Did you know that the Wake County Animal Center takes in over 10,000 animals per year? In addition to our adoption, foster and rescue/transfer programs, it’s our volunteers who have been a key factor in our success!
More than 250 people have already signed up to be a volunteer at our center. They are on-site almost every day of the year, including most holidays, to ensure the animals have all their needs met – physical, mental, social and more!
During the pandemic shutdown, Meagan Thomas joined our team as a new Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. Meagan has a decade of experience in the dog training/behavior field and fifteen years in the animal welfare world, working for organizations all over the country – including the largest animal sanctuary in America, located in Southern Utah.
“Volunteerism is an integral part of the Wake County Animal Center and enables us to make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of homeless pets each year,” said Meagan. “Our program had been around since 2008. During the 2020 pandemic, we looked at our Volunteer Program – its onboarding process and its activities – and found it needed a bit of an overhaul.”
For the last year Meagan has worked on revamping and overhauling almost all aspects of the Volunteer Program, from onboarding to training to activities. Now that the overhaul is complete, new volunteers can expect a much more streamlined onboarding process, with most of the process taking place in the comfort of their own homes.
How to Become a Volunteer
The first step is to apply to the program via the Wake County Animal Center’s website – please also read our Essential Capabilities and FAQ. Once your application has been processed by the Volunteer Coordinator, you’ll receive a Welcome Packet email with details on how to complete your virtual orientation eLearning Modules, which include videos, pictures and info sheets on activities, rules and requirements and more. Once you’ve reviewed the eLearning Modules and taken accompanying quizzes, you’ll be able to sign up for an in-person Open House and Tour. This is also where you’ll finalize your onboarding into the Volunteer Program and talk next steps for the activities you’re interested in. That’s it, and you’re our newest participant in the Volunteer Program!
In addition to streamlining the onboarding process, our activities were also put under a microscope. Thanks to feedback from our current volunteers, we’ve expanded our roles/assignments to include the following:
- Animal Care Assignments – Includes cuddling cats and dogs, walking dogs and providing enrichment like food puzzles and treat-dispensing toys
- Adoption Assistance Roles – Includes matchmaking (adoption counseling), picture taking, biography writing, personality testing and training
- Shelter Support Assignments – If you can’t volunteer directly with the animals, we also have volunteers who assist with overall shelter support, like administrative duties, greeting of center visitors, assisting with rabies/microchip clinics or attending community events.
Lastly, to prevent new volunteers from feeling overwhelmed, we have overhauled our fabulous Mentor Program. We do our best to match new volunteers with mentors who can help them navigate the Animal Center, remember all the rules and requirements, and be there for general questions and support.
Interested? Check out our website for more information. We're always looking for responsible and enthusiastic animal-lovers to join our group of dedicated and compassionate volunteers.