Joplin Humane Society revamps volunteer opportunities

JOPLIN, Mo. – Joplin Humane Society, an animal shelter located at 140 E. Emperor Lane in Joplin, depends on volunteers to provide the best possible care for its shelter pets and ultimately get them adopted.

Recently, the shelter revamped its volunteer opportunities to be more beneficial for volunteers and animals alike.

Volunteer Coordinator Lex Evelhaoch says that volunteers are essential in keeping Joplin Humane Society operating. Spending time helping the shelter pets enhances the lives of the animals, but is also very fulfilling.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s really rewarding… It’s this really fuzzy, warm feeling that you get when you get to watch that dog walk out of the building with its forever home. Volunteers did that,” said Evelhaoch.

Volunteer Programs

  • Stressy/Depressy Dog Committee or Scared Kitty Committee
    • Works with animals that need extra time and attention, may be experiencing kennel stress or depression
    • Helps ease anxiety in scared pets that have been surrendered or neglected
    • Makes pets more easily adoptable
  • Play Yard Rotation Team
    • Gets shelter dogs extra time out of their kennels
    • Team of 2 – 4 volunteers meet Tuesday and/or Thursday 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Volunteers rotate dogs out to the play yards every 25 minutes to release built-up energy
    • Helps keep dogs calm during adoption hours, prevents dogs from developing kennel stress or depression
  • The S/N (Spay/Neuter) Support Team
    • Supports staff and customers during spay and neuter check out times
    • Provides assistance during busy times to allow staff to also work on adoptions and prevents long wait times for guests
    • Tuesday and/or Wednesday 1 – 3 p.m. or 3 – 5 p.m., some Fridays 1 – 3 p.m. or 3 – 5 p.m.
  • Post Adoption Callback Team
    • Volunteers come in twice a week to call individuals who have recently adopted to check in or give advice if needed
    • Supports people who recently adopted, helps correct possible unwanted behavior in newly adopted pets

Being in a shelter can be distressing for animals. Volunteers are what keep the shelter pets adoptable.

“When you’re sitting there working with that dog, you’re keeping that dog mentally and emotionally healthy,” said Evelhaoch.

Evelhaoch believes that spending time with shelter pets is “showing them ‘hey, people are okay, people can be trusted, there are people out there that will love you.'”

Volunteers help improve the lives of the shelter animals in hopes of finding their forever homes.

“That’s what we’re doing, we’re trying to save lives. Volunteers are the number one backbone for that,” she said.

Volunteers also receive the benefits of meeting new people and being part of a community.

“Community outreach, friend-making, all while surrounded by animals,” said Evelhaoch.

To become a volunteer, you must go through Volunteer Orientation, which is typically held two to three times per month. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age to volunteer without a parent or guardian present. Junior volunteers, age 10 – 15, may volunteer with a parent or guardian.

After going through orientation, volunteers can express their interests and get placed in the best fitting committee. Otherwise, basic volunteering is always available.

The next Volunteer Orientation is Saturday Feb. 27, 12 – 1:30 p.m.

There are 10 spots available at each Volunteer Orientation. To sign up, contact levelhaoch@joplinhumane.org or call 417-623-3642 ext. 120.

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