The ASPCA's volunteer program is vital to our operation, and our volunteers make an impact in many areas. Volunteers assist in the care of the dogs and cats housed in our shelter, help place them in loving homes, and provide support for administrative programs.
- All volunteer opportunities are in New York City. Individuals unable to volunteer in New York City should contact their local animal welfare organization. Visit petfinder.com to find one near you!
- Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older. High school students: please note that the ASPCA does not offer a community service program except for the Student Service Learning program outlined below.*
- At this time, the ASPCA does not accept volunteers needing to fulfill court-appointed community service requirements.
- Volunteers must be able to commit to a minimum of eight hours per month for a minimum of six months. Due to the extensive training requirements, we are not able to accept short-term volunteers.
Steps to Becoming a Volunteer
Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the ASPCA. We rely on our wonderful volunteers to help with many aspects of our shelter operations. We couldn’t do all the good things we do without them. We are extremely fortunate to consistently have an overwhelming response from individuals who want to be a part of our program, but are unable to accept every applicant. At this time, our orientation sessions are booked through June and there is no waiting list! Please check back on this website on June 1st, when we will be posting about upcoming orientation information as well as the volunteer application. Thank you again for offering to donate your time and love to the care of the animals at the ASPCA shelter.
If you are a high school student seeking to fulfill community service hours, please see the details about our Student Service Learning program at the bottom of this page.
For other volunteer opportunities in NYC, please consider volunteering at the NYC Animal Care and Control (AC&C) shelters in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island.
Another way you can help before becoming an official volunteer is to advertise our Adoption Center by hanging flyers around your neighborhood. This helps raise awareness of the animals at our Adoption Center, and encourages people to consider making adoption their first option! Download the Flyer - Cat Version (pdf) | Dog Version (pdf). Thank you!
Types of ASPCA Volunteer Opportunities:
Volunteer Adoptions Counselors: There's only one thing better than seeing pets leave the shelter with their new families—helping to make it happen! If you enjoy working with people and would like to help secure loving homes for ASPCA shelter dogs and cats, consider becoming a Volunteer Adoptions Counselor! Please note that a large portion of this position requires direct contact with cats.
As an Adoptions Counselor, you'll get to:
- Meet and greet potential adopters when they arrive at the ASPCA
- Answer questions and assist potential adopters in selecting a pet who fits into their lifestyle
- Interact with people and animals
- Oversee "meets" between adopters and available animals.
Age Requirement: 21 or older
Class Requirement: Cat Volunteer requirements, Dog Volunteer requirements, Adoptions Counselor class, training and approval by an Adoptions Counselor Mentor
Administrative Assistance: Provide administrative support to the ASPCA’s administrative programs. Major Responsibilities: Data entry; packet assembly; mailings; required to use Microsoft Access or Excel (no experience necessary)
Age Requirement: 16 or older
Class Requirement: None. Can begin immediately after the New Volunteer Orientation class
Cat Volunteer (On and Off-Site): Provide socialization for the shelter cats. Major Responsibilities: Moving cats in and out of their cages; interacting with the cats in the spaces designated for socialization; assist ASPCA staff/ volunteers working with potential adopters
Age Requirement: 16 or older (18 for off-site)
Class Requirement: Level 1 Cat class, training and approval by a Cat Captain
Dog Volunteer (On and Off-Site): Provide exercise, socialization, and basic training for the shelter dogs. Major Responsibilities: Moving dogs in and out of their cages; walking a dog outdoors for exercise using appropriate equipment; teaching basic obedience; cleaning up after the dogs while outside of their cages, attending supervised behavior modification classes
Age Requirement: 18 or older
Class Requirement: Level 1 Dog class, training and approval by a Dog Captain
Foster Caretaker: Provide temporary housing and care for shelter animals that are sick, injured or juvenile. Major Responsibilities: Provide a safe and clean environment for the foster animals; provide food, water, exercise, and proper socialization for the foster animals; dispense medication as necessary; follow all instructions given by ASPCA staff; foster the animal(s) until they are ready for adoption; return the animal to the ASPCA for adoption
Age Requirement: 21 or older
Class Requirement: Foster Care class (for both cat and dog foster caretakers) and Dog Foster Class (additional class for dog foster caretakers only)
If you are interested in being a Foster Caretaker but don't want to become a volunteer, you can find more information about fostering here.
Veterinary Assistant: Assist the Adoption Center medical staff with the veterinary care of the shelter animals. Major Responsibilities: Retrieve dogs and cats from various locations throughout the ASPCA; restrain animals during examinations and procedures (not expected to handle potentially dangerous animals); cleaning and basic housekeeping.
Age Requirement: 21 or older
Class Requirement: Level 1 and Level 2 Cat volunteer status, Level 1 and Level 2 Dog volunteer status, Defensive Handling class and on-the-job training
Please note, not all volunteer positions are available at all times.
Student Service Learning
* The ASPCA accepts high school students, on a limited basis, who are seeking to fulfill a graduation requirement for community service hours. This Service Learning program is offered twice a year.
Policies for student volunteers in the Service Learning program include:
- Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older (at the time of the orientation in early January).
- Volunteers must commit to a regular schedule with a minimum of 2 hours per week (of administrative duties) from January through June 2013 (summer only applications will not be accepted).
- Students under 18 must understand that they can only help with administrative duties (minimum of 2 hours per week on weekdays) and cat socialization (for additional hours, as desired, not to exceed weekly administrative hours). Students under 18 will not be eligible to volunteer with dogs or to volunteer at off-site events.
- Students must be mature, dependable, ambitious, able to follow instructions and able to work independently on assigned tasks.
- Students with a negative attitude, careless work ethic, inability to follow instructions or unreliability will be terminated from the program.
At this time, the application session is closed. We will be accepting applications again in early June. Please check back at that time. In order to be considered for the program, students must submit a comprehensive written essay. It is important to note that enrollment is limited and not every applicant will be accepted - submission of an essay does not guarantee a spot in the Service Learning program.
If you are not looking to fulfill community service hours and do not require a letter verifying hours, but you are at least 16 years old, you are welcome to come to a traditional New Volunteer Orientation class which would make you eligible for administrative duties and cat socialization - but not to accumulate hours for required community service. Please see the instructions at the top of the page to attend a traditional volunteer orientation.