FAQs

VOLUNTEER FAQs

Is there an age requirement for volunteering at the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes. The minimum age for volunteering with our animals is 12. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 may volunteer with cats and/or rabbits if accompanied by a parent or guardian who directly supervises animal interaction. Both the child and the parent must attend a New Volunteer Orientation. We do not accept volunteers under the age of 12.

Is there a minimum commitment of hours required to volunteer?

Yes. We ask for a minimum commitment of two hours a week for a minimum period of six months.

Do I need to schedule my volunteer hours?

Dog Walkers, Cat Cuddlers, and Bunny Buddies do not need to schedule volunteer hours; and are welcome to interact with our animals any time from 7am until close of business that day.  We are open seven days a week for volunteering.  Departmental Opportunities (e.g. operator positions, surgical instrument pack wrappers) and volunteers attending Off-site Events  require a pre-arranged schedule.

Am I limited to interacting with one type of animal?

No. There is a separate New Volunteer Orientation for each type of shelter animal - dogs, cats, and rabbits - and attending each orientation qualifies you for interacting with that particular animal.

I need to fulfill volunteer service hours for school. Can I complete these hours at the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes. You may volunteer as a Dog Walker, Cat Cuddler, or Bunny Buddy if you agree to meet the minimum hours commitment listed in our volunteer requirements section. If you only need to complete a few hours, we have non-animal-handling opportunities available that will fulfill your requirement.

I need to fulfill Court-Ordered Community Service Hours. Are there opportunities available at the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes.  We have some supervised Community Service opportunities that would fulfill court mandated requirements. Handling our animals IS NOT an accepted form of community service.  Not all community service applicants will be granted admission into the program.  

A group of students needs to complete a special project. Is there anything we can do for the Western PA Humane Society?

Yes. Although we cannot accommodate groups of students to participate in hands-on animal activities, many groups have held food drives and other collections to benefit the animals at our shelter. Other ideas include Car Washes and other fund-raisers to collect money for our shelter residents, making blankets for our cat cages or home-made dog biscuits for our shelter canines. You may visit our Wish List to get more ideas. We occasionally have painting projects, planting projects and other projects that can accommodate a group as well. Visit our Youth Programs and Tours page for more information about school groups.

I have a special-needs client who wishes to volunteer. What are the requirements for special-needs individuals?

If the special needs of an individual would present a health or safety risk to the individual or to our animals or if the individual is not able to learn and put into practice health and safety protocols, it is required that the individual be accompanied by a job coach or social services worker who will directly supervise the individual's interaction with our animals. Please contact or 412 321-4625 x 226 to discuss which opportunities would be safe and what sort of supervision will be required.

How do I foster an animal?

Foster volunteers do not need to attend a New Volunteer Orientation. A separate Foster Application is required to become a foster parent; and specific guidelines are discussed each time we send an animal into foster. The foster application, as well as the list of foster requirements, is available on our foster page or you may pick that information up at the Western PA Humane Society.

Can I volunteer at the Western PA Humane Society in a non-animal handling capacity? 

Yes. Our most popular opportunities are Dog Walking, Cat Cuddling, and Bunny Buddying, but we have many more opportunities available for those that wish to donate professional, administrative and clerical services to our organization.  If this sounds like the right opportunity for you, please complete a Helpful Hands volunteer application. Click here to sign up!