Volunteer & Foster

From socializing cats to walking dogs to helping at events, there’s a little something for everyone!


Helping pets go home again. That’s our mission every day. In 2023 alone we helped 2,274 pets find safe and loving homes.


HSSW started with folks just like you who wanted to make a difference in the lives of pets. Choose your gift type and level!

Our Services

Services List

Lost Pet


Losing a pet can be a scary and terrible experience and it can happen to any of us. No matter what the circumstances, pets can sometimes become lost in a short amount of time, and our goal is to help them get back home just as quickly. Many lost pets make their way to the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin through caring citizens and local law enforcement agencies. While no one wants to think of their furry family member in a shelter environment, you can rest assured, our caring staff welcomes them with open, loving arms.

*Stray pets are held for 5 days to allow owners time to locate their pet. After that time period they are put up for adoption or occasionally transferred to other shelters.*

Within the First Hour
  1. Search your area first. In most cases, your pet has not gone far. Indoor cats are usually hiding within 3-4 houses on either side of where they got out. Ask neighbors if you can look around their property. Your pet may be within hearing distance but not come out when you call out of fear of the big wide world.
  2. If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip company right away to report them as lost, and update your contact information if needed.
Within a Couple Hours
  1. Call or visit us to fill out a lost report. We’ll ask you some questions about your pet's physical description and tell you about any reports of found animals made by other community members. Please call 608-752-5622 to speak with a staff member. Here are some examples of how to describe your cat.
  2. Start searching Petco Love Lost now. Upload your lost pet’s photo to Petco Love Lost, they provide free facial recognition software to reunite lost pets with their owners. Your pet’s uploaded photo will be scanned against photos of found animals at shelters and those reported by the community.
After the First 24 Hours
  1. Visit your local animal shelter to look for your pet. At HSSW, staff will assist you in walking through the shelter and show you all the stray cats in the facility. We may not recognize your pet from the flyer if they come in at a later date, so be sure to visit the shelter as frequently as you can.
  2. Hang lost pet posters. We recommend hanging the poster with duct tape at major intersections within a 3-mile radius of where your dog was lost or a 1-mile radius of where your cat was lost. Once your pet is found, retrieve your lost pet posters from wherever you hung them.
  3. Look for your pet frequently on our website. If you see your pet’s photo, please call the shelter where the pet is located, immediately. Keep in mind that your pet will be listed under a different shelter name. YOU are your pet's best chance at being reunited.
Trapping Your Lost Cat

If you decide to trap your cat, you can rent a trap from HSSW. Please visit our Live Trap Rental Page here or contact our Adoption Supervisor, Dixie, at for more information.

Lost Pets at HSSW

Lost Pets in our Community powered by Petco Love

Found a Stray


You’re in your car having just picked up the kids from school and now heading to the store when you see her. This confused little dog with her nose to the ground, dodging traffic in search of something. We all know that on the other side of the story there most likely is a family missing their furry friend. But before you rescue any stray animal, there are a few tips that could mean the difference between an experience that brings you joy versus one that comes back to bite you, so to speak.

Be cautious when approaching any animal. 

Animals may be scared and unsure of their surroundings and with unfamiliar people. Do not try to catch or handle an animal that seems scared or reactive. Many times, you may just be able to contain the animal in a fenced-in yard, garage, kennel, crate, or live trap without making physical contact.

Check for a license tag or other identification.

If you can get close enough to read the tags, please try reaching the owner. Many ID tags include names and phone numbers. If the animal is wearing a rabies tag, contact the vet clinic listed - they can often put you in touch with his or her owner. License tags can similarly be used to find an owner by contacting the municipality that issued the license.

Check with your neighbors or the houses near where you found the animal.

Although you may not recognize the pet, it could still belong to a neighbor, or your neighbors could be dog sitting.  Also, many animals don’t roam far from where they are lost so chances are someone in your area will recognize your new-found friend.

We can scan the animal for a microchip. 

