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Volunteers with Special Needs

At the Front Street Animal Shelter, we welcome volunteers of all abilities. However, not every volunteer activity is going to be the right fit for every volunteer. Most volunteer activities require a full range of seeing, hearing, bending, stooping, and the ability to lift 25 pounds.

Adults Volunteering with Assistance

Individuals who do not meet the criteria for independent volunteering must always volunteer in the company of another adult capable of assisting them, such as a family member, friend, or professional support staff. The Front Street Animal Shelter is not able to provide assistants or mentors on an ongoing basis.

Expectations for Assistants

In addition to helping someone have a fun and fulfilling time as a volunteer, assistants are there as backup just in case anything goes wrong. For this reason we hold assistants to the same high standards as we do regular volunteers when it comes to training. Assistants should pay attention during classes and be able to demonstrate the same core concepts that we expect of all other volunteers.

Assistants are expected to:

Your first step to volunteering as an assistant is to create a volunteer profile and sign up for a New Volunteer Orientation.

Requirements for Independent Volunteering

  • Generally speaking, adults who require regular assistance with physical or cognitive tasks in their daily lives will not be able to volunteer with us without an assistant.

  • Classes: Individuals must attend and pass all required classes.

  • Safety: Individuals must be able to remember and follow all instructions and safety rules. Must be capable of recognizing and reacting appropriately to potentially unsafe situations.

  • Communication: Individuals must be able to clearly communicate questions or problems via speech or handwriting.

  • Reading and Writing: Individuals must be able to read.

  • Physical Activity: Individuals must have stable footing and good hand-eye coordination. Individuals must be able to see and hear as the shelter is a chaotic environment and volunteer safety is paramount. Individuals must be able to navigate safely through busy kennels and on uneven ground.

  • Special requirements for dog handling: Because working with shelter dogs involves many physical, visual, audio, and vocal cues, volunteers with physical, sight, or hearing impairment may not be able to become full Dog Handlers. However, we are happy to work with each volunteer independently to create a plan to enable participation in certain activities while maintaining safety for volunteers, staff, and our shelter animals.

The Front Street Animal Shelter reserves the right to make reasonable additions or exceptions to a volunteer's requirements depending on each individual's circumstances.

For more information, please contact