Interested in Volunteering?
Volunteers play a critical role at the Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control. Without our volunteers, we would never be able to provide the current level of programs and services to assist the animals and our community. Whether you walk dogs, assist with a fundraising event, provide kennel or cattery assistance, or help customers at the front desk, you can make a difference in the lives of animals. But here’s what’s in it for YOU!
- You can be part of the solution. You'll join a network of hundreds of thousands of people working to make the world safe and more humane for all living creatures. You'll make the jobs of everyone working for animals a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership and animal protection.
- You can get warm fuzzies. You'll never find a more grateful and accepting comrade than an animal you've comforted.
- You'll be in good company. You'll make lots of new friends—and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.
- Meet the new you! You'll discover skills you never knew you had, and you may be surprised at what you're capable of achieving.
- Gain valuable skills and experience. You'll learn things that may lead you to the career—or career change—of your dreams. Employers and college admissions officers look favorably on time spent in volunteer service.
- You’ll enjoy a wagging tail, a purr, and a smile. Didn't someone once say that the best things in life are free?
You must be 14 years of age or older, and volunteers under the age of 18 must work with adult supervision at all times. Junior volunteers (14 to 18 years of age) often team up with their parents in various volunteer opportunities.
Orientations are held quarterly, usually on Sunday. Applicants are invited to orientation and training sessions based on the volunteer opportunities selected on the application. All applicants are required to attend an Orientation, which covers CRACC policies and philosophy, prior to beginning their volunteer opportunities. Some assignments may also require additional training or mentoring.
Volunteers are required to pay a $10 donation to enter the Volunteer Program. The fee is payable at the time of Volunteer Orientation attendance. This fee helps to cover costs associated with volunteer programming, such as Volunteer ID wristbands, Volunteer database management and annual licensing, Volunteer ID t-shirts, and printing of the Volunteer Handbook.
Below is an outline of what to expect:
- During Volunteer Orientation, volunteers will receive their own Volunteer Handbook, and an orange and black wristband that will identify them to staff and other volunteers during their initial volunteer experience.
- Once volunteers have filled out a Volunteer Application, paid the Volunteer Program fee of $10, and attended the Orientation, they will have their Volunteer Application information entered into our Volunteer database. This usually takes about one week to complete. Volunteers will then be sent an email requesting them to login to their database profile, update their information, upload a photo of themselves, and create their own password. This password will give them access to their volunteer profile at any time to log-in volunteer hours, update their profile information, or to sign up for various volunteer projects.
- Once new volunteers have logged in 20 or more hours of service, they will be eligible to pick up their very own CRACC Volunteer T-shirt. T-shirts are available for pick-up at the shelter during normal business hours and should be worn during volunteer activities to identify themselves to staff and other volunteers, as well as the public.
Minimum Time Requirements for Volunteers
We ask that you give a one-year volunteer commitment to the Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control. Some programs have minimum hourly requirements which are explained in detail during the orientation and volunteer training.
Being a Junior Volunteer is a great way to develop respect and compassion for living creatures. Children under 18 may volunteer for certain assignments, if they are accompanied by a parent. The parent must complete all volunteer requirements, including submission of an application and attendance at an orientation.
Volunteer Foster Parent Program
We often have a special need for foster parent homes to help us care for puppies or kittens too young for adoption, or animals recovering from injuries or illnesses.
There are a variety of different things you can do to help us care for the animals. Here are just a few examples:
- Those dishes the animals eat out of don't clean themselves. While it's a dirty job, doing a few dishes or loads of laundry helps the staff to focus on more important matters and enables the animals to have a clean and healthy living space.
- Are you office oriented? We always need help answering phones, filing papers, and logging things onto the computer. While this is mostly hands-off of the animals, you're more likely to meet the families that end up adding a pet to their homes, or help out the family that’s come looking for their lost pet. It’s very rewarding work.
- Even if you aren't a vet, we could use volunteers during spay/neuter days to make sure animals are hydrated and prepared for their surgeries. We also need volunteers willing to transport animals to/from the vet, or to a rescue home.
- Do you have a fenced yard or a living space with a little extra room? Fostering an animal that is recovering from surgery or is too stressed to stay in a kennel is a great way to volunteer. Fostering is also a great way to help us through the summer since that is "kitten season”. If you can handle kittens, you are guaranteed your fair share of foster kittens between the months of May and October.
- If helping out personally is just too painful for you, there's still hope! Help us coordinate fundraising events, provide humane education programs in our community schools, solicit donation items or sponsors for advertisements and events.
- For those artistic at heart, we need help photographing pets for PetFinder, posting the photos, and writing up biographies that are sure to attract adopters.
- Do you enjoy media work? Why not sign up to bring adoptable animals to KCRG once a week, or create a promotional video for local stations to run.
- Do you fancy yourself as a pet groomer? Our adoptable pets are often in need of a bath to help them show off their best look to potential adopters.
- Maybe dogs and/or cats aren’t your thing, but rabbits, ferrets, birds, or reptiles might be! Add your name and contact information to our list of volunteer fosters willing to help us care for those rare species that sometimes show up at the shelter.
Volunteer Tips and Warnings
- If you plan on working directly with the animals, or doing cleaning, make sure to wear clothes that are comfy and can get dirty. No open toed shoes, no dangling earrings or neck chains, and please leave expensive personal items at home.
- Never handle an animal that has a "Staff Only" sign on it. These animals are often sick, have a behavior issue that is still being addressed, or are waiting for reclaim.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re unsure about something, or want to learn a new area – just ask. We’ll be happy to help you. We want your volunteer experience to be a positive one!
- Have a suggestion for making things easier? Share your thoughts and ideas with the management staff that can help affect changes.
If you are currently a volunteer, update your profile!