At the ASPCA, we love our volunteers. These kindhearted people give their time and love to animals in our care, and we rely on them to help with many aspects of our shelter operations. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do all the good things we do!
If you are in the New York City area and are interested in volunteering at the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, here are a few things to note:
All ASPCA volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
Volunteers must be able to commit to a minimum of eight hours per month for a minimum of six months. Due to the extensive training requirements, we are not able to accept short-term volunteers.
The ASPCA does not accept volunteers needing to fulfill court-appointed community service.
Some of the major volunteer opportunities available at the ASPCA include Adoption Counselors, Cat Volunteers, Dog Volunteers, Foster Caretakers and Veterinary Assistants. For active volunteers who demonstrate advanced animal-handling skills, other opportunities may exist pending further training. For detailed descriptions of each position, visit our official Volunteer page.
If you’re eager to get started, please note the ASPCA’s Volunteer Program accepts online applications on a quarterly basis (sorry, we no longer accept paper applications). The next application period will be from Monday, December 1 at 10:00 A.M. through Sunday, December 8—so be sure to return and apply in that time!
Not in New York City? Don’t worry! There are plenty of fantastic animal welfare organizations across the country that can use your help. Check out the shelter finder tool to locate the shelter nearest you. Good luck and happy volunteering!
If you volunteer or work at your local shelter or spay/neuter clinic, or are involved in rescue work to help animals in your community, we’ve got a couple of questions for you...
Q. When is a paper plate not just a paper plate?
A. When it’s a make-shift E-collar for kittens who’ve just been spayed or neutered! Time- and money-savers, paper plates are great for use in foster homes, where you may not always have access to E-collars (especially late at night!), and can be used in shelter clinics when a quick E-collar is called for.
Q. What can you put in a baby pool other than water?
A. Puppies! Easy to clean, disinfect and reuse, baby pools are perfect for use in a shelter setting as a safe and sanitary area to contain pups, as well as for providing mom easy retreat for some R&R.
Q. Does saving animals’ lives knock your socks off?
A. Baby socks can be used to keep paws warm while animals are under anesthesia and recovering from surgery, as shown here.
Seeing a common theme? These everyday items can make life a little easier for the homeless animals you help care for, and can go a long way to stretch precious dollars for your local agencies, many of which rely on volunteers and animal advocates in the community.
With a little help from shelters all around the country, the team at ASPCApro, ASPCA.org’s sister website for animal welfare professionals, has put together a downloadable guide that’s free for shelter and rescue staff and volunteers, and anyone else involved in helping their community’s animals.
You know what they say: kindness is contagious. That’s why we love Be Kind to Animals Week, which kicks off today! Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated every year during the first week in May, and this year marks its 99th anniversary. And while we know that you’re kind to animals all year round, this week is a great excuse to get active. Here are four ways you can show your compassion for furry friends everywhere:
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade: Sign up for the Advocacy Brigade to receive important alerts from the ASPCA. We’ll contact you when we need your help fighting for laws against animal cruelty.
Help Fight Puppy Mills: Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills—large, sub-standard breeding facilities. Help us put puppy mills out of business by pledging not to shop in stores that sell puppies (not even for food or toys!).
Show Your Virtual Support: Spread the word about Be Kind to Animals Week through Facebook, Twitter, or your blog! And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ to keep track of breaking animal welfare news.
Volunteer: From walking dogs to fundraising, there are tons of ways you can get involved with your local animal shelter. Even if you can’t make a long-term commitment, consider lending a hand today! We can always use the help.
Here at the ASPCA, we’re extremely grateful for the unwavering dedication of our volunteers. In just 18 months, volunteer Tamara B. has accrued more than 700 volunteer hours, assisting with numerous tasks—Hurricane Sandy relief, cat socialization, kitten syringe feeding and adoptions counseling, just to name a few. Tamara shared her story with us:
When I was asked to share my home with a feisty cat named Gypsy, I had no idea how my life would change or where he would lead me. I didn’t know the term “animal socialization” then, and neither did he—I have the scars to prove it. Through trial and error, we found our way together and formed a loving, inseparable bond.
When Gypsy needed emergency care, I was referred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital. I was so impressed by the assistance and excellent medical care that Gypsy received; I knew I needed to do something to show our appreciation. I couldn’t give a large monetary donation but I could give my time. I applied to become a volunteer.
No matter how busy your schedule, the ASPCA makes it easy for volunteers to make the minimum commitment. Once I began volunteering, I found I wanted to give more of my time. There are many different roles for volunteers, and it’s a great learning experience. I started doing syringe feeding for young kittens that are still learning to eat on their own. No matter how stressful my work day had been, holding those little kittens washed that away. It was so rewarding to feed one of the little kittens, watch it grow a little bigger over time, and, while volunteering as an Adoptions Counselor, help that same kitten find a loving home.
Besides the great animals that I have met at the ASPCA, I have also met many wonderful people—the other volunteers, the staff and the adopters. I am honored to be part of this organization. My family and friends are impressed with my dedication, and Gypsy is proud of me, too.
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Animal shelters provide an invaluable service for animals in need, providing them with food, shelter, medical care and love. Many shelters operate with limited resources, doing their best to care for a population of needy animals that almost seems endless.
National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week was created to honor the hardworking staff and volunteers who spend their lives helping homeless pets and inspire pet lovers to get involved with their local shelter or rescue. Need some ideas of how you can help? Here are a few of our favorites!
Volunteer your time. Socializing shelter pets helps them become better equipped to transition from shelter life to their new homes. Spend an afternoon playing with cats or walking dogs. Many shelters need more advanced helpers to work with canines in obedience classes as well.
Organize an event. Make your local shelter a cause for celebration! Throw a themed party, set up a bake sale, or parade your pet in a dog walk and donate the proceeds to your shelter. You’