Become an AAT Volunteer

The checklist below gives more information on qualifying for work in the general AAT Program, where all teams begin and serve at least one quarter before starting advanced training. NOTE: All incoming teams must have at least two obedience courses prior to registering for Preliminary Evaluation.

  • Application
    Please download and submit an application to begin your volunteer processing. Note: at this time we are prioritizing applications for new volunteers with availability on weekdays during regular business hours.  If you are only able to volunteer on weekends and/or evenings, we are accepting those applications but may not have as many visit opportunities for you at this time.

  • AAT Orientation
    All participants must complete an AAT orientation, which are offered on the San Francisco SPCA campus throughout the year. Please use the link to register.

  • AAT Training Series
    Teams strengthen skills and responses required 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 three weeks, one hour per week. Teams train at the San Francisco SPCA for two sessions and spend the third working in the field. The fee is $200—payment arrangements are available to those in need. You will be eligible to sign up for class after orientation.

  • Veterinary Health Certification
    Veterinary certification verifies that your pet is free of zoonotic diseases and current on vaccines. We require proof of rabies vaccination, surgical alteration, a negative fecal result and overall good health.

  • Shadow Visit
    Shadowing enables 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


*Frail Seniors


*Hospital Patients

*Convalescent Centers

*Skilled Nursing

*Psychiatric Units

*Adult Day Health


*Mental/Behavioral Health

*Developmentally Disabled Adults



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

Contact the Animal Assisted Therapy department at 415.554.3060 or email