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Volunteer Opportunities

Thinking About Volunteering?

Without volunteers, Animal Aid would not exist. That’s why we’re always in need of dedicated volunteers to help care for animals during their stay at the shelter. If you love animals and can spare as little as one morning or evening per week, our animals need you!

  • Cat Caregivers! Good, responsible "caregivers" are critical to shelter operations. They perform the unglamorous but absolutely essential daily activities that keep our shelter cats safe and healthy. Read more about what is involved...
  • Socializers! "Cat whisperers" help make our shelter cats more social and comfortable so they will be able to show their best side to potential adopters. Socializers pet, play with, and groom our kitties while they wait for adoption.
    CURRENTLY FULL - please select another activity.
  • Emergency Dog Kennel Caregivers! Kennel caregivers clean, socialize, take the dog out for potty breaks, and sometimes feed or medicate the dogs during their short stay. Read more about what is involved...
  • Adoption Counselors! This is one of the most rewarding jobs of all shelter work! CURRENTLY FULL - please select another activity.
  • Event Coordinators! Lots of willing worker bees, very few people willing to help organize them. Read more about what is involved...
  • Agility Ring Crews! Our Special Projects agility ring crews work 4 to 24 hours in a single weekend to earn badly needed money for the Fund for Urgent Veterinary Care. Read more about what is involved.....
  • Foster homes! Did you realize that all of our dogs are in foster homes? And did you realize that the reason we can't help more dogs and cats is because we don't have more foster homes? Read more about what is involved...

On-site volunteers, supervised by a paid staff person or experienced volunteer, provide food, water, brushing, love and attention to our animals, and assist with cleaning kennels, washing dishes and laundry, and changing litter boxes and bedding. And don't forget that the human rooms need regular maintenance as well!

What times are you needed?

Most of our day-to-day operations take place Monday through Friday, and this particularly applies to socializing activities (petting and playing with the cats). Saturday is reserved for our adoption counselors to greet "Show and Tell" visitors, and Sunday is a day of rest for the kitties, this means we do NOT schedule socializers on weekends.
  • Caregiving – that is, cleaning, providing food, water and possibly medication for the shelter cats each morning and early evening. Good, responsible "caregivers" are critical to shelter operations, and there are additional requirements for these folks:
    • Current needs: Weekday AM shifts, Weekday PM shifts
    • Minimum age: 16 years
    • Training is required
    • Caregiving duties require a fair amount of physical stamina and flexibility: bending, stooping, possibly being on one's knees to clean lower level cages, carrying out soiled litter weighing up to 20 pounds, bringing cases of canned food upstairs, sweeping, vacuuming. If you have medical issues that would prevent you from performing the full range of caregiver activities, be ready to discuss how you would handle those tasks.
    • If you are pregnant or have physical limitations, please consider consulting your doctor before considering this position. 
    • Physically fit caregivers may be asked to help replenish bags of food and litter weighing up to 40 pounds.
    • Requires a minimum commitment of 1 shift per week for 3 months.This works out to about 24 hours in 3 months.
    • Shifts are scheduled before and after times that the public may be in visiting the cats: 9-11:00 am or 4-6:00 pm daily.

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  • Socializers! – Socializers are an important part of the Animal Aid team. They work directly with our cats to help acclimate them to shelter life, as well as to help them become more social prior to adoption. Socializers get to know each cat and its personality by spending time grooming and playing with it. Particular attentention is paid to shy or scared cats to help them overcome their obstacles and become more attractive to potential adopters.
    • Socializers are scheduled between the hours of 11:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.
    • Socializers 13 and under must be accompanied by a parent while they are at the shelter.

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  • Emergency Dog Kennel Caregivers – The emergency kennel, located in the lower level of the shelter, is used when we need to urgently take a dog into our care. It is a temporary solution used while we search for or prepare a foster home for the dog.  Kennel caregivers clean, socialize, take the dog out for potty breaks, and sometimes feed or medicate the dogs during their short stay.
    • The shifts for dog caregiving are 30 minutes to one hour at 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 5pm and 9pm. The kennel is for emergency use only so shifts are scheduled on an as-needed basis.
    • Minimum Age: 18 years
    • Have dog handling experience
    • Ability to perform mildly strenuous work without direct supervision

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  • Adoption Counseling – This is one of the most rewarding jobs of all shelter work! You will have the joy and satisfaction of finding loving, "furever" homes for Animal Aid's cats and dogs. Adoption Counselors work with the public and prospective adopters helping to advocate for and match cats to furever homes. They staff the shelter during Saturday "Show & Tell", and attend Outreach Events with our animals. This position requires extensive training to become familiar with the individual animals at Animal Aid as well as with our policies and procedures for adoption. Once familiar with our procedures, Adoption Counselors are trained to process adoption applications and ultimately to do the home delivery portion of an adoption. They get to take cats and dogs to their furever homes and see the whole Happy Tail!

