Heart of the Valley has many volunteer opportunities and a variety of ways you can help homeless pets. With the help of volunteers, the shelter cares for over 3,500 cats and dogs annually.


For volunteers age 16+ who want to work with the shelter’s cats and dogs. This program requires a high level of commitment but tremendous rewards! The PAW program will provide you with the knowledge and skills to make a difference in the lives of homeless pets in our community. The PAW program is made up of four PAW levels based on hours of service. At each level, you will be provided with the tools to help with compassionate animal care, operational support and animal enrichment. Please read through the description of the PAW Program before completing a volunteer application. Applications can be found further down on this page. 


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. Volunteer opportunities include:

      • Daily Cat Care Training
      • Cat Cuddling Training
      • Dog Talk & Safety Training and Canine Enrichment 101 Training 

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.
      • Working with Cats: Depending on need, comfort level and what you want to do, PAW II Volunteers can help in a wide variety of areas. Some opportunities include writing bios and taking photos for the website, daily cat care in the nursey and outside cat enrichment. 

After reaching 24 and 48 hours respectively, volunteers move on to PAW levels III and IV. Opportunities are available at this level with increased responsibility and higher levels of training.


Heart of the Valley believes that humane education yield lifelong benefits. The Junior Volunteer program is for animal loving kids ages 6-15 with a designated parent or guardian. 

  • Cat Cuddling: Juniors and their parent/guardian will attend hands on training to understand cat body language and enrichment activities for the cats.
  • Canine Story Time: Juniors and their parent/guardian will attend training to learn the enrichment activity of reading to dogs.

*Supervision ratio is 1 adult: 2 kids

To sign into your Volgistics account please follow the link below:
Current Volunteer Login


For volunteer policies and procedures, please read the volunteer handbook.
Junior Volunteer Handbook
Volunteer Handbook 

Questions? Contact the Volunteer and Outreach Manager: Kristin Sherwood
volunteer@heartofthevalleyshelter.org or (406) 404-3068

Group Volunteering:

Your business or organization can volunteer together at Heart of the Valley! Single days of service can be arranged for groups of 5 or more. Group volunteers assist with operational support and will receive a tour of the shelter and will meet shelter animals at the end of their volunteer shift.
Application for Group Volunteering

Court Ordered Community Service:

Community Service Volunteers play an instrumental role in efficient shelter operations. Available hours for community service volunteers are 8am to 5pm. Volunteers must contact the Volunteer and Outreach Manager for approval of application. Community Service volunteer opportunities are limited to grounds work and operational support.
Application for Court Ordered Community Service

Service Project Volunteering:

Do you need to complete a service project to fulfill a volunteer requirement for an organization or a class project? Complete the Service Project application below and contact the Volunteer and Outreach Manager to schedule your training session. This application is for individual volunteers only. If you would like to complete a group volunteer project complete the “Group Volunteering” application below. Short term service project volunteers assist with operational support and
do not work directly with the animals.
Application for Service Project Volunteering 

Questions? Contact the Volunteer and Outreach Manager: Kristin Sherwood
volunteer@heartofthevalleyshelter.org or (406) 404- 3068

Interested in volunteering at Heart of the Valley? Follow a couple quick steps to get started:

  • Read about the PAW Program or Junior Volunteer Program (above)
  • Read through the Additional Volunteer Programs section if you are needing court ordered community service, wanting to do a group volunteer day or needing to complete a service project.
  • Complete a Volunteer Application (below)
  • Attend New Volunteer Orientation – if you have not heard from our Volunteer and Outreach Manager in over a month from submitting your application, you can reach out to her.
    • Kristin Sherwood, volunteer@heartofthevalleyshelter.org
  • Once you’ve attended orientation, you can now take training classes to be able to work with our shelter dogs and cats!

Junior Volunteer Program Applications:
Juniors (6-15) Volunteer Application
Parent/Guardian Volunteer Application
Junior applications will not be accepted until accompanying parent/guardian application is submitted. Please contact volunteer manager if the junior’s last name differs from the parent/guardian.

Community Service Application:
Court Ordered Community Service Volunteer Application
Applicants MUST contact volunteer manager in addition to submitting application to be considered for volunteer work.

Group Application:
Group Volunteer Application
Please include what organization/company you are volunteering on behalf of and include the expected number of volunteers.

Service Project Application:
Service Project Volunteer Application


Join our foster program and volunteer from home. We provide all supplies, medical care & support. You provide the love!

