Volunteer Calendar & Updates


Volunteers Stay Connected

Check our website regularly to stay updated on everything HHHS. If you’re active on Facebook, be sure to like our “Volunteers of Helping Hands Humane Society” Facebook page and request to join the “HHHS Team” group to view volunteer related activities and needs and to stay on top of any important shelter changes such as closings due to extreme weather.

If you have attended a Volunteer Orientation and need to meet with a mentor, please contact Emi, the Volunteer Coordinator, at emig@hhhstopeka.org to register for one of the following designated mentoring times:
Click here to view the HHHS Events Calendar.
General Volunteer Hours
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Monday and Thursday-Saturday 11:30am – 6pm
Tuesday and Wednesday 11:30am – 6pm (11:30am-8pm during daylight savings time)

Wanted: Foster Parents

We are looking for good people willing to open both their homes and their hearts to help some of the animals in need of extra TLC before being placed for adoption. Some of these animals may simply need a quiet place to recuperate from an injury or illness, some may be mothers nursing their litters and some may just need extra socialization. Pets considered for foster care also include adoptable pets waiting for a permanent home. Above all, they all need a lot of love and support from anyone willing to give it to them!

A few simple steps are all that it takes to become a foster parent! All foster parents must be licensed by the Kansas State Department of Animal Health for a fee of $10.00. HHHS will provide all food and supplies necessary, such as crates, bowls, etc. If the animal requires medical attention we will make arrangements with you to make sure the animal’s needs are met.

If you would like to sign up for any of these activities,or are interested in becoming a foster parent please contact Margaret Price, at 785.233.7325, or by email at margaretp@hhhstopeka.org.

Not sure what to do? Check out these daily tasks that will help HHHS. If you haven’t taken Animal Handling Class, this list is perfect for you!
(The Volunteer Coordinator is available to train volunteers Tuesday-Saturday)

The things we need done are not always the most fun, but we appreciate you alternating animal interactions with other important tasks!

1. Spot clean dog (A) kennels and cat (Cat Parlor) condos. Always close dogs on the opposite side of their kennels before opening the door to clean (feel free to use poop bags, pooper scoopers, and the mop bucket for floor messes and the spray bottles of water and vinegar with newspaper found in the volunteer room for glass). Remember to reopen the separator when you’re done! Regarding the large kennels that don’t have separators (A-1 and A-32), if you have a partner to help you and you feel comfortable doing so, you may enter the kennel to clean it (one person distracts the dog(s) while the other cleans). You do not need to remove cats from condos while cleaning; please do not clean or socialize in any of the metal banks (back of Cat Parlor, not built into the wall). Watch for “no volunteers at this time” signs in kennel card sleeves—avoid cleaning/socializing in these kennels as well.

2. Take dirty laundry to the laundry room (check dirty laundry baskets in grooming room and Cat Parlor; check outdoor exercise/play yards, dirty toy bucket next to the utility closet, and socialization rooms for dirty toys).

3. Restock grooming room with towels and Cat Parlor with fuzzy yellow cat mats from the storage room when needed. Restock large socialization room cabinets with clean towels and rags from the storage room when needed. Restock socialization rooms, A toy bins, and Cat Parlor with clean toys. Please do not distribute bedding into kennels; fill out a volunteer concern form if you see a dog you believe requires extra bedding (e.g. small dogs, puppies, senior dogs, etc.).

4. Pick up outdoor exercise yards (leaves, trash, etc.). In nice weather, dump and refill plastic dog pools and water dishes throughout the day as the water gets dirty. Dump the poop bucket out in the dumpster. Please pick up any poop left in the play yards. All dirty toys need to be taken to the laundry room. Make sure all gates are closed to protect them from wind damage. See Emi about refilling empty waste bag stations.

