Volunteer

Volunteer

There is more than one way to make hundreds of tails wag at once. Volunteer at the ARL!

There are few things as rewarding as helping a homeless animal find a loving new home. When you volunteer at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, you make a difference for homeless animals-whether you lift their spirits with a walk or sell tickets to the annual fundraising auction.

You will find that volunteering for the animals is easy, fun and very rewarding. It's a great way to impact the lives of thousands of dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and small animals. The most important skills you need to be a volunteer are love and respect for animals.

For additional volunteer information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 515-473-9110 or email the Volunteer Coordinator.

Current volunteers log-in here.

 

Becoming an ARL Volunteer

What: The first step to becoming an ARL Volunteer is to attend a volunteer orientation. Pre-registration is required. Please note that filling out an application does not register you. You must do both. At orientation, you will learn more about the ARL, its programs, and what you can do to help. You can fill out an application prior to the orientation or we will have applications available to you that day.

 

When: Volunteer orientations are generally held the second Saturday of every month. We do offer additional orientation sessions as needed. Check out our Events Calendar for upcoming dates and register online.

volunteer

Where: Saturday orientations are held at 9:30 a.m. in Mapes Auditorium, located on the North side of the main shelter, 5452 NE 22nd St., Des Moines. We occasionally hold orientations at ARL South, located inside Southridge Mall. Please check the information on the Event Calendar to see the location. Orientation runs about 90 minutes and please plan to arrive on time or you will be asked to re-register for a different session.

Volunteers must be at least 10 years old. A volunteer younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian volunteer who is at least 18 years of age at all times. The adult volunteer also needs to have completed orientation and any subsequent training with their minor partner.

There is a one-time, $20 new volunteer fee that includes a volunteer t-shirt, handbook, and name badge. Each additional volunteer at the same address is just $10 per person. Payment is accepted the day of orientation. We are unable to accept payment prior to completing orientation.

Application process: After signing up for one of our Volunteer Orientations, please fill out the volunteer application.

To work with our pets, volunteers must physically be able to enter and exit the kennels in a safe manner and have the ability to understand and comprehend ARL operational rules and policies to insure their own safety and the safety of the animals in our care.

For volunteers seeking to complete service hours for school, religious programs, etc: Because of the orientation and training process, we are unable to register volunteers wishing to commit fewer than 10 hours of service. For projects ideas that you can complete at home, and which still benefit the pets here at ARL, please see the Citizenship Projects suggested on our website.

For court-ordered community service, please contact one of our desk staff directly for information on getting started at (515) 473-9102.

What volunteer opportunities are available?

Animal Rescue League of Iowa
Description: Volunteers will work in the adoption area with the adoptable pets. They will help answer questions and assist with potential adopters in the visitation rooms. Volunteer must attend volunteer orientation. Volunteer must attend proper hands on trainings. Volunteer must be comfortable working around animals. Volunteer must be comfortable working around customers.

ARL West
Description: Volunteers will work at our ARL West Location in the Iowa Pet Foods and Aquatics facility. Volunteers will physically work with the adoptable pets and assist the staff members with the care and maintenance of the pets. Volunteer must attend volunteer orientation. Volunteer must attend a Dog & Cat Companion training as well as a West training class. Volunteer must be comfortable around animals. Volunteer must be comfortable working around customers. Volunteers must be 12 years or older to work at this location.

ARL South - Southridge Mall
Description: Volunteers will work at our ARL South Location. Volunteers will physically work with the adoptable pets and to assist the staff members with the care and maintenance of the pets. Volunteer must attend volunteer orientation. Volunteer must attend the Cat & Dog Companion class as well as the ARL South training class. Volunteer must be able to work with the public.

ARL Petsmart - Ankeny
Description: Volunteers will work at our ARL PetsMart location in Ankeny. Volunteers will physically work with the adoptable pets and provide customer service to possible adopters. Volunteer must attend volunteer orientation. Volunteer must attend the Cat & Rabbit Companion training as well as the ARL PetSmart training class. Volunteer must be able to sign up for a consistent volunteering schedule. Volunteer must be able to work with the public. Volunteers must be at least 18, or with an adult volunteer, to work at this location.

Beginning Opportunities for New Volunteers

Rabbit & Small Animal Companion

Goal: To increase the adoptability and quality of life for small animals, including rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, rats and guinea pigs.

Description: Volunteer will assist with cleaning, talk to, pet and socialize with caged pets from the adoption cages. Volunteer may interact with pets while they are in their cages or take them into a visitation room to cuddle

Qualifications: Volunteer must relate well to caged pets and be comfortable handling them. Volunteer must talk to pets in a soothing tone and understand their body language. Volunteer must read ARL caged pet literature given out during training. Volunteer must complete New Volunteer Orientation and rabbit/small animal companion training.

 

Cat Companion

Goal: To keep the cats in our care physically attractive and emotionally happy as a means of increasing their chances at adoption and to enhance their lives.

Description: Volunteer will assist wtih cleaning, talk to, pet, groom and socialize with cats from the adoption cages. Volunteer may interact with cats while they are in their cages or take them into a visitation room to cuddle.

Qualifications: Volunteer must relate well to cats and be comfortable handling them. Volunteer must talk to cats in a soothing tone and understand their body language. Volunteer must read ARL cat handling literature given out during training. Volunteer must complete New Volunteer Orientation and cat companion training.

