If you like animals, the Bartholomew County Humane Society shelter has just the opportunity.

It is looking for volunteers.

“Our need is huge,” shelter director Jane Irwin said.

One basic need is for volunteers to interact with dogs and cats housed at the shelter, located south of Columbus at 4415 E. County Road 200S.

When volunteers walk the dogs or play with the cats, it may be the only time the animals leave their cages that day, Irwin said.

“The dogs get to know the volunteers, and you should see the look on their faces when they see you walk in,” volunteer Carrie Riley said. “They are just so happy to see you. It gives you a very warm feeling.”

Don’t feel you must possess the skills of Cesar Millan, the “Dog Whisperer” from television, to make a difference.

“Just spend some time with them. It helps them so much,” Riley said.

Both dogs and cats need interaction with humans, Irwin said.

“You just can’t believe what a difference that time makes in their personalities, and a good personality really helps them get adopted,” Irwin said.

People recovering from an illness especially make great shelter volunteers, she said.

“It just seems to help the people as much as the animals,” volunteer Jeff Riley said. “Even if you can’t actually walk the dogs, you can just sit and talk to them.”

For people whose schedule won’t permit them volunteering their time, the shelter welcomes donation of food or treats — or cash, Jeff Riley said.

How to help

To sign up as a volunteer or learn about other donor opportunities, contact Bartholomew County Humane Society shelter director Jane Irwin at 812-372-6063 or send an email to mjirwin@seidata.com