How to Become an AAT Volunteer

Note: At this time we are actively recruiting volunteers who have business hour, weekday availability. We have extremely limited availability for those with only evening and/or weekend availability.

Serving our community in these unique ways requires training and evaluation for both you and your pet to ensure the safety of our clients. The checklist below gives more information on the volunteer process to qualify for work in the General Program, where all teams begin and serve at least one quarter before starting any advanced training.

  • Application
    Please download and remit an application to begin your volunteer processing.
  • AAT Orientation
    All participants in the Programs must complete an AAT Orientation. These are offered on the SF SPCA campus throughout the year. Please use the link to register for an upcoming orientation.
  • AAT Training Series
    Teams strengthen skills and responses requisite to safely, effectively and compassionately face the challenges of visitation. Training and evaluation includes guided practice, personalized strategies for improvement, multiple opportunities to demonstrate test elements and a take-home assignment. The class meets for 3 weeks, one hour per week. Teams will train at The SF/SPCA for two sessions and spend the third working in the field. The fee is $150—payment arrangements are available to those in need. You will be eligible to sign up for the class after this orientation.
  • Veterinary Health Certification
    The primary purpose of veterinary certification is to show that your pet is free of zoonotic diseases and current on vaccines. Specifically, we require proof of rabies vaccination, surgical alteration, a negative fecal result and overall good health.
  • Shadow Visit
    The purpose of shadowing is to enable incoming teams to experience visitation first hand. Many of our long term volunteers offer shadowing opportunities and you will receive a list of “Shadow Casters” at orientation.
Standard certification prepares teams for
*Seniors *Frail Seniors *Hospice
*Hospital Patients *Convalescent Centers *Skilled Nursing
*Psychiatric Units *Adult Day Health *Rehabilitation
*Mental/Behavioral Health *Developmentally Disabled Adults  

NOTE: Those interested in working with children and/or adolescents through Puppy Dog Tales and other occasional opportunities must complete Canine Good Citizen Certification (CGC) and fingerprinting and submit TB test results.

For information on the CGC go here. Handlers must have Live Scan fingerprinting results submitted directly to AAT. We are unable to accept prints sent to other organizations or copies of records from other sources without exception.

Thank you for your interest in sharing the love of your companion animal with those in need.

Please direct further inquiries to