Your local vet clinic can also quickly scan a cat or dog and let you know if they have a microchip – a chip is permanent ID imbedded under the animal’s skin and is registered with the company who produced them. The microchip company should be able to give you the name and contact information for any chipped animal.

Some finders prefer to hold onto a found animal for a short time while they attempt to find the owner. If you are able to do this, call Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin at (608) 752-5622 to place a found report. We ask you for the animal’s description and try to match it to any missing pet reports in our system. We can also scan found pets for microchips and take photos to help reunite the lost pet with its owners.

Can’t hold onto a lost animal or find its owner?

If you need assistance with a contained pet found in one of the municipalities below, call the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin at (608) 752-5622 between 8am and 5pm. Because we are a non-profit organization and for safety and agency requirements, we aren’t able to pick up stray animals. We ask that you bring the animal to us if you can. If you can’t hold onto the lost animal or find its owner, contact the appropriate municipality and have them bring it to the HSSW.  

  • City of Beloit
  • Town of Beloit
  • City of Janesville
  • Town of Janesville
  • City of Milton
  • Town of Milton
  • City of Evansville
  • Town of Center
  • Village of Clinton
  • Town of Avalon
  • Town of Fulton
  • Town of Rock
  • Village of Orfordville
  • Town of Harmony
  • Village of Footville
  • Town of Johnstown
  • Town of Lima
  • Town of Newark*
  • Town of Plymouth
  • Town of Porter
  • Town of Spring Valley
  • Town of Union
  • Town of La Prairie*

*Both the Town of Newark and the Town of LaPrairie demanded Dog-Only contracts with HSSW, meaning that only stray dogs found in those municipalities would be able to be brought to HSSW. In an effort to not leave cats in those municipalities without any resources, we offered a $100 'Stray Fee' so that we did not have to totally turn those community members who find stray cats in those municipalities away. We encourage any residents of those two municipalities who disagree with this decision made by the Town of Newark and Town of LaPrairie to contact their Town Boards. 

Wild animals

It’s spring and you see a tiny bird on the ground. Or an opossum who appears to be staggering. Since many wild animals that appear injured or abandoned are often only exhibiting defense mechanisms, we recommend leaving it alone for at least 24 hours. The bird, for example, might just be fledging and starting its journey out of the nest. That opossum? She might just be coming out of playing dead. Wild animals require a certain level of expertise and must be cared for by a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian. At this time, the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin simply doesn’t have the proper facilities or staff to care for wild animals. Contact Fellow Mortals at or call 262.248.5055 (the answering recording is long, but leave a detailed message and your call will be returned.)

Above all, we thank you for caring about lost, homeless, and wild animals. A comfortable, warm pet bed, a feathery nest, or a safe pile of timber, no matter the dwelling our aim is the same: together, we are helping all pets go home again.

Community Assistance


Here at the Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin, we have two programs to help community members stay united with their beloved pets. Our Better Together program can help provide anything to keep you and your pet united from temporary foster placement to covering a pet deposit, from a surprise veterinary bill to providing pet food, and beyond. The Sophie's Gift program can help assist with the cost of veterinary care for pets in our community.

If you are in need of affordable vet care beyond what we can provide in our Wellness/Vaccine Clinic, we recommend reaching out to the Wisconsin Community Veterinary Center, WisCares, or the Freeport Animal Hospital.

Better Together


The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin is not only committed to helping pets go home, but helping pets stay home. This means that we are focused on helping pets remain well-fed, comfortable, and healthy in their homes with their families.

With the help of Petco Love and community donations, we are able to support both the pets in our community and the people that love them to remain together. Whether that be financial assistance for pet needs, providing temporary pet housing or food, veterinary care, or anything in between, HSSW is here to help. Because as Jack Johnson said, “it’s always better when we’re together.”

If you are experiencing similar circumstances with your pet and are in need of assistance, please reach out to HSSW Business Development Director, Kaitie Swedlund, at or by phone at 608-752-5622 ext. 101. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek support from Defy Domestic Abuse Beloit at 608-364-1083.

