. We can always use blankets, towels, quality canned and dry pet food and other pet supplies. Like most shelters, our greatest need is money--medication and veterinary care are costly. We appreciate any support you can offer!
Donations can be dropped off at or sent to:
Have a car you'd like to get rid of? You can donate it to the shelter!
Can't Volunteer at the Shelter?
Would you like to help the animals, but are too young to volunteer at the shelter or you don’t have the time? Don’t worry, there are many ways to help the animals cared for by Animal Services. Here are some ideas, but feel free to think of your own!
Foster homes are needed to care for animals in your own home. Click here for more information.
We have instructions for making several different items needed by our animals: from pet toys to dog houses. Please contact the Education and Volunteer Coordinator if you have questions. Items include cat toys, dog toys, dog houses, martingale leads, kennel covers, bird cage covers and more.
Organize a Walk-a-thon
Some groups have received permission from local businesses (Petco, Petsmart, etc.) to hold a fundraising drive at their store. They handed out fliers listing the Shelter’s needs to shoppers heading into the store. Please contact the Education and Volunteer Coordinator by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a sample of the flier.
Other Ways to Help Animals:
Tell People about the Shelter
Keep pets and people together
Spread the Word about Important Animal Issues
Organize an Animal Awareness Week
Create a newsletter, blog, or website about animals.
Come up with your own idea! If you have questions, please contact the Education and Volunteer Coordinator by emailing email@example.com.