Become a Campus Volunteer
Our campus volunteers are an integral part of fulfilling our mission! The day-to-day support from our volunteers helps our staff keep the process of breeding, training, caring for, and placing our dogs running smoothly. Campus volunteers work along side PAWS staff to provide a positive experience for our clients and exceptional care for our dogs!
These volunteers can help serve in a variety of different positions on our campus, such as assisting the vet department, providing public-facing services in the front offices, helping in puppy enrichment centers, supporting events and fundraisers, transporting dogs, or working directly with our dogs to provide an engaging training experience. Keep checking back with us for fun new opportunities as we continue to build our volunteer program!
Campus Volunteer Basics
- All volunteers, or their parents, should have an email address and regular access to the internet to sign up for volunteer opportunities and receive updates from PAWS.
- Campus volunteers must be age 16+ to volunteer alone, children and students ages 12-16 may volunteer under the supervision of an adult (not provided by PAWS). Some tasks may not be suited for all age groups. Volunteers looking to drive for PAWS must be age 25+.
Steps to Become a Campus Volunteer
Beginning to volunteer with PAWS is easy! Fill out the application below and allow 3-5 business days for processing. Once your application has been processed, you will be able to sign up for an Orientation date to meet our Volunteer Coordinator and get familiar with PAWS facilities.
After you’ve completed your orientation, you’ll be able to sign up for volunteer opportunities with different PAWS departments that fit your interests! These departments will offer times to come in and begin training specific to their department and your unique opportunity.
Campus Volunteer Login
Campus Volunteer FAQS
Will PAWS sign off on community service hours?
Yes! We will sign off on volunteer hours for a school or community service project and will work with you to ensure your hours are met. Please indicate this on the application and PAWS will coordinate with you upon your arrival to sign paperwork or other necessary documents.
PAWS does not currently accept court ordered community service hours.
Why does PAWS require a background check for volunteers?
PAWS requires a criminal background check on all volunteers that are over age 18+. This is to ensure there is a safe environment for our dogs, staff, and volunteers. When making a decision whether or not to allow service by a prospective volunteer with a criminal history, PAWS will consider:
- The nature and gravity of the offense or conduct
- The time that has passed since the offense/conduct and/or the sentence
- The nature of the volunteer position sought
Do you accept groups or families of volunteers?
Yes, we offer group volunteer opportunities at PAWS! Groups should be 4 or more people, with a limit of 20. All Volunteers should be aged 14 and older. Please visit our Group Volunteering page for more information and fill out the Group Application.
If your family meets the following requirements, then you might be a group:
- The group is only planning on coming to PAWS once, or at most once a month.
- 4+ people are participating in a volunteer experience
- All members of your family are over 14 years of age. Children in your group will need adult supervision, which is not provided by PAWS.
- If your family would like to volunteer consistently, please sign up through the Campus Volunteer application.
Will I be around dogs when I volunteer?
Most likely, yes! We have dogs all over campus. Volunteers should be aware that working with and around dogs may present some risks. There are possibilities of injury that may result from contact with animals, such as scratches, bites, and allergic reaction, which may occur when performing volunteer duties.
What breeds of dogs might I find on PAWS’ campus?
Breeds include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Standard Poodles, and Papillons for PAWS Assistance Dogs. Personal dogs that PAWS employees bring into the office may be any breed.
What should I wear to volunteer at PAWS?
Please dress for the weather and volunteer activity. Some activities take place both indoors and outdoors year-round, so we recommend wearing layers to adjust to different environments. We adapt our opportunities to be indoors as best we can with inclement weather, but our dogs love being outside rain or shine!
Our dogs are friendly, but they are in various stages of training all over our campus. We discourage loose or dangling jewelry as dogs may pull on it or become entangled in it. We also recommend sensible footwear for dog interactions.
I need accommodations, but I want to be involved. Can I still volunteer at PAWS?
PAWS does our best to create a safe place for everyone to volunteer. Our PAWS Volunteer Coordinator will help you choose the volunteer opportunity that is right for you after you’ve submitted a volunteer application.
I have allergies. Will that affect my volunteer experience?
Some activities are more involved with potential allergens than others. We ask that volunteers use their best judgement when signing up for activities and make their volunteer supervisor aware of their allergies when they begin onboarding.
Allergies to be aware of:
- We have both dogs and cats on campus
- We create enrichment materials that use peanut butter
- Outdoor activities will include exposure to dust, grass, and pollen.
How long am I expected to volunteer for PAWS?
The volunteer work at PAWS requires training time and staff commitment, we ask that volunteers commit to around 3 months of volunteering. PAWS does not currently offer volunteer opportunities for individuals looking to volunteer one time.
We understand that it’s impossible to see into the future and sometimes things happen! If you need to stop volunteering with PAWS and want to return in the future, your profile with PAWS will be held for you.
Am I expected to volunteer every week?
There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to committing your time. If you’re looking to make a weekly commitment, we have departments that depend on our weekly volunteers! These opportunities generally require a greater amount of consistency to operate smoothly, and may need weekly or biweekly shifts filled that average 1–4 hours in length.
Unsure of your weekly schedule? We have many opportunities with schedules that are more flexible or infrequent. There are also seasonal and weather dependent opportunities, such as gardening, building projects, raking leaves, or clearing snow. Please carefully review our volunteer opportunities to ensure they will be a good fit for your schedule before signing up.
Do I need to bring anything when I come to volunteer?
PAWS is happy to provide drinking water, tools, and other materials needed for activities. However, we welcome you to bring anything needed to make your experience more comfortable, such as a water bottle, snacks, or personal items (perhaps you have a favorite pair of work gloves!). PAWS will provide a place to store them while you’re on campus.
Are there off campus volunteer opportunities?
Some opportunities may take place at off-campus locations (such as providing support during events or fundraising); these locations and all other instructions will be shared with volunteers prior to the date of the opportunity. Orientation for these opportunities will still take place on campus.
Those transporting PAWS dogs will generally meet at PAWS headquarters to pick up dogs and take them to their designated location, unless otherwise specified by PAWS staff. There may be other driving needs across Michigan; details of a driving opportunity will be shared prior to the date of the opportunity.
If I’m driving PAWS dogs, do I drive my own vehicle?
PAWS vehicles may be available depending on situation and convenience! Your volunteer supervisor will share details when the driving opportunity becomes available.
Please contact Julie Thorington, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (616) 877-7297 ext. 451.