Due to public health concerns, our volunteer program has been temporarily paused. We are accepting applications for those persons that wish to be notified when the program resumes.

Volunteer Application Form

Volunteering with PHS

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with PHS. Volunteers enable us to save even more lives through keeping our animals healthy and happy. The time volunteers spend with our animals is critical to helping them find their forever homes. Below are a list of volunteer opportunities and for more information on how to apply click on the appropriate link below.

Volunteer Teams

Exercise Team:

Portsmouth Humane Society is looking for a group of volunteers to be a part of the exercise team!  The staff walks the dogs at least twice per day, if volunteers could take over this task for the staff would be able to better focus on tasks that improve the well being of all the animals in our care. Cats need to be exercised as well, of course they do have to remain in the building. Extra exercise for the animals increases adoptions by reducing the stress and anxiety of the animals in our care.

Behavior Modification Team: 

Behavior modification (B-mod) is a program which utilizes both staff and volunteers to provide extra attention and training to dogs that need help adjusting during their stay at the shelter. This includes helping to socialize fearful dogs and providing focus for anxious dogs. Dogs included in the B-mod program will have individual plans that must be followed consistently. Communication is the key to measuring a dogs progress with behavior modification, a log will be provided for each dog on a B-mod plan. The additional training and socialization helps immensely with their chances of being adopted quickly.

House Keeping Team:

Housekeeping is one of the most important jobs at Portsmouth Humane Society! There are daily cleaning requirements that need to be consistently worked on in order to keep up with the constant need for clean and comfortable items. We produce piles of laundry while cleaning cages and mountains of dishes because we disinfect all dishes between meals and clean litter boxes daily. Cleaning is needed in both the stray and adopt side of the building.


In order to maintain the health and well being of all PHS animals regular grooming practices are required. We are looking for volunteers who can help us with this large endeavor. Some of the grooming tasks will require more than one volunteer at a time.

Shelter Upkeep Team:

All facilities need regular maintenance to remain in working order and PHS is no different! We need volunteers that have talents with plumbing, landscaping, painting, and/or general construction and that can be handy with tools to fix various items around the shelter as needs arise. The time requirements for shelter upkeep vary depending on the task at hand. Guidance, but no formal training will be provided.

Events & Fundraising Team: 

Volunteers are an invaluable asset to us during events and fundraising times. We need volunteers who can attend and help prepare annual fundraisers with us by walking around speaking to people and that can help us get donations for the shelter. Volunteers will help with transporting materials to the event locations, transporting animals, and staying during the events either at the table,  or with a cat or a dog. Both events and fundraising events are continuously being scheduled with PHS, and if you would like to help, we can find you some work!

Community Outreach Team:

All animal rescues and non-profit organizations need help with community outreach. Outreach helps spread the word to people of the community about various programs that organizations offer and what the organization does to help the community. We need help with spreading the word that we are here in Portsmouth and that we have programs such as the food pantry and access to discounted vaccines and spay and neuter surgeries etc. This group will have varying hours depending on events/projects going on.

Enrichment Team:  

To keep PHS pets happy and healthy during their stay at the shelter we have to provide enrichment and/or ways to keep their minds active. We are looking for volunteers to find creative ways to do this on a daily basis. Pet photography is also a part of enrichment, the animals need to be photographed in order for potential adopters to see them online. Professional photography skills are not required for this task. The photos are the property of PHS.

Adoption Counseling Team:

Introducing animals to potential adopters is one of the most important steps in finding forever homes for PHS pets. We are looking for a group of volunteers to assist staff in conducting successful interactions with the animals and members of the public. These individuals will greet public as they enter, and match interested parties with animals that fit their needs and wants.

Data Input & Office Organization Team:

Are you good with people and love animals but don’t want to work directly with them? We need volunteers that are proficient in data entry and have organization skills that can be utilized for office work/front desk duties. PHS gets an overwhelming amount of inquires every day over the phone and in person and we need volunteers to help by answering basic questions and providing applicable guidance. Basic data entry, filing, and organizational tasks are also needed.

Offsite Adoption Center: 

The offsite adoption volunteers encompass what ALL the volunteers do at a smaller scale and do so with less direction. At an offsite adoption center such as PetSmart the volunteers work out a schedule with multiple shifts, clean cages, do adoption paperwork, and talk to the public. Currently we have one adoption center and it is at the Hilltop PetSmart in Virginia Beach.


For more information, select the volunteer program that best fits your needs from the list below:
Adult/Junior Volunteers & School Community service

Special Group Volunteers

For questions about volunteering at the shelter please contact info@portsmouthhumanesociety.org