The Potter League welcomes families to volunteer together. Children 6 years of age or older can participate in the volunteer experience with adult supervision. To volunteer independently, you must be 15 years of age or older. All volunteers must be able to work independently and without supervision.
Adults ages 21 years or older who have also been through the volunteer training program may bring your child.
Kids 15 years of age or older may volunteer here on their own. Prior to that, they are considered a part of a Pet Pals Team and are accompanied by an adult who has also been through the volunteer training. Once they are 15 years of age, they may also begin walking dogs.
You do not need to attend a General Information Session or any other required training classes if you want to be a Foster Care Provider, Grounds/Facility/Gardening, or Disaster Relief volunteer. If you want to volunteer with the Humane Education Programs, Events/Fundraising, or to be an Office Assistance Volunteer you do need to attend a General Information Session. You do not need to attend the training class that normally follows the General Information Session. Any other volunteer opportunities must attend a General Information Session as well as an orientation.
You are free to come and go as you please, unless you are coming in to help with morning kennel cleaning. Those volunteers schedule themselves online to help with that from 8AM-10AM.
Each year the Potter League typically receives 1,800 – 2,200 dogs, cats and small mammals. The biggest trend we have seen in the past five years is that fewer dogs are surrendered locally as a result of the many programs supporting and public attitudes about spaying and neutering. To meet the demand of our community for puppies and dogs, we now transport dogs from areas where the animal populations are high and euthanasia of adoptable animals is rampant. Through our Fetching Friends transport program, we reduce euthanasia while creating happy adopters!
The Potter League is a private nonprofit organization with 501(c) (3) status. The League is funded by donations from individuals and charitable foundations; by our animal housing contracts; by income from an endowment and by funds from special events. Bequests help to ensure the ongoing financial stability of the League and, as with all gifts, are greatly appreciated. As a non‑profit, charitable organization, all donations to the Potter League are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Our financial records are independently audited each year.
The Potter League has no minimum or maximum holding period. We continue to make every effort to place them and provide many forms of enrichment so animals can thrive while in the shelter. Many of our volunteer programs focus on stress reduction for the animals and that has allowed us to keep animals for months on end before the appropriate home is found.
Stray dogs and cats entering Rhode Island shelters are held to give their owners time to find them. The Potter League’s stray holding period exceeds the legal requirements of Rhode Island law, our practice is to hold all stray dogs for 7 days and all stray cats for 5 days. Animals not claimed by their owners are then evaluated for adoption. In certain instances, the Potter League also places animals into foster homes outside of the shelter to help the dog or cat become more adoptable. Those animals may be under our care for many months.
For the safety of all persons and our animals, we kindly ask that all volunteers be able to work independently and without supervision. All volunteers should be able to bend and lift 20 lbs.
The application fee is to help offset the cost of our volunteer program so that we can spend all of our resources on the direct care of our animals. The fee will cover the cost of your volunteer t-shirt and name badge. The rest goes towards program supplies.
Once you are registered for a general information session, the process takes approximately 1-2 weeks to complete the orientation and follow up training. Volunteer information sessions and orientations are held twice per month and fill quickly during the summer.