5. Clean up non-fenced outdoor areas (parking lot, island between HHHS and Kwik Shop, areas with rocks and plants, triangular flower bed, etc.). Pull weeds, pick up leaves and trash, put rocks back where they belong, etc. Let Emi know if you’re interested in becoming part of our grounds keeping crew.
6. Brush shedding cats using RUBBER BRUSHES only until you have been trained on other brushes in Animal Handling Class, our advanced classes, or in grooming training (brush cats in easily accessible rooms only—please don’t move cats to different rooms until you have taken Animal Handling Class). You may not brush dogs until you’ve taken Animal Handling Class. Clean rubber brushes can be found in the grooming room (bins labeled “CLEAN”). Be sure to vacuum or sweep up all hair once you’re done. Return dirty brushes to the grooming room (place in sink—do NOT put back in “CLEAN” container unless you sanitize).

7. Clean dirty brushes in the grooming room. Wearing gloves, remove all hair from brushes (Insider’s tip: Use the awesome vacuum cleaner located on the wall of the grooming room! Works like a charm!), then disinfect. You can do this individually by using the grooming room cleaner spray bottle (bleach and water mixture) or by soaking all brushes in the sink (fill sink and dissolve one bleach tablet—found in laundry room on top of the left washer) for 30 minutes then rinsing. Lay out a towel (located in a tub in the grooming room) and place wet brushes on it to dry, and then put rubber brushes back in the “CLEAN” bins (leave other brushes for grooming volunteers to sort).

8. Clean sprayer system residue (light yellow film) from the walls in A using warm water, dish soap, and rags. See Emi for supplies.
9. Distribute toys to dogs and cats. Large dogs may have rope toys, filled KONGs (located in the training room freezer or volunteer room freezer—please always leave at least one tray of frozen KONGs), or other chew-resistant toys. Small dogs may have stuffed toys (make sure the toys have no beans, electronic pieces, or small, hard pieces the dogs could swallow). Labeled toy bins are located on the sink in A. If there are empty toilet paper tubes in Cat Parlor or the volunteer room, distribute these to Cat Parlor cats by squeezing one between the bars of each condo. Dogs and cats should each have one toy, but not more than that; please do not distribute additional toys.

10. Fill KONGs for dogs. Supplies are kept in the volunteer room. See Emi for instructions.

11. Perform “Good Quiet” in A. This involves walking along the front of the dog kennels and rewarding good behavior. If a dog is sitting quietly, say “Good Quiet,” and drop in a treat. If they are barking and/or jumping, wait until they are calm, then reward them

12. Report dogs, cats, and pocket pets who have minor grooming, behavior, or health needs by completing volunteer concern forms (located in drawer labeled “volunteer passports” at reception desk, in Cat Parlor drawer, large socialization room drawers, A drawer, and in Emi’s mailbox—if any of these areas are missing forms, get some from Emi and distribute) and clipping them to Emi’s mailbox (located on the wall directly outside of her office). Report all animal emergencies immediately.

13. Clean and organize volunteer areas (sweep and mop volunteer room, organize treats/toys/etc. in volunteer room, organize volunteer passport drawer at reception desk, etc.).
14. Take pictures or video of the pets and HHHS activities and send them to Emi for the website or social media (again, please don’t take dogs out of kennels or move cats to different rooms until you have taken Animal Handling Class). You may also post these videos on the Helping Hands Humane Society or Volunteers of Helping Hands Humane Society Facebook pages (make sure posts are public so Emi can share them).
15. Fold brochures or cut kennel signs (printed brochures and kennel signs are often found at the reception desk next to the volunteer computer). If there are no printed brochures, find Emi to ask if more brochures/kennel signs are needed.
16. Help to prepare for (setting up chairs and tables, setting out manuals and pens, etc. begins in the early afternoon) and/or lead (help present or give tours) a Volunteer Orientation (1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 6:30pm).
17. Introduce yourself to staff members and ask if you can help them with anything.

18. Cut up hot dogs, cheese, and treats for dog training treats (usually found in the volunteer room fridge) and place them in Ziploc bags in the fridge. Break large dog treats (jerky, bacon strips, large milk bones) into small pieces and place them in Ziploc bags on the treat shelf.

