Volunteer with the Animal Shelter

Volunteer Training

Orientations are held by appointment / as needed basis
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old.

Volunteer and Make a Difference!

Being a volunteer is extremely rewarding, educational and fun. You can have a significant positive impact on several homeless animals as a volunteer. Walking a dog, cuddling with a cat, giving a treat or blanket to an animal or a simple pat on the head can impact an animal in a big way and bring you back for more. It’s especially rewarding to see how the animals respond immediately to the love and affection they receive during their time at the shelter.

As a result of the volunteer program, dogs get walked regularly and cats are more socialized. Because of volunteers, animals get placed into foster homes when they are too young or sick and require time to recuperate from their illness while away from the shelter. Foster homes also allow an animal that may need more socialization the opportunity to interact with humans and other animals on a daily basis. Most importantly, because of volunteers, many cats’ and dogs’ lives are saved. The VCDAR volunteer program was developed for the animals.

Volunteer Job Descriptions

Dog Walker/Socializer
Walk dogs around grounds and spend time supervising while playing with and socializing dogs in large fenced in area. Or sit quietly with dog in kennel to encourage bonding and calmness.

Cat Socializer
Spend time socializing cats and kittens in the shelter. Play with cats, brush them and record information about personalities and preferences on each animal and notify staff of any odd behaviors.

Small Animal Socializer
Walk and/or interact with small dogs in shelter or on grounds and supervise while socializing with other animals, large or small. Play with small dogs, brush and/or bathe them and record information about personalities and preferences on each animal and notify staff of any odd behaviors.

Adoption Counselor
Help front desk and kennel staff match cats and dogs to prospective adopters, including assisting with ‘meet and greets’ between dogs and prospective adopters. This includes ‘meet and greets’ between current pets and adoptable pets. Either scheduled or drop-in positions available.

Shelter Driver
Drive animals picked for rescue to the corresponding rescue shelter. Van and gas provided for transportation. Current State of Illinois license required.

Foster Homes
Care for animals in your home. This position involves opening up your home to dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. Some animals have special needs and require special care. (Separate foster care application and waiver are required. Must meet strict guidelines. Significant additional training required. Age 21 or over)

Special Events
Help raise awareness and funds at special events. Put up signs and posters, set-up, take down at events, staff tables, solicit silent auctions items, and other tasks involved in a specific event.

Building/Ground Maintenance
Assist with general building and grounds maintenance, including maintaining plants beds and cleaning up grounds around the shelter in the spring and fall. Volunteers interested in building maintenance should possess fix-it skills.

Flyer Distribution
Help distribute flyers promoting our various events around Vermilion County. On most occasions, you would distribute flyers in the town of your choice.

How to Become Involved at VCDAR!


Fill out an application and schedule a time with the Volunteer Coordinator to do a small orientation, interview and shelter tour.

During orientation volunteers will learn about VCDAR and ways they can help. Bring your schedule to the orientation as you will have the ability to sign up for a time to come to the shelter for an interview and tour of the facility. The interview is our opportunity to match up skills and abilities with appropriate volunteer positions and answer any questions. Tour of the shellter will be after the interview.


Attend an Animal Handling Course (when we have one scheduled)


Show up and make a difference!

Need More Information?

For more information on how to get involved, contact the Volunteer Coordinator via email at volunteer@vercounty.org, send a message on the Vermilion County Animal Facebook page!

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