PAW Program

The PAW Program will provide you with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets in our community. Each PAW level has been designed to provide you with the tools to help with Compassionate Animal Care, Operational Support, and Animal Enrichment. At each level you will complete a hands-on training that will provide each volunteer with new skills and a better understanding of shelter operations and the care we provide with shelter animals. Read on for descriptions of each of the PAW Program Levels.


PAW Iphoto2

All volunteers begin here! During your first 8 hours, PAW I volunteers play an important role in the basics of what it takes to keep an animal shelter running efficiently. During your first 8 hours you may learn:

Daily Cat Care:

Compassionately care for the shelter’s cats. Be the first person to greet the shelter’s kitties in the morning – provide fresh water, bedding, litter, and morning meals while giving each cat love and attention.

Operational Support:

Just like at home, there are a lot of dishes and laundry to do!

Animal Enrichment:

Stuff and deliver delicious Kongs, learn basic dog training in the Main Adoption Room, and Cat Cuddle too!


PAW II – Moving Up!DWC_6_29_2013 (63)

It’s our goal to provide every volunteer with the foundation of knowledge and skills that will allow you to advance in ways in which you are comfortable with. After your first 8 hours there are many ways to help!

Working with Dogs

  • Complete enrichment activities which help dogs form bonds with humans.
  • Every quarter we offer 2 supplemental dog training courses which will help you enhance your skills.
  • Play Group Training! Learn how dogs communicate with one another through Playgroup observation. Play groups are a great way to help improve the social skills of shelter dogs and they’re fun to watch too!

Working with CatsNewsletter 013

Depending on need, comfort level and what you want to do, PAW II Volunteers can help in a wide variety of areas. Some examples are:

  • Feline Photographers
  • Write web bios or take videos of long stay cats to post on the website
  • Daily Cat Care…in the Nursery!
  • Outside Cat Enrichment

PAW III and IVIMG_7450

After consistent service of 4 hours per month for 6 months, volunteers are recognized with their third or fourth paw. Opportunities are available at this level with increased responsibility and higher levels of training.

For questions please contact the Volunteer and Outreach Manager at 406-388-9399 ext. 223 or e-mail