Here at the Pet Pantry, we rely on our volunteers for several tasks that make it possible to do what we do. We would not be able to have such a presence in the community without them. If you are wanting to give back in the community but aren't sure how to do so, this may be the opportunity for you. While our busiest location is our main location on Millersville Road, we have several offsite adoption centers that we need volunteers at to help care for our cats as well. We also have opportunities to volunteer at community events when they come up.
While the animals are our number one priority and require the most time and effort, it takes a lot to keep the all of our programs up and running. Volunteer help is required in many different areas. Some of the tasks available for volunteers to assist with include:
- (Adopt,) Clean and Feed Shifts (This shift is available at all adoption centers)
- Involves cleaning cages at adoption centers, feeding and watering cats, and cleaning litterboxes
- Involves socializing and handling of the cats
- Offsite adoption locations will involve answering questions to the public about the cats and the adoption process
- Offsite adoption centers may require some set-up/tear-down of the exercise area
- Offsite adoption centers will involve learning to do adoption paperwork to send cats home with approved adopters
- Clean and feed shifts require a training session for proper cleaning protocols that MUST be followed to keep our cats healthy
- Pet Pantry Phone and Customer Service Shift (This shift is available at the Main Office Only)
- Answering phones
- Assisting with customers/clients that come in during business hours
- Ringing out thrift shop purchases
- General Cleaning, Laundry, Miscellaneous Shift (This shift is available at the Main Office Only)
- General cleaning such as dusting, sweeping and mopping
- Washing and folding laundry
- Assisting with donations and organizing the thrift shop
- Helping out in other areas if shortage in volunteers arise
- Pet Food Packaging/Distribution Shifts (This shift is available at the Main Office Only)
- Mixing and packaging of pet food
- Set-up/Tear-down for distribution
- Loading food for clients
- Pet Pantry Representative at Community Events (These shifts will have varying locations pending the event)
- Picking up/Dropping off supplies for the event
- Set-up/tear-down of area for event
- Providing information about our organization to the public
- Handling money if sales are occurring at the event
If you are willing and able to help out with any of these tasks, please fill out our volunteer application. From that point you will be invited to a volunteer orientation meeting where we will go over what areas we need help in and how to get started signing up for shifts.
Some rules and guidelines to note:
- All volunteers must be ages 12 or older
- Volunteers 15 or under must have a parent or guardian to volunteer with them
- All volunteers must sign up for their shifts through our scheduling program. If you aren't able to access this from home, you will be able to do so at the Pet Pantry.
- If you cannot make a shift, you must call the Pet Pantry to let us know
- Our cleaning protocols are in place to ensure our cats stay as healthy as possible. If you are working with the cats you are expected to attend a cleaning protocol training session where you will learn these procedures. If you are found working without following protocols, you will be dismissed.
While fostering is still a form of volunteering, it falls into a bit of a different category. Foster parents invite rescue animals into their own home and provide care for them as if they were their own pets until they are ready for adoption.
Foster homes are beneficial for many reasons. They help to keep animals out of cages for extended periods of time, help to get an idea of how the animal acts in a home setting, which can aid in adoption and can help provide care that otherwise may not be available at the shelter. Here at the Pet Pantry we look for foster homes for both cats and dogs.
Cats will go out to foster for many reasons. Most commonly, kittens will go out to foster care while waiting to come of age to be altered before going up for adoption, but fostering may also be required for older cats if certain situations occur. We also see a fair share of injured cats that need fostered while they recuperate from surgery or recover from illness.
Here at the Pet Pantry, all dogs are sent to foster care. Our facility is not large enough to house dogs, nor do we have enough staff to be able to care for them if they were staying here. Due to this, the dogs we take in are based off what foster homes we have available.
When you sign up to foster for the Pet Pantry, we will ask you what animals you feel comfortable caring for. If your foster application is approved, we will add you to our list of fosters with the specifications that you tell us. When we are asked to take in an animal that you have marked that you are able to care for, we will call you and see if you are available to foster that animal.
Time frame for a foster parent varies. It depends on the age of the animal and how much care is needed. When we call with an animal in need of foster, we are often able to give you an estimate of how long you will have the animal in your care for, as well as what type of care is needed. It will be up to you to tell us if you are able to help with the situation. While the animal is in your care, we will provide the necessities for the animal including any vet work it may need. It is your responsibility to make sure your foster animal makes it to his/her appointments on time so that proper protocol can be followed. If you are fostering and something seems wrong, it is up to you to contact the Pet Pantry staff immediately for further direction on how to proceed with vet care.
We do ask that fosters keep in mind it is best to have an area separate from their own pets to keep fosters in. While all animals that go to foster care are checked by a vet, these are rescue animals. We do not have a complete medical history on them and cannot guarantee their health. It is best to keep them separate while they settle and until their vaccination process is complete to protect both the foster animals and your personal pets from sharing unwanted problems.
If fostering animals is something that you are interested in, we ask that you fill out a foster application by stopping in our office or going onto our website. Fostering is a very rewarding experience, and we would be happy to have you as a part of our team.