Volunteer FAQs

Ready to become a volunteer but have a few questions?
  1. Attend a Volunteer Information Session
  2. After the information session you will receive a link to our online application
  3. Within a week of our receipt of your application, you will receive an email with information regarding your acceptance into the program and next steps.

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 (LINK) 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.

Our Humane Education Program (LINK) has seasonal volunteer opportunities for children.

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:

  • Kathy is an Animal Assisted Interactions volunteer with her dog Lucky, but also walks shelter dogs on Sundays.
  • Martin fosters kittens in him home, but also helps the Community Cares Team at our mobile vaccine clinics.

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.

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