If you would like to donate to our Better Together program, please click here.

If you would like to be a foster for our Better Together program, please click here.

Sophie's Gift


Sophie’s Gift was started by a community member with a huge heart! Sophie’s Gift is a program dedicated to giving back to the community by helping pets receive the veterinary care they need and relieving their owners of the financial burden of providing this care.

This program is especially dedicated to helping owners cover the cost of surprise veterinary bills. For example, in the past year, Sophie’s Gift has helped Louie overcome an ear infection, Kimber receive a much-needed ACL repair, Ruby receive an emergency spay, and so much more!

If you are experiencing similar circumstances with your pet and are in need of assistance, please reach out to HSSW Business Development Director, Kaitie Swedlund, at or by phone at 608-752-5622 ext. 101. 

If you would like to donate to Sophie's Gift, please click here.

Pet Rehoming

The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin knows that the decision to rehome your pet is never an easy one and is not something anyone takes lightly. Depending on your situation, HSSW may be able to offer assistance so you can keep your pet or alternatives to surrendering your pet, like rehoming your pet on your own. We are committed to working together to find the best possible solution for you and your pet.

If you are looking to rehome your pet by surrendering your pet to HSSW, you must first do a surrender consultation with one of our Animal Services team leaders. During this consultation, you will be asked to sign up for our Home to Home program, if you have not already done so. If during the consultation, it is decided that surrendering your pet to HSSW is the best path, a surrender appointment will be scheduled with one of our Animal Services team leaders.

Here at HSSW, we follow a managed admission philosophy for all surrendered animals. This philosophy allows us to make sure that we have the space and resources to meet your pet’s needs during their time with us. It also allows us to be proactive instead of reactive and save more lives.

Please review the information below and if you would like to continue forward with our surrender process, please reach out to either our Cat Care Supervisor, Reghan, or our Dog Care Supervisor, Isabella.

Alternatives to Surrendering

  • Reach out to HSSW Business Development Director, Kaitie, at or 608-752-5622 ext. 101 for monetary support in staying united with your pet (emergency vet bill, pet deposit support, etc.)
  • Reach out to HSSW Community Outreach Coordinator, Faith, at or 608-752-5622 ext. 117 for pet supplies such as pet food, a tie-out, or bedding.
  • Sign up for Good Pup to receive dog behavior support and resources.
  • Rehome your pet independently.
    • Ask local veterinarians if you can post signs in their clinic.
    • Ask local pet-related businesses if you can post signs in their store.
    • Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers to see if they are looking for a pet.
    • Use social media to share your pet’s story.
    • Use our Home to Home program.

GoodPup Online Dog Training

GoodPup is a dog training app that allows owners to directly connect with certified trainers for weekly, 30-minute training sessions in the comfort of their own home. Participants also receive personalized homework assignments, unlimited chat support, and access to the online training library containing instructions and information on all the topics discussed during sessions. GoodPup also offers medical support from licensed veterinary technicians available via chat for general medical questions and over-the-counter advice.

There are 2 major training courses available that are great for dogs of all ages. All courses utilize positive reinforcement methods and trainers can develop custom behavior modification plans that cater to specific issues like leash reactivity, separation distress, or resource guarding.

Participants can sign up for their first training session any time of day, 7 days a week. This means you have an immediate resource for working with behavior issues.

The GoodPup Shelter Program offers the first week free to HSSW referrals and a 20% lifetime membership discount. Anyone who adopts/reaches out is eligible for the discount, regardless of whether or not their dog was adopted from HSSW. Plus, HSSW receives a donation from GoodPup for every referral!

Reach out to HSSW Business Development Director, Kaitie, at to receive your discounted, referral link and to start working with your dog's difficult behaviors today.

