High School Volunteer Programs

Our shelter generally requires one to be 18 years of age or older to qualify to volunteer. However, we are able to extend the opportunity and privilege of joining our shelter cat or dog volunteer teams to mature, responsible, enthusiastic, and highly committed students in grades 9-12. This important responsibility includes spending valuable time with shelter cats or dogs, assisting with their direct care, and being available to answer the public's questions.

The High School Volunteer Program provides youth with great opportunities to learn more about cats or dogs, help the animals at our shelter, meet other teens interested in companion animals, and explore animal related careers. The program fosters skills in personal accountability, animal handling, and inter-personal communication.

The Cat or Dog volunteer training courses are designed to screen and prepare students for continued and independent volunteer work in our shelter. Students who successfully graduate the course, which is based on demonstration of the qualifications listed below as well as attendance of all required training classes, will sign up for a weekly volunteer shift, permitting them to volunteer throughout high school.


  • Class meets once per week for three weeks, from 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM.
  • Attendance at all three training classes is required (sorry, no “make-ups”).
  • Refunds will not be provided to participants who are unable to follow-through.
  • The program fee is $90 per participant.
  • Program fees supplement our training classes and help offset the costs associated with staffing and materials. Thanks to generous donations and program fees, the SF SPCA, a non-profit organization, is able to offer a variety of engaging educational and volunteer opportunities to our community's youth.


  • Respectful and thoughtful communication with fellow volunteers, staff, animals, and general public
  • Maturity, safety, and responsibility with strong listening skills
  • The ability and commitment to follow multiple directions and work independently
  • Commitment to the required time obligation of at least 8 hours each month during regular shelter hours for at least 6 months
  • Generosity and enthusiasm, embracing the array of responsibilities associated with animal care and with being a contributing member of a team
  • Kindness, compassion, and patience for all people and animals
  • Please note that all students must meet these qualifications and demonstrate the core competencies of the program in order to successfully graduate from the High School Volunteer Program.

Program Schedule

Please note: The San Francisco SPCA is remodeling its adoption center to meet the current and future needs of our shelter animals and visitors. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-January and complete in Spring of 2014.
During the renovation, the Humane Education department will be affected in terms of scheduling. With the remodel taking place until May of 2014, the High School Volunteer Program will be on hiatus. This program will resume after summer 2014.

How to Register

*Photo credit: Jennifer Jamieson Photography