The Humane Society of Harford County and the animals we shelter are extremely grateful for the tremendous community support  we receive. Our volunteers are indispensable. They are dedicated people of all ages, from all walks of life, who thoughtfully donate thousands of hours of their own personal time to help the animals and the people of Harford County.

short-term VOLUNTEERS

Short-term volunteers are Girl Scout & Boy Scout troops, students/individuals who need to earn a few community service hours for school, church, or a club, or simply those folks who wish to help the animals but cannot commit to being a long-term volunteer.  The Youth & Group “Pet Projects” booklet is full of great ways to help the animals.  If you are in need of community service hours, you are responsible for tracking your own hours and delivering your completed project to the Humane Society.  If you have paperwork that must be signed, the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator will be happy to do so.

If your civic group or scouting troop would like to help the Humane Society of Harford County by doing a service project, please click here to send a message to our volunteer coordinator or call 410-836-1090, x104.  Because further training is required to work directly with our animals, short-term volunteers do not interact with our shelter animals.

If you have been ordered to complete court-ordered community service, please contact Erika at 410-836-1090, x103.

If you are interested in organizing a Humane Education Day at the shelter, please visit our Educational Resources page.


Many of our volunteers are under 12 or simply choose to make a difference for the animals by helping us in ways that don’t require being at the shelter. To guide our younger volunteers and those who prefer not to volunteer on-site we’ve devised a special manual. Our Youth & Group Pet Projects booklet is divided into three sections. Each section gives examples of ways to help with each of our four objectives: shelter, care, adoptions, and education.

long-term VOLUNTEERS

Long-term volunteers are those folks that can commit to a minimum of 5 hours per month and be with us for 6 months or more. To become a long-term volunteer, please click here to complete the form.

Q: Are there any age restrictions to volunteer?

A: As one of the few animal welfare organizations that continues to welcome children as volunteers, we greatly recognize their talents, gifts and enthusiasm.  However, as an animal shelter, we must also weigh the potential risks inherent when handling different species of animals.  As such, the minimum age for young volunteers is 12 years old.  For safety and insurance liability reasons, if you are under 18 years of age, you must be accompanied to all volunteer activities by a parent or legal guardian and you will not be permitted to walk shelter dogs. We ask that no more than three children be accompanied by one adult.

Q: What is your schedule of upcoming New Volunteer Orientation Meetings?

A: Following application approval, the Volunteer Coordinator will send the applicant a link to sign up for a Volunteer Orientation. In the event that the volunteer applicant does not have access to the internet, the Volunteer Coordinator will call the applicant to schedule an orientation session.

Q: It is snowing and I am wondering if volunteer activities – either at the shelter or at an off-site event – are still going on.

A: In the case of inclement weather, HSHC follows the Harford County school system. If Harford County schools are closed, all volunteer activities are cancelled.

Q: How much time do I need to commit to volunteering?

A: We ask that you commit to a minimum of five (5) hours per month for at least six (6) months. Many sources of grants and funding are contingent upon volunteer hours so please sign in every time you perform your volunteer work. Also, remember to sign-out after you complete your work.

Q: What should I wear when I come to volunteer?

A: Volunteers need to wear an official red volunteer t-shirt, which can be purchased from the shelter for $12. In the event that shirts are unavailable for purchase, volunteers may wear a red t-shirt. We strongly recommend a non-skid, closed toe and heel shoe, and jeans or casual pants. A volunteer I.D. badge will be provided and must be worn at all times.

Q: What kinds of work can volunteers do at the shelter?

A: We have a variety of programs and services to suit all types of volunteers! Options with an asterisk (*) are only available to long-term volunteers.

  • * Adoptions: Help our Adoptions Team by doing activities such as answering phones, greeting clients, taking lost reports, writing pet biographies, and providing adoption counseling.
  • * Adoption Events: Bring adoptable animals from the shelter to special adoption events to help them find placement in the community.
  • * Animal Care: Assist our Animal Care Team in daily animal care activities such as cleaning and feeding.
  • Administrative Assistant: Help our Administration Team with daily office duties such as data entry, phone calls, and other special projects.
  • * Bathing & Grooming: Help our furry friends look their best for potential adopters by giving baths or grooming. Professional Groomers may groom animals without being a long term volunteer.
  • * Cat Caretaker at Pet Valu in Aberdeen: Help take care of cats and/or transport to our satellite location in Aberdeen (cleaning, feeding, cuddling & enrichment).
  • * Cat Enrichment Team: Join a team of volunteers that meets monthly to plan enrichment activities and discuss the individual needs of each cat.
  • * Cat Socialization: Visit cats and kittens in the shelter and help them feel more comfortable by petting, playing, cuddling, and providing other forms of enrichment.
  • Daily Chores: Help our shelter staff with daily tasks such as cleaning, mopping, laundry, and organizing donations.
  • * Dog Enrichment Team: Join a team of volunteers that meets monthly to plan enrichment activities and discuss the individual needs of each dog.
  • * Dog Walking: Help make a shelter dog’s day better by taking them for a walk or spending some quality time playing or relaxing with them in an enrichment area or yard.
  • * Exotic Animal Care: Provide care and enrichment for exotic animals such as rabbits, mice, rats, ferrets, snakes, turtles, guinea pigs, and more!
  • * Feral Cat Program: Assist Best Friends in Harford County by safely returning feral cats to their community by fostering, transporting, trapping, and educating community members.
  • Fundraising: Aid our Administrative Staff with fundraising efforts, which will help HSHC care for the animals in our care.
  • Grounds & Maintenance Team: Assist with special projects, day-to-day grounds and maintenance related activities, and beautification projects in and outside of the shelter.
  • Humane Education: Provide outreach and education in the community or shelter for various schools, youth groups, or special events.
  • * Matchmaker: Help our Adoptions Team successfully match adoptable animals and prospective adopters.
  • Photography: Help HSHC animals find placement taking photos for our website, social media appeals, and rescue & foster pleas and/or take photos of HSHC events.
  • * Social Media: Help us highlight our adoptable animals by making posts on various social media platforms.
  • Special Events: Assist with planning, preparation, and execution of special fundraising events in the community.
  • * Transport: Help transport pets to satellite adoption locations, veterinary hospitals, and local rescue groups.
  • * Veterinary Services: Help our Veterinary Team provide care for the animals residing at HSHC.

Click here to complete the online Volunteer Application.