Home to Home Program

Rehoming your pet independently using our Home to Home program, is very beneficial to both you and your pet. It reduces stress on animals by keeping them out of the shelter. It leaves more shelter resources available to animals with no other options like those that are lost or abandoned. It also gives potential new owners a chance to learn more about the animals directly from the current owner and allows the current owner to be directly involved in the entire process.

To sign up for our Home to Home program, visit


To do a Surrender Consultation

In order to surrender a pet to HSSW, you must first do a surrender consultation. To do a surrender consultation with HSSW for a cat or small critter, please contact our Cat Care Supervisor, Reghan.

To do a surrender consultation with HSSW for a dog, please contact our Dog Care Supervisor, Shania.

Email is the preferred and fastest method of communication.

What to Expect During your Consultation

  • Alternatives to Surrender. During your communications with our team, you will discuss your situation together and may be presented alternatives to surrendering your pet with resources provided by HSSW.
  • Home to Home Program. You will be asked to sign up for our Home to Home program.
  • Gathering Information. During your communications with our team, you will be asked for a lot of information about your pet to determine the best path for them such as scheduling a surrender appointment or supporting you in rehoming your pet independently. Depending on the situation, you may be asked these questions over the phone or via an emailed form.
  • Prep for your Appointment. If it is decided that surrendering your pet to HSSW is the best course of action, one of our team members will schedule that appointment with you and go through what you will need to bring with you to that appointment.

What to Expect at your Appointment

  • Bring in your pet yourself. Please be prepared to spend some time with a staff member when surrendering your pet so that we may get as much background information as possible.
  • Bring any veterinary records you have. This will help us to know what care your pet needs during their stay with us and in their next home.
  • Bring a form of payment. There is a considerable cost to care for and rehome pets that are in our care. Because of this, we do require pet owners that are surrendering their pets to pay a surrender fee. We accept cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Please note that a $3.00 processing fee will be applied to all transactions paid for via credit or debit card.
  • Plan to spend at least 30 minutes with us. At your appointment, we will spend some time with the pet in order to get to know them a bit better and also may have a few more questions for you.

If you are able to rehome your pet independently prior to your appointment, please call 608-752-5622 to cancel.

Surrender Fees

Dog/Puppy - $53

Cat/Kitten - $53

Critter - $27

Community Pet Pantry


In an effort to assist our community, The Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin provides a Community Pet Pantry that is open every day of the week during business hours. Thanks to our amazing partnership with Amazon, we now receive weekly shipments of pet food and other supplies to our facility. We are so thankful that we can share this with our community.

If you or someone you know is in need of dry cat or dog food, or any other pet supplies, please call the shelter at 608-752-5622 to schedule a pick-up time. Our Community Pet Pantry relies on donations so please call the shelter to check availability. Thank you in advance for understanding.

If you are looking to donate any supplies to the Community Pet Pantry, please drop off any donations at our donation drop off location at our new facility at 4700 S County TK G.

PLEASE NOTE: Because our Community Pet Pantry relies on donations, we may not be able to provide specific brands or types of food at any given time.

Live Trap Rental

Although unable to assist in the actual trapping of stray cats, HSSW has live traps available for rent for $40.

For more information on live trap rental, please call the shelter at 608-752-5622 or email our Adoptions Supervisor, Dixie, at

What can I use this live trap for?

HSSW live traps are intended for the use of trapping feral/stray cats and should not be used to capture a cat whose left ear is ear-tipped, unless the cat seems sick and/or needs medical attention. HSSW live traps are not intended to harm animals, including the trapping of wildlife. 

How long can I keep the live trap?

Live traps are rented out on a two-week basis. If there is a need to keep the trap longer, please call the shelter to get an extension approved.

Do I get my deposit back?

$18.90 of the $40 rental fee will be refunded upon return of live trap in good working condition. 

What if the live trap is broken or stolen while in my possession?
If the renter fails to return the live trap by the return date (or approved extension date), or if the trap becomes lost, broken, or stolen, the deposit will be forfeited and the renter will be billed for the full cost of the trap.