Harbor Humane Society seeks volunteers and caregivers

domestic shorthair cat
Billy, 5-year-old male domestic shorthair, Harbor Humane Society, West Olive
Photo: Cindy Valentine Photography

By Cortney Erndt

Giving animals a second chance at life and love begins with a Harbor Humane Society volunteering application. A nonprofit organization, the society relies on the generosity of area citizens to serve the needs of animals in Ottawa County.

“We have a very active and diverse volunteer program that allows people to use existing skills, or learn new skills, in support of the Humane Society mission of finding forever homes for stray and abandoned animals,” said Ken O’Rourke, executive director.

A variety of volunteer programs are offered, including those that involve interaction with the animals, participation in fundraising, supporting adoptions, and maintaining the facility and grounds.

“We like to think of our volunteers as fellow employees,” O’Rourke said. “Good volunteers have the same characteristics as good employees in that they are responsible, reliable and undertake duties in a conscientious manner.”

The society also relies on the benevolence of foster caregivers. These volunteers share their homes and lives with animals that need special care, such as a sick dog that needs a quiet place to recover or a kitten that needs a stable atmosphere to grow.

Husky/Shepherd mix dog
Gypsy, 5-year-old female Husky/Shepherd
mix, Harbor Humane Society, West Olive
Photo: Cindy Valentine Photography

Becoming a foster caregiver can be as simple as filling out an application on the society’s website, then receiving some basic training related to the type of foster care you wish to provide — for example, how to bottle-feed motherless kittens.

This job requires emotional sacrifice, as it’s often difficult to bring the animals back to the shelter after they’ve been a part of your family.

“My personal belief is that the best way to become a foster caregiver is to visit the shelter so that you can fall in love with the animals and fully understand how important foster care is to rescuing animals,” O’Rourke said.

For further information about volunteering or to make a donation, visit the Harbor Humane Society website.

Harbor Humane Society
14345 Bagley St., West Olive