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How to Volunteer for an Animal Shelter?

Man holding puppy in the air at eye level with cages and other animal lovers in the background

Volunteering at a shelter is an enjoyable way of helping animals because you work for their welfare. Volunteers can make a huge contribution to prevent cruelty, endorse kindness, and lessen the suffering of animals. In addition to the satisfaction associated with this job, they are also paid for their services. Keep reading to know about the general steps and basic requirements to volunteer at an animal shelter.

Want to volunteer at an animal sanctuary but don’t know where to start? Check out our post “How to Volunteer at an Animal Sanctuary? to learn more.

Where Should You Volunteer?

It is important to research the animal shelter before picking the one where you want to volunteer. Mostly, there are animal shelters that care for dogs and cats, but there are some that also take care of rabbits, rats, snakes, birds, and other critters. Therefore, anyone who has any phobias or allergies to these animals should avoid volunteering at such places. This is because it can be harmful to the person as well as to animals.

How to Volunteer for ASPCA?

Close up of a kitten in a cage

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Volunteering (ASPCA) offers different services like fighting for animal rights, adoption centers, and animal shelters where they work for the well-being of animals. Volunteering at the ASPCA in New York City (NYC) connects the people to its mission. The mission of ASPCA is to provide effective means to animals to prevent them from being cruel throughout the United States.

The primary need of ASPCA for a volunteer role is called Shelter Support. This precarious role directly supports their operations and can offer great help to them. Shelter support volunteers contribute to the daily care tasks of animals under the supervision of Integrated Care Assistants (ICA). The basic requirements and procedural details for becoming a volunteer in ASPCA are discussed below:

Interested in helping injured animals but don’t know where to start? Check out our post “How to Volunteer at an Animal Hospital” to learn more.

Man in a white volunteer shirt kneeling next to a dog with kennels in the background

Volunteer Requirements

  • Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.
  • All volunteers who want to apply must watch the NYC Volunteer information session video before applying.
  • After watching the video, fill out the form (including your name and email), and attempt the required quiz.
  • It is a must to complete the quiz with an 85% score, which is the passing criteria for every volunteer.  
  • After successfully passing the quiz, a link is provided to the volunteer application through email.
  • Volunteers should tell us more about themselves and their experiences or attach the required document.
  • Applicants who are volunteering to fulfill court-appointed community services should get rejected as it is currently not accepted by ASPCA.
  • Volunteers who are fully vaccinated (Including Covid vaccinated) will be eligible to volunteer with the ASPCA.
  • The new volunteers should have a habit of learning new things because there will be 1-2 training sessions.
  • Volunteers must be committed as they need to assist ICAs in providing shelter support.
  • While assisting, they have to do several jobs like laundry, sorting donated goods, stocking supplies, washing and sanitizing dishes, or transporting cages.
  • Additional support is also needed. For example, shelter volunteers must be able to stand for up to three hours and can lift to 35 pounds.
  • Cleaning empty animal enclosures are part of the volunteer’s job.

Watch NYC Volunteer Information Session Video

Watching this informative video is the first step for volunteers before applying to ASPCA Volunteer Program. This is because it can cover all the important aspects of the internship. It will provide all the information about training, duties, operational routine, and staff members of the volunteer program, to every applicant.

There is also a quiz based on the video which can verify whether you understand the basics of the program or not. The passing score of the quiz is 85 percent. Hence it is vital to watch the video before applying because it can help you to avoid rejection.


Woman in an apron holding a kitten next to a cage with more kittens

ASPCA volunteers establish a commitment to learning and must be flexible to support the change depending on the needs of the animals and the organization.  Volunteers should have a commitment and dedication to work to provide a better life for animals. They commit to treating animals and people with care and respect.

Committed to receiving feedback and providing responses from/to volunteer program staff. They have a motivated attitude and an aspiration to represent the ASPCA professionally and passionately. As an ASPCA volunteer, you can make a difference.

Want to know How to Volunteer at an Animal Rescue? Click here to find out.

Safety Measures

Senior woman wearing a mask, holding up a kitten

Volunteers should understand the philosophies and policies of ASPCA including their Guiding Principles. Guided by various enthusiastic ASPCA staff members, volunteers should work to improve animals’ lives in direct and impactful ways. As the safety of animals is most important for ASPCA, so they will make sure that only fully vaccinated individuals will be eligible to volunteer with them.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement policy of the ASPCA is available here. So, kindly read the policy carefully and submit the proof of vaccination as per the Instructions once your application has been accepted. It is good that you should take the proof along with you at the onsite orientation because attendance will be dependent on this submission.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.