We would like to thank you for your interest in volunteering here at Santa Ynez Valley Humane Society & D.A.W.G. Without our volunteers, organizations like us could not survive. The volunteers here perform an essential part of the daily operations. We have many areas in which you can help us. Whether it is with our animals, or helping us at our special events, you are integral part of the SYV Humane/DAWG team! As a volunteer, you will play a key role in supporting animals and our community; we simply could not do this work without you!


Ways You Can Help

Public Relations & Community Outreach

Volunteers assist with adoption/fundraising events, cleaning, laundry, yard work and building maintenance. Wanted: Outgoing and friendly people to help with our monthly adoption, fundraising and educational events. Are you looking for a way to spread the word about the wonderful animals available for adoption at SYV Humane & DAWG? We have monthly community/ adoption events where we would love some help in getting the word out about our animals. We would also love some help with our fundraising events, you can help organize, set up and operate and tear down our special event booths. Assist with handling our animals or help with promotion and fundraising!

Special Events

We always welcome volunteers to help out at our fundraising events. Set up, break down, animal handling, and helping us promote and advertise the event to the community are a few of the ways you can volunteer.  

Cat Volunteers – Friends of Felines

We are currently seeking volunteers for cats/kittens to assist with socialization, cleaning, enrichment, and housekeeping. Our cats have a special place in our hearts. Friends of Felines help with getting our cats and kittens socialized, they assist the public in picking out the purrfect cat for them, they keep our cat room nice and tidy and they provide the cats with all of the love and affection they deserve! The FOF provide that special touch of human – feline bonding that each one of our cats needs.


Dog Volunteers – Canine Companions

We are currently seeking volunteers for dogs/puppies to assist with enrichment, socialization, cleaning, training, bathing/grooming and dog walking. Our goal is to touch the lives of every dog who comes through our doors, whether a 6 month old puppy or 13 year old dog. If they are out going and friendly or shy and a little untrusting it doesn’t matter to us. We want the dogs here to know that they are loved and appreciated for what they can provide us. You can help us in doing this, by showing them love, walking, playing in the yard, bathing, brushing them. Our goal is to show these lovable canines that they are loved unconditionally!

Canine Enrichment

Help provide enrichment through mental exercise and stimulation to our dogs. Enrichment and play activities will include throwing a ball, playing games, encouraging positive interactions with people, and setting up and teaching the dogs to use puzzles, snuffle mats, kongs, and pet safe scents. You will be assisting to improve the quality of life of our dogs and improving the chances of eligible dogs finding a life-long home.


Canine Socialization

Help our dogs feel more comfortable in the presence of other dogs, around new people, and in unfamiliar environments and situations. Socialization helps our dogs transition into life outside of the shelter with less stress.  

Bathing and Grooming


Regular bathing helps keep our dog’s coats free of dirt, allergens, and odors. Keeping their skin moisturized and comfortable is an especially important benefit of bath time. Bathing our dogs also helps them get used to regular baths and helps them better adjust to life in their forever home where baths will be more consistent. Some of our dogs with longer coats need regular brushing and shaving of any matts or knots to ensure they are as comfortable and tangle free as possible. 


Dog Walking

This interaction helps our dogs be exercised both mentally and physically. Walks help provide dogs with an outlet for pent-up energy from being in the kennel environments, decrease stress and destructive tendencies, and reduce chances of unnecessary weight gain and many other health risks. 

Canine Training

Training our shelter dogs helps better equip them for life outside of the shelter. The following are just a few of the habits that will benefit our shelter dogs for life: not pulling on a leash when on a walk, obedience when listening to commands such as sit, down, and off, and calm behavior both inside and outside their kennels. 

Behind the Scenes

We always need help with dishes, laundry, raking leaves, cleaning outside runs, clearing drains of any leaves or remnants, picking up poop in yards, spaying yards, making kongs, cleaning crates, wiping down bins, sweeping hallways, kennels, and the laundry room.

Surgery Support

It is recommended by veterinarians that dogs and cats are closely observed for the first 12 hours after surgical procedures and most dogs and cats take up to 2 weeks to fully recover from even routine surgeries. Help our shelter animals in recovery by spending time with them, ensuring they are extra comfortable, and making sure they do not lick at or scratch at their surgical sites.


Volunteer Requirements

  • Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age, or accompanied by an parent or guardian. Volunteers 16-18 years of age, must have an parent or guardian sign off to volunteer.
  • Volunteers must read & comprehend detailed policy and protocol information and follow shelter rules.
  • Volunteers cannot volunteer without first completing a Volunteer Orientation scheduled with our Volunteer Coordinator
  • Most volunteer roles require to stand and/or walk for up to three hours; lift and carry up to 20 pounds; reach and lift; possess vision abilities including close vision, distance vision and depth perception; and speak to customers, employees and other volunteers appropriately and respectfully.
  • No commitment necessary

Onboarding Process

  • Fill out an application above
  • A staff member will contact you to schedule a volunteer orientation
  • Attend orientation & training
  • Begin volunteering
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