Katie Thurbon, Volunteer and Foster Manager

Katie Thurbon, Volunteer and Foster Manager

Hi! I’m Katie Thurbon, Volunteer and Foster Manager at Great Plains SPCA. Thank you for your interest in volunteering! Volunteers are essential to our mission of providing a better life for pets and the people who love them. We have hundreds of dedicated volunteers who expand our impact in the community and enhance the lives of homeless pets through a variety of avenues. If you would like to join us, please read below to find out if volunteering with Great Plains SPCA is right for you!

What are the requirements to volunteer? 

  • Time commitment varies by role
  • Grace, accountability and respect for your fellow volunteers, GPSPCA staff and our guests
  • Support for Great Plains SPCA’s mission
  • An active e-mail for receiving volunteer communications
  • $17 new volunteer fee, which covers training and a t-shirt
  • Dog walker volunteers must purchase a leash at our retail store (or have an approved leash)
Already a Volunteer?

Volunteer of the Year - 2020

Doug Deffenbaugh

Doug has been volunteering with Great Plains for 23 years - before we were even known as Great Plains! He has filled a variety of roles, including Chief Financial Officer in the early days of the shelter. Today, he is happiest when he is playing ball with a dog in the play yards, but also always makes time to help deliver Puppygrams in February. When Doug isn't working or volunteering, he's spending time with his has two Great Plains canine alumni, Puff Man and Baxter.

What types of roles are available?

We are gradually ramping up our volunteer activities to ensure our volunteers and staff are safe during COVID. At this time, new volunteer opportunities include the following:

Brand Ambassador Volunteers

Great Plains SPCA hosts many fundraising events throughout the year, and we need lots of help to make them successful. Roles include event registration and check-in, off-site tabling, silent auction attendants, Puppygram and Kittengram drivers, swag bag stuffers, errand runners, customer service representatives, etc.

Cat Socializers

Do you love kitty companionship? Want to learn more about feline behavior? We need volunteers to help properly socialize our cats and ensure a smooth adjustment to shelter life. Cat Socializers also provide support to our Feline Care team, such as cleaning litter boxes and feeding. Cat Socializer volunteers must commit to four hours per month for the first three months.

Foster Homes


Each year we place hundreds of pets into temporary foster homes for medical and behavioral reasons. For more information and to start fostering, please go to our foster page for more information and to access the application.


Community Service Hours

Please note that at this time, we cannot accommodate individuals who need court-ordered or work/school-required community service hours.

How do I get started?

To become a Brand Ambassador or Cat Socializer, please follow the steps below. Cat Socializers will also complete a one-one-one training session with a volunteer mentor. For other volunteer opportunities, please check back later.

  1. Watch our New Volunteer Information Session video.
  2. Take and pass the New Volunteer Quiz.
  3. Once you pass the quiz, you will be prompted to complete your volunteer profile and application.
  4. Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed and if approved, you will be sent a link with next steps.
  5. Start volunteering!

Age Limits

Great Plains SPCA is committed to helping people of all ages experience the true joy pets bring into our lives, however, due to the nature of the shelter environment, we have volunteer age requirements to ensure both pets and people stay safe and comfortable.


  • Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age to interact with our animals. Volunteers between the ages of 13 and 16 must be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian at all times, including while completing all of the new volunteer steps in the process above.
  • Volunteers 16 and older may volunteer independently without an adult.

School and Community Group Volunteer Opportunities

We love working with school and community groups who want to help with tasks at the shelter. However, during COVID-19, we are not able to host these groups. If your group would still like to help, you can organize a donation drive benefitting Great Plains SPCA. Organize an effort to raise money or collect items from our Wishlist. Once your drive is complete, we can schedule a time for you to deliver the donations to the shelter and do a photo session.

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