 

Dog Companion

Goal: To keep the dogs in our care emotionally happy and physically attractive as a means of increasing their chances at adoption and enhancing their lives.

Description: Volunteer will assist with cleaning, talk to, pet, brush and socialize with dogs from the adoption cages. Volunteer may interact with dogs while they are in their cages or take them into a visitation room.

Qualifications: Volunteer must relate well to dogs and be comfortable handling them. Volunteer must talk to dogs in a soothing tone and understand their body language. Volunteer must read ARL dog handling literature given out during training. Volunteer must complete New Volunteer Orientation and dog companion training.

Experienced Volunteering Opportunities

Adoption Counselor

Goal: To assist members of the public in finding an appropriate pet for their home.

Description: Volunteer will visit with potential adopters in the adoption area of the kennel and assist them in finding a pet.

Qualifications: Volunteer must have at least 3 months experience, be at least 16 years of age and approval of the Volunteer Coordinator. Volunteer must be knowledgeable about responsible pet care and show proficiency in the adoption process, which includes screening, interviewing and placement of animals into adoptive homes.

Dog Walker

Goal: To ensure the dogs in our care have their physical needs met.

Description: Volunteer will take the dogs outside for exercise and play time, utilizing the grounds and dog park.

Qualifications: Volunteer must be at least 16 years of age and completed Dog Companion training. Volunteer must be able to explain basic body language and communication along with demonstrations of appropriate collar and Gentle Leader usage as well as clicker training on 3 dogs.

Assistant Dog Trainer

Goal: To help dog guardians communicate and develop a bond with their dogs with the goal of keeping the dog in its home and reducing the number of dogs turned into shelters because of behavioral issues.

Description: Volunteer will assist Pet Behavior Counselor with dog and/or puppy training classes at the ARL or at offsite locations. Volunteer will interact with class attendees and their dogs while demonstrating, explaining and emphasizing the goals of the class.

Qualifications: Volunteer must communicate effectively with dog guardians and relate well to dogs. Volunteer must read ARL-approved dog-training literature and watch recommended videos. Volunteer must have approval of the Pet Behavior & Enrichment Manager.

Assistant Shelter Dog Trainer - PupCamp

Goal: To train shelter dogs to have basic manners and be "human focused" as a means of increasing their chances at adoption.

Description: Volunteer will work with dogs in their kennels and outside using treats, verbal praise and positive reinforcement training methods approved by the ARL. After working with each dog, volunteer notes information about the animal on a "Get to Know Me" sheet and attaches it to the dog's kennel door.

Qualifications: Volunteer must feel comfortable working with the shelter dogs and moving them in and out of the cages/kennels. Volunteer must read ARL-approved training material, watch recommended videos and be approved by the Pet Behavior & Enrichment Manager.

Groomer

Goal: To make pets more comfortable and attractive as a means of increasing their chance at adoption and enhancing their lives.

Description: Volunteer will bathe and groom primarily dogs, but occasionally other animals, in the bathing room at the ARL. All necessary supplies are available at the ARL.

Qualifications: Volunteer must have previous experience in grooming. In either case, volunteer must show proficiency in bathing and/or grooming and have approval of Pet Behavior & Enrichment Manager or Volunteer Coordinator.

Humane Educator

Goal: To educate the public about pet welfare issues and responsible pet guardianship while promoting the human-animal bond.

Description: Volunteer will give presentations at locations in the community and/or presentations with tours at the ARL. Volunteer may occasionally take a pre-approved animal to presentations and may also take their personal animal to presentations as approved by the Pet Behavior & Enrichment Manager. Dogs must have CGC and TDI certification.

Qualifications: Volunteer must believe in the values and objectives of humane education, be comfortable speaking in front of groups and be able to interact well with children. Volunteer must be able to think on his/her feet and answer questions from an audience. Volunteer must be willing to read and become familiar with ARL humane education materials and be approved by the Humane Education Coordinator.

Special Volunteering Opportunities

Donation Canister Monitor

Goal: To monitor and collect from donation banks in the local community and to recruit new locations.

Description: Volunteer will distribute, monitor, collect funds from and collect banks if needed from locations in the Des Moines area. Volunteer will maintain a list of donation bank locations and monitor them as needed could be bi-monthly or monthly depending on the need. Volunteer will turn in collected funds to the assigned ARL staff within 24 hours of collection. Schedule is flexible.

Qualifications: Volunteer must have a valid driver’s license and a means of transportation. Volunteer should know his/her way around Des Moines and be comfortable interacting with the people at each location and with transporting money. Volunteer must have approval of the Volunteer Coordinator.

Group Volunteering

We occasionally have larger shelter projects suitable for volunteer groups. Due to insurance requirements, we are unable to allow groups to work "hands on" with the pets. Therefore, we need an identified project before bringing a group on board. If your volunteer group is interested in group project, please contact the Volunteer Coordinator directly providing your group size, available dates and time frames along with any special skills or project suggestions you may have.

We do require that all individuals within the group are at least 18 years old. If your group is primarily minors, please contact us to learn about options for presentations, tours and small volunteer projects.

Interested in getting started?

Check out the events calendar to see the upcoming Volunteer Orientations. Just click on the date that you're interested in and follow the link to get registered. Please note that some dates are more popular than others and fill up quickly. Go now to the Events Calendar to see dates! You can also fill out the volunteer application.