19. Write heartfelt Thank You Cards for adopters. Supplies should be found in a drawer in the volunteer room. We can never express enough how appreciative we are when people choose to adopt and save a life.

20. Water the cats in Cat Parlor. Their small water dishes often get accidentally dumped or a blanket will get in the dish and soak up all the water. We have pitchers in Cat Parlor for this very purpose. Please remove any soaked/soiled blankets, put them in the dirty laundry basket, and replace them with a clean, dry blanket from the upper right cabinet.

21. If it’s Friday and you see cat grass at the reception desk, distribute in the Cat Colonies and throughout Cat Parlor. Please remove grass from rooms/kennels that is completely wilted. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE PLASTIC CONTAINERS, however. Leave empty containers at the reception desk. Typically, each colony gets three large cat grasses, and the remaining small grasses go to rooms in Cat Parlor that did not have grass the previous week.

22. Clean windows. Smudges make animals less presentable to potential adopters. Using spray bottles of vinegar/water mix (spray bottles can be found in the volunteer room and vinegar/water mixture is kept in a large pump container in the utility closet next to the outdoor play yard) and newspaper, clean the outer and inner sides of the glass (whatever is dirty). Always close dogs on the backside of their kennels before opening the front door to clean the inner side of the glass. Remember to open the separator when you’re done! You do not need to remove cats from condos while cleaning the inner side of the glass. You may also clean the inside or outside of Cat Colony glass, the outside of Octagon glass, and any other glass doors or windows that appear to be dirty in the adoption areas.

23. Check each sink/drawer area and replace supplies if necessary (paper towels, soap, volunteer concern forms, pens, gloves, towels, rags, etc.). Clean any dirty dishes, straighten up the drawers, under the sink, and the cabinets. Please only return bottles labeled “VINEGAR Please Return to Volunteer Coordinator” to the volunteer room; other cleaning products should be left where they are found.

24. Clean and disinfect public areas (white benches—check tops and legs for pee, pen marks, etc., door handles, public countertops, lobby chairs, brochure holder, clipboards, drawer handles, etc.). You may use any bottles labeled “disinfectant” found under sink areas for this, just always return bottles to their designated areas.

25. Read to shy animals (cats in Cat Parlor or the Cat Colonies or calm/small dogs in kennels in A).

26. Take notes about animals for adoption summaries. Get a notepad and pen or pencil from the volunteer room (check drawers), then find an animal who doesn’t have a printed summary on their Pet Portfolio/Kennel Card. Glean as much information as possible, and take detailed notes (you can gather information from notes on the passport, the Owner Surrender sheet if one is stapled to the back of the Kennel Card, the age and breed of the animal, observing the animal’s behavior, etc.). Write the animal’s name, ID number (found on their Kennel Card), and kennel number on your notes before giving them to an Adoption Counselor who will type the summary. Follow the socialization rules listed in number 30 during this exercise.

27. Sweep and mop any public areas that need it (socialization rooms, front lobby, Pocket Pets room, laundry room, hallways, etc.). Brooms and mops can be found in the utility closets. Remember to keep the A mop and bucket in A only and the Cat Parlor mop and bucket in Cat Parlor only. Use supplies from the nearest utility closet for public areas.

28. Go through dog and cat toys kept in the storage room and throw away any that are falling apart (if any pieces are coming off or they are severely chewed up, they could be a danger to our animals’ health). Also carefully go through any stuffed animals/toys in storage. Stuffed animals containing beans can only be given to cats. Hard pieces like buttons, eyes, electronic pieces, etc. should be removed. If they cannot be removed without ruining the toy, please throw the toy away or, if in good condition, bring it to Emi’s office to be donated elsewhere.

