Volunteer FAQ

If you are unable to find the answer to your question below, please send an email to coe@omhs.ca.


i am in high school and need volunteer hours to graduate. What opportunities do you have for teens?

We offer two programs for youth volunteering – the Leader in Training Program and the Youth Apprenticeship Program. Please visit our Kids and Teens page to learn more about each one.

My kids would like to volunteer with the animals. Can they do this if i come with them and supervise?

We love kids and want to maximize opportunities for them to interact with animals. We offer a number of educational programs for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Please visit our Kids & Teens page to learn more. 

Volunteering directly with the animals is reserved for individuals ages 16 and up, unless participating in a staff-supervised program. 

I work nearby and would like to volunteer during my lunch hour. I would like to take a dog out for a walk or play with cats – can I just drop by?

We are a small shelter, and do not have the capacity to accommodate drop-in volunteering. We are very fortunate to have a dedicated team of over 400 trained volunteers. These volunteers are scheduled for 2-3 hour shifts throughout the day, every day of the week.  

Our company has a volunteer day coming up. Do you have opportunities for corporate groups to volunteer for a day?

For information about available corporate volunteering opportunities, please contact us at 905-845-1551 ext. 305 or email coe@omhs.ca

I am a student looking for a co-op placement. Do you take co-op students?

We do not offer co-op placements at this time. 

The volunteer position I'm interested in is not listed on your website. can i still apply to volunteer with the animals?

Volunteer positions that involve direct contact with the animals are the most popular here at the shelter. When an animal position becomes available, it fills very quickly. Please check our website often to see what has become available and submit your application at that time.


What types of animals do you need foster homes for?

The types of animals we’re looking to foster are always changing! Most commonly, we need foster homes for cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, and small animals (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc.). We also occasionally require foster homes for birds, reptiles, and even farm animals!

How long would I be fostering an animal for?

The length of time for fostering an animal will vary from animal to animal. The placement may last a few days to a few weeks. We are looking for committed individuals who are willing to care for the animal until it is ready to come back to the shelter for adoption.

I have another pet at home, but would still like to foster. Is this a possibility?

Placing a foster animal into a home with an existing pet is always done on a case-by-case basis. The shelter makes every attempt to ensure animals are free from external parasites prior to going into your home, but there is always a risk that diseases or parasites (fleas, internal parasites) could be transmitted to your pet(s). When fostering cats and small animals, we recommend that you keep them completely separate from your pet(s).

Can I adopt the animal I’m fostering?

Adopting the animal you are fostering may be possible. If you wish to adopt, you must fill out an adoption survey and submit it to our Adoptions Department. We will be in touch with you to discuss the adoption. This is standard procedure for all public, staff and volunteers.

Do you have a foster-to-adopt program?

No, we do not have a foster-to-adopt program. If the animal you are interested in is available for adoption, please connect with the Adoptions Department.

Can I choose the animal I get to foster?

You can choose what type of animal you would like to foster (e.g. bottle-feeding kittens, puppies requiring socialization, etc.). However, you would not get to choose individual animals beyond that.

Animals that are available for adoption already would not be available to foster. 

I am a foster parent with another shelter/rescue, and i would like to help out OMHS too. Is this a possibility?

It's great that you're already helping animals! If you are already involved as a foster parent with another organization, you would not be able to foster for us at the same time. We want to minimize any risk of potential disease transmission. 

Can I foster baby wild animals, like squirrels or raccoons, until they can be released back into the wild?

No. OMHS is not licensed to rehabilitate wildlife. Any orphaned, injured or sick wildlife brought to us will be examined by our Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) and whenever possible, the animal is transported to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility, where it will be cared for until it’s ready to be released back into the wild.

If you encounter wildlife in distress, please call us right away – 905-845-1551.

I'm a new foster parent. how soon will i get an animal?

Please be patient. It may take a few weeks before an animal is placed in your home. It depends on the time of year and the type of animal that you want to foster. When something comes into the shelter that matches your preferences, we will be in touch with you.