Volunteering at HSSA

Christophe Valton

“A community in which all pets are cared for and loved.”

Volunteering at an organization which espouses this vision offers a unique opportunity to enhance the quality of life of shelter animals. Without exception, our animals arrive at Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) because something went wrong in their lives. Abuse, neglect, abandonment, change of circumstances in owners’ lives, injuries too costly to afford—these are the clients that the volunteers have the privilege to help get to a better place and eventually find a new life with a forever family.

Rigorous and overarching training modules prepare volunteers for their assignments, of which there are many. Volunteers can expect to be involved in dog walking, providing enrichment for shelter pets, supporting training, behavior assessment, and socialization programs, participating in dog play groups, and assisting medical staff at the Second Chance Unit, where lives are saved and broken animals are restored to health. Dogs are taken on special outings—hiking, downtown—or spend a weekend at a volunteer’s home to decompress. We are here to serve their needs and do our best to make life in the shelter less stressful.

To make assignments even more rewarding, volunteers are encouraged to discover which opportunities suit their personal interests best. In this they are supported by volunteer coordination staff, who are always ready to help out with assistance and advice. Canine behavior specialists provide training and a unique experience in learning how to speak dog. A dedicated community of dog walking volunteers ensures that all dogs are walked and loved-on every day. New volunteers are mentored and included in the team. Presentations on up-to-date industry-relevant information are offered by subject-matter specialists.

We love our animals. Concern for their welfare prompts us to get up before dawn every day. We talk about them, share information and experiences; we worry about them, and we celebrate when they find their forever homes. And in the process of caring for them, we discover the meaning of true enrichment.

Volunteering at HSSA is truly an experience like no other!