29. Assign pet passports. See Emi for instructions for dog passports in A. In the Cat Colonies, as long as the kennel cards and kennel card sleeves don’t have any signs indicating no volunteers, staple red passports to the backs of kennel cards and write each cat’s name on their passport. The same rule goes for Cat Parlor condos (kennels built into the walls). Do not give passports to cats in the metal banks (extra kennels not built into walls) at the back of Cat Parlor. Stapler, passports, and pens can be found at the reception desk (passports in drawer labeled “volunteer passports”).

30. Socialize with cats and dogs. You may go into Cat Parlor, the Cat Colonies, and A-1 and A-32 (please do not sit on the Kuranda beds) to socialize if you feel comfortable. Please don’t socialize with any animals who are in the adoption process (they will have an “ADOPTED” tag stapled to the front of their kennel cards and their names will be written on the Adoption Process white board in the Adoption Counselor area) or dogs who do not have passports. See Emi about non-passport dogs to see if a passport may be issued. Please also watch for kennel signs saying “no volunteers at this time” in the Cat Parlor. In Cat Parlor, you may allow one cat at a time out of their condo to roam the room as long as nobody else has a cat out. Make sure the door to the room is securely closed and monitor the cat the whole time they are out. Never push an animal to socialize if they do not willingly come up to you. Please refrain from socializing with pocket pets until you have taken Animal Handling Class.

31. Assist Emi or other volunteers with group tours and volunteer activities. Check the HHHS Team Facebook group or ask Emi about upcoming opportunities.

32. Make toys. See Emi for supplies to braid rope toys for the dogs. If there are empty toilet paper tubes in the volunteer room, use scissors to cut these into rings, create treat-distributing toys (Google it!), or develop some other cat enrichment item. Please do not put more than five treats in each cat treat-distributing toy.

33. Make business cards for the animals. This works best for the dogs in A, the cats in the Cat Colonies, and animals in the Octagon. Take construction paper found in the volunteer room. Cut it into small rectangles. Write a dog’s basic information (name, animal ID, sex, age, and any other important or interesting facts) on the cards and decorate them however you’d like. Put these in the plastic kennel card sleeve for potential adopters to take with them.

34. Help deep clean empty dog kennels after a dog is adopted. When a kennel is empty immediately following an adoption (you can ask Adoption Counselors if there are any empty kennels in A), get a rag and bucket of soapy water from the volunteer or storage room. Wipe down the kennel walls, on top of the metal doors/walls, under the bottoms of the gates/walls, and anywhere else you see grime. The kennels are sprayed down and sanitized each day, but don’t get hand-scrubbed as often.

35. Assist with laundry. You can be trained to do laundry at any time (contact Emi). If you are not yet trained, but someone who is trained in working in the laundry room, you can offer to assist them (folding, stocking, sorting, etc.).

36. Collect volunteer supplies and return them to the volunteer room. All bottles labeled “VINEGAR Please Return to Volunteer Coordinator” should be kept in the volunteer room as well as hands-free volunteer treat pouches, clean KONGs, donated toilet paper rolls, etc. Poop bags, newspaper, plastic bags, etc. may be distributed throughout the building for volunteer use, but should be kept organized and tidy.

37. Clean dirty KONGs. You will need instruction the first time you do this; see Emi or a laundry-training volunteer for instructions.

38. Make pocket pet houses. Empty shoe boxes and cardboard boxes found in the volunteer room can be turned into houses/tunnels/etc. for small animals. Cut doorways and openings, decorate, and get creative!

39. Keep cat heads updated. Basic info is posted on Cat Parlor condos on cat head-shaped colorful pieces of paper. Compare cat heads to the cat’s profile to make sure it is up-to-date. Make a list of those that don’t match up as well as those who need a cat head and give to Emi or the Adoption Counselors.

40. Keep kennel paperwork organized. Walk through adoption areas and make sure kennel paperwork looks nice (not torn, crumpled, wet, etc.). Clean out any plastic sleeves that look dirty (treat crumbs, left-behind signs, multiple pens, etc.). Make a list of any that should be reprinted/updated and give to Emi or the Adoption Counselors.

Thank you, volunteers, for all you do!