Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

Rancho Coastal Humane Society is always looking for volunteers. Below are a few examples of what you can do to help us make a difference in the community. If you have any skills you think we can use that are not listed here, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

To apply as a volunteer, use our online application form or call our Volunteer Coordinator at 760-753-6413. Or, you can email the volunteer coordinator via the contact us page.

Fosters needed for kitten season

Animal Companionship

Do you love being around animals? Is your heart broken when you see an animal alone in a kennel? Do you wish you could do something about it? You can!

Animal Companion volunteers increase our animals’ chances for adoption by providing needed support and companionship through socializing, training and grooming the animals (dogs, cats, and rabbits). Volunteers also help the staff maintain a clean environment for our animals. No specific skills are required, but prior experience with animals is helpful.

Volunteers are needed as Canine Companions, Cat Companions, and/or Bunny Buddies.

Canine Companions help dogs stay physically and mentally healthy by providing basic training and quality companionship. Canine Companion volunteers help to get dogs adopted by keeping them well-groomed, ensure they get plenty of exercise as well as quiet time, and are properly socialized. Canine Companions must be able to lift at least 50 pounds, walk unaided on uneven and unpaved ground, have quick reflexes, and be able to quickly maneuver in tight spaces.

Cat Companions provide vital socialization to the cats at RCHS, and ensure the frisky critters get plenty of exercise while awaiting adoption. Cat Companion volunteers also help keep the cats looking and feeling beautiful by providing light grooming and cleaning. Cat Companions must be able to bend and squat, use both hands at once, have quick reflexes, and be able to get all cats in and out of kennels unaided.

Bunny Buddies are a rabbit’s best friend at RCHS. By taking rabbits out for exercise, playtime, and companionship, Bunny Buddy volunteers make sure that the rabbits stay in top-notch condition during their stay with us. Bunny Buddies also help with simple training and grooming. Bunny Buddies must be able to bend and squat, use both hands at once, have quick reflexes, and be able to get all rabbits in and out of kennels unaided.

All Animal Companion volunteers must commit to at least six hours a month for at least six months. To get started you must first complete the following steps:

  1. Complete a volunteer application.
  2. Attend a one-on-one volunteer orientation. The Volunteer Coordinator will contact you about scheduling the orientation after your application is received.
  3. Attend a volunteer training class. All new RCHS volunteers must complete the training class prior to beginning work, regardless of previous experience working with animals in a professional or volunteer capacity.
  4. Complete at least one on-the-job training shift with a volunteer mentor.

Animal Foster Care Program

Volunteers provide temporary foster care in their homes. The animals needing fostering are newborn or very young animals (usually kittens), animals in our adoption program who would benefit from a home environment, or pets of victims of domestic violence in our Animal Safehouse Program. All foster volunteers must attend a volunteer orientation, interview with RCHS staff, receive appropriate training and agree to a home check. A foster parent will be responsible for the pet for a week to several months. Help Victims of Domestic Violence Escape Abuse…Foster an Animal.

Victims of domestic violence and their children will often stay with a batterer because they fear their pet will be neglected, injured or killed if left behind. Concern for a beloved companion animal’s welfare prevents or delays more than 50% of battered individuals from escaping domestic abuse, continuing to endanger themselves, their children and their pets. You can help victims break free of violence by fostering their beloved pet through our Animal Safehouse Program.

Foster families for pets of victims of domestic violence and owners will never meet and all information about either party is kept strictly confidential. If you are interested in becoming a Foster Volunteer for our Animal Safehouse Program, please click here for more information, and if you think it’s something for you, download our Foster Volunteer Application.

Required skills: Knowledge of animal care and experience with animals is preferred. Foster volunteers must possess patience and compassion and must care for our animals in a responsible manner.

Fosters needed for kitten season

Every spring, Rancho Coastal Humane Society is deluged with motherless newborn kittens. While they are irresistibly cute, they require intensive care for the first eight weeks of their lives until they become available for adoption. That’s where foster volunteers come in!

A kitten foster volunteer must make the commitment to care for the kittens in their home for up to eight weeks. Newborns need to be bottle-fed every few hours around the clock (yes, that means getting up in the middle of the night!), kept warm and observed for any signs of illness. Older kittens need to be weaned off the bottle, taught to eat from a dish, litter box trained, and socialized. RCHS provides volunteers with food, litter, supplies and training; volunteers commit their time, dedication, hard work and love!

If you are interested in fostering kittens, please complete the foster volunteer application.

Pet Assisted Therapy Program

You already know of the potential healing power of your four-legged companion. Why not share the joy they bring to you to those who need it most?

Interested volunteers must be the caregiver of a well-behaved and friendly dog, cat or rabbit for which to use for the program. All pets must pass an initial evaluation provided by our trainers. All canines must also successfully complete a six-week training course that will prepare you and your dog with the skills necessary for your important job ahead.

To get started submit a completed a Pet Therapy Volunteer application.


Special Events

RCHS is funded solely by private donations and fundraising activities. In order to provide the best possible care to the animals, we participate in numerous fundraising and community events every month. Volunteers make this possible. We are always in need of volunteers who understand that providing quality care for animals goes beyond the one-on-one interactions. It includes helping to raise money to go towards improving their kennels, ensuring proper medical care, and making sure our community is educated about responsible pet ownership. Event volunteers assist in these efforts by selling tickets, distributing flyers, staffing special events, and helping to organize events.

If you are interested in this opportunity, you should enjoy working and networking with people. Creativity and/or fundraising experience are a plus. Special Event volunteers are required to assist with at least one event every other month. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator to get started!

Thrift Shop

The RCHS Thrift Shop accepts new and used items in good condition from the community. All funds support our shelter and the animals in our care. Volunteers interested in retail, customer service or display will truly make a difference helping in our Thrift Shop.

We are always looking for volunteers who can help us with donation take-in, cleaning, organizing, marking, pricing, and selling. We only require 2  hours of service per month and we are open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  No specific skills are required, but customer service skills and an ability to deal with the public are helpful. Also, if you’re familiar with some kind of collector’s items, you can help us with identifying and appraising donated items.

Volunteers must be 18 years of age, unless volunteering with a parent.  We cannot accommodate those wishing to fulfill “Community Service Hours” at this time.

If you are interested in volunteering at our Thrift Shop, please fill out this Application.

Volunteer Opportunities for Kids

RCHS is proud to offer an avenue for kids to explore their innate desire to help animals — and, a place where children can delve into the world of companion pets while learning the value of kindness and respect to all species. Students must be in 6th grade to participate in our Kids Community Service(KCS) Program. Check out our Humane Education page for details about our KCS Program and other opportunities for all aged children.