The training and orientation schedule for each program is slightly different, but on average, training for your selected program will be available anytime from 2-4 weeks after we receive your application.
We do not allow parents to volunteer with their children in the animal shelter at this time.
The Foster Program provides a great opportunity for parents to volunteer with their children. As Foster volunteers you and your child would volunteer from home, caring for kittens and puppies that are too young for adoption.
It typically takes several months for new volunteers to complete their training and feel comfortable on their own, so a commitment of less than six months is not sufficient time.
We ask that you start your volunteer service working with only one species. After you have become an established volunteer with some experience under your belt, you can begin volunteering with the other species.
Absolutely! We have many volunteers that serve different departments simultaneously. For example:
We welcome and value your prior experience. Since all shelters operate independently and have different safety and animal handling protocols, we do require that you complete the same classes as all new volunteers prior to starting service.
Volunteering in the shelter and shelter medicine requires that you commit to a regular weekly shift. We understand that volunteers need to periodically make changes to their schedule; however, the shelter is not a good volunteer fit if your schedule changes weekly. The Foster and Community Medicine Programs can accommodate changing work schedules, provided you can meet the requirements of the program.
We provide short-term volunteer opportunities on the Mission Campus for people working to pay off traffic citations through SF MTA. SF MTA volunteers primarily help with laundry.
We provide special half-day project assignments on the Mission campus Monday- Friday for groups of 12 people or fewer. These projects often include helping with administrative tasks, painting, deep cleaning, gardening, special projects or events and do not include animal care or handling. Your group would receive a tour of our campus and have the opportunity to see our adorable animals in their rooms.
To expedite the adoption process, please complete the cat or dog adoption form and bring a printed copy with you to the SF SPCA Adoption Center (Hours & Location). This helps us better understand what sort of pet you’re looking for so we can guide you every step of the way! Please bring a valid photo ID and verification that you are allowed to have a pet where you currently live.
First, we’ll meet with you to find out more about you and your pet preferences and answer your questions. Our goal is to help you find the pet that best fits your lifestyle and living situation so we want to make sure you have a realistic understanding of the time and resources necessary to provide training, medical treatment, and proper care for your new pet. This can take time so please allow at least one hour for the adoption process.
Once we have a good understanding of your living situation and the type of pet you’re interested in, we’ll make introductions and let you spend some quality time getting to know each other to see if there’s a love connection. It’s important that all household members take part in this important decision so please make sure everyone is present (including any resident dogs if you’re considering adding a new pooch to your pack).
Once love happens, we’ll complete the paperwork, review all the SF SPCA adoption benefits, provide information on any known medical or behavioral issues, and share tips to make the transition a success for both you and your new pet.
We consider you and your new furry friend a part of the SF SPCA family so please reach out with questions ― and be sure to share your adoption stories and pet photos at sfspca.org/stories
Don’t forget to schedule your first free health exam at the SF SPCA Veterinary Hospital within three days of adopting.