Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions


What are the minimum requirements for being a PAWS volunteer?
Please refer to our Volunteer page for more information.

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How do I become a PAWS volunteer?
You must be 18 years of age to work with or around animals at PAWS. The first step to becoming a volunteer is to register for a new volunteer orientation and complete an online profile.

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I want to volunteer at Cat City. Can I attend a new volunteer orientation in Seattle?
Our new volunteer orientations are held at Fire Station #10 in Lynnwood, WA and our Cat/Dog skills classes are held at our Companion Animal Shelter in Lynnwood, WA. Once you have completed orientation and your skills class in Lynnwood you will be able to volunteer at Cat City in Seattle.

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Do I need to have experience to volunteer?
No. PAWS provides on-site training that will prepare you for your volunteer role.

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What is CERVIS?
CERVIS is our volunteer database. As a PAWS volunteer, you will use CERVIS to register for orientation, skills classes, events, and to track your volunteer hours.

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Why am I getting an error message when registering for a class through CERVIS?
If you are receiving the follwing error message: "The selected Volunteer does not meet the established requirements needed to register for this event. Please select another event or to contact us for additional information" it means that you need to register for a new volunteer orientation. This must be done before you can register for a volunteer shift or skills class.

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Can I bring a guest with me to orientation?
To be fair to the other potential volunteers, all attendees will need to be registered for orientation. We have a limited amount of spots therefore please be sure your guest has also registered for New Volunteer Orientation through our volunteer database, CERVIS.

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Is there a time commitment involved in volunteering?
Yes. If you're volunteering at our Companion Animal Shelter there is a three month commitment. If you're volunteering at the PAWS Wildlife Center, there is a six month commitment. In order to learn the skills needed for your volunteer shift, it’s important that you’re present and able to make the commitment. However, for outreach and administrative volunteer positions, there is no time commitment.

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Volunteers are scheduled to volunteer every week. What happens if I want to go on vacation?
We have Google groups you can utilize to find other volunteers to cover your shift. We also have bulletin boards on-campus where you can post shift coverages.

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Do you accept court-ordered community service hours?
No. At this time PAWS does not accept court-ordered community service hours.

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I am under 18 years of age but I really want to volunteer. What can I do to help the animals?
You must be 18 years of age to work with or around animals at PAWS. However, there are plenty of ways you can help out if you are under the age of 18. You can ask your parents/guardian to become a foster family, host a gift drive, or help out at PAWSwalk in the fall. learn more about how you can help the animals on our PAWS Kids page.

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What do you have available for group volunteering?
PAWS offers great team building opportunities by having work groups (minimum of five people) come in and help with various projects such as weeding, painting and small building projects. To learn more about our work group opportunities visit our Group Volunteer page or contact Caitlin Soden at csoden@paws.org.

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Why am I required to wear a PAWS branded volunteer shirt?
It's important that all our volunteers and staff are easily recognizable for several reasons. Members of the public need to be able to easily identify PAWS staff and volunteers and for emergency purposes all volunteers need to wear a PAWS approved shirt and nametag.

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Why do you have a volunteer registration?
In order to provide our volunteers with the proper training that gives the high level of care to our animals we require a volunteer registration. The cost is $15 and includes a nametag, a volunteer t-shirt and your training materials. Scholarships are available to those who cannot afford it.

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Can I bring my pet when I volunteer?
PAWS recognizes the value of having companion animals in the work environment and supports staff animals coming to work provided that certain considerations are met. Volunteers are requested to not bring their own animals on campus when they volunteer for a number of different reasons, including exposure to contagious illness, confinement and liability concerns as well as the need for proper introductions with staff dogs who may already be in the shelter.

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Do I have to work holidays?
The animals at PAWS require care each and every day of the year. When we are closed to the public, we may not require some volunteers to come in, but certain other positions are necessary. Generally speaking, any volunteers who work in cleaning positions or dog walking should plan on coming in if at all possible. Cat City assistants, clinic volunteers, and marketing team members can have the day(s) off. Kennel and cat room attendants are not required to come in, but we can certainly use their help to care for the animals during the course of the day, and if they choose to come in, they get to spend their shift simply loving on the animals and helping with cleaning.

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