    • Minimum age: 21 years
    • Training is required and done on the job during "Show & Tell" working with an experienced Adoption Counselor. You will be provided materials to learn and reference while working with potential adopters.
    • Commitment of 6 months minimum due to the extensive training, which includes at least 1 volunteer shift (4-5 hours) per month from the following: Saturday noon - 4pm for "Show & Tell", Saturday outreach events 10am - 2pm, Monday - Friday 11am to 4pm. Various hour commitment to process adoption applications as needed.

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  • Event Coordination – ready to limber up those management skills (and wouldn't this stuff look good on a resume)? There are a variety of ways that you can help. The primary levels of involvement are:
    • Be a sub-coordinator for one segment of a larger program or event (e.g., serving as coordinator of publicity for the garage sale, overseeing sign-makers, flyer distribution, e-advertising and other publicity; would work under the lead coordinator of the event).
    • Be a lead coordinator for an entire program or event (e.g., coordinator for our participation at the Northwest Pet and Companion Fair would recruit and organize any sub-coordinators for the event and report the results of the event to the Events Committee).
    • Become a formal member of the Events Committee. The Events Committee meets monthly, and anyone serving as lead coordinator for a major event would ordinarily be expected to regularly attend and actively participate in these meetings. Any Animal Aid volunteer is welcome to attend a meeting in order to learn more about our processes, events calendar, etc. We are especially eager for participation from volunteers willing to share their ideas, energy, and expertise in areas like marketing, education, publications, outreach, and fundraising.

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  • Volunteer for one or more specific events Emails are sent frequently requesting volunteers for specific events. Simply respond to the contact person noted to get involved!
    • Assisting at outreach activities by staffing a wide variety of events ranging from adoption events to simply having a presence at a neighborhood fair.
    • Helping with specific fundraising events like our "Cute Critters in Costumes" Photo event in the Fall.
    • Joining a Special Projects team earning funds to support the Animal Aid pets and our various programs – a good example of this is our Agility Ring Crew, which earns money for our emergency medical loan fund by helping out at canine agility events. This is a good way to earn four to sixteen Community Service hours in a single weekend.

Concerning Young Volunteers

Some of our most diligent and committed workers have been young folks, and we can't say enough good things about them. However events prompt us to add the following requirement for new volunteers:
  • Anyone under 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent on their first visit. The parent must stay for the full visit in order to learn about volunteer expectations.
  • Youths 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult or responsible teen during all their volunteer activity. After a probationary period of a few visits, if a young volunteer proves to be responsible, we may offer that youth the option of volunteering unaccompanied.
  • For parent/child pairs volunteering together: please complete one application for each of you. As well as being necessary for liability purposes, this is a useful experience for the child.

What Kinds of Help Do We Need?

We have something to fit every personality and skill level:

Work directly with the animals

  • foster homes for cats and especially for dogs - 21 and older, please
  • grooming and socializing (11:00 am - 4:00 pm M-F ONLY)
  • medicating
  • transport crated pets to/from the Vet or an event

Help maintain the animals' home

  • building maintenance / repair
  • caretaking (cleaning animal living / playing areas) (9-11:00 am or 4-6:00 pm daily) TRAINING REQUIRED. CLICK HERE for additional requirements.
  • cleaning (public area, kitchen, offices
  • Gardening/grounds maintenance
  • laundry
  • small / large appliance repair


Help with technical activities

  • digital photo creation / editing
  • video clip creation / posting
  • newsletter writing / layout / production
  • technical support (office LAN)
  • technical support (PHP/mySQL Web site)
  • graphics arts projects (signs, posters, etc.)


Help with organizational activities

  • assist with office duties
  • distribute flyers to Vets, pet supply stores
  • event management!!!!! CLICK HERE for more information.
  • fundraising or grant writing
  • newsletter prep for mailing (collate, label, fold)
  • public presentations / education
  • staff a booth at an event
  • train to be an Adoption Counselor
  • train new volunteers

Special Projects Volunteers

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