In foster care, young animals have a chance to grow, injured or sick animals have the opportunity to heal, under-socialized animals learn to trust, and all animals get the love, care and comforts of home so they can start their next chapter of life on the right paw! Foster care for kittens and puppies not yet old enough for surgery is definitely our biggest need at HOV, but there is also opportunity for adult animal fostering as well.

Our foster program at Heart of the Valley plays a crucial role in the general wellbeing of all the animals at the shelter. When you foster, not only are you giving a loving and comfortable home to the animal/s in your care, but you are also freeing up shelter resources, including staff and volunteer time, that can now be dedicated to the animals not in foster care. Every animal at the shelter benefits from fostering. It is truly lifesaving work!

You don’t have to be an animal expert to join our team. If you have a love for animals, a willingness to learn, and a little extra room in your heart and home, we can help with the rest!

Apply to foster here!  Foster Application

How long is the foster care commitment?

The length of foster care varies from animal to animal and can be anywhere from an overnight to multiple months. We are happy to work with you and find appropriate animals that fit your household and schedule.

What are the requirements to be a foster parent?

Prospective foster parents complete an online application. Once submitted, our Animal Services Coordinator will contact you to set up a time to attend a Foster Orientation. Once completed, you’re ready to start saving lives!

What expenses can a foster parent can expect?

Heart of the Valley will happily supply all supplies, medical care and support you will need to successfully foster our animals. We do not require foster parents to purchase supplies but graciously accept the purchase of such as donations if you should choose to do so.

I have pets at home. Is this okay?

Yes! This is no problem; however, for their own protection, we do require that your pets are up-to-date on all their vaccines before fostering.

Do I need a large space to house my foster animals?

No. The space you do have available will most likely be larger than the kennel they would have here at the shelter, plus the extra love and attention is invaluable. We also have gates and enclosures available to help create a suitable place if needed. Our Animal Services Coordinator will be happy to consult with you and help you find an appropriate place to keep your foster animals in your home.

For more information, please contact:

Kori Spruill
Animal Services Coordinator
(406) 388-9399 ext. 204

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

  • Junior Volunteers must be between 6 and 15 years old and have a designated parent or guardian who will volunteer with them. PAW Program volunteers must be at least 16 years old.

What sort of a commitment do I have to make?

  • Junior Volunteers: 12 visits in 6 months, with a designated parent or guardian.
  • PAW Program: A minimum of 4 hours per month for 6 months’ time

I can’t fit volunteering into my schedule right now but I would still like to support Heart of the Valley. How can I do this?

Make a financial contribution
Make an in-kind donation.

I’m a part of a group who would like to volunteer together. Can we help out at Heart of the Valley?

  • Single days of service can be arranged for groups of 5 to 20. Schedules dependent on availability and current needs. Complete the Group Volunteer Application to schedule your volunteer opportunity.

My child really loves animals and we’d like to volunteer together at Heart of the Valley. How can we help? Can we work with dogs?

  • Wonderful! Heart of the Valley values teaching compassionate animal care to the animal loving children of our community at a young age – they are also future pet owners! As with all new volunteers, Junior Volunteers age 6-15 years old must attend a New Volunteer Orientation – along with the designated parent or guardian who will be sharing in the volunteer experience. Junior Volunteers and their designated parents or guardians are welcome to join our Canine Story Time program.

I’m age 16 or older and want to work with the dogs. What sort of training does it involve?

  • All volunteers age 16 or older who want to work with cats or dogs at the shelter become members of the PAW Program. Everyone begins by attending a New Volunteer Orientation. After attending orientation, each volunteer signs up for a small group, hands-on, animal handling session. These trainings provide you with all the tools you need to succeed as a volunteer.

I’m over age 16 and have attended the New Volunteer Orientation. Can I work with the dogs right away?

  • Not yet! Here’s why. Our volunteer program requires you to take some animal handling and enrichment training. All volunteers wishing to work with dogs are required to take a Dog Talk and Safety class and a Canine Enrichment training prior to working with HOV dogs. These trainings will improve your animal handling skills, teach you to be safe in a shelter environment, and will be a lot of fun!

I need to complete court ordered community service hours. Can I complete them at Heart of the Valley?

  • Yes – Community Service volunteers are a big help at the shelter. All Community Service volunteers are pre-screened. We do not accept violent or theft related offenses. Contact the Volunteer and Outreach Manager for more information.

Visit our Kids Page for information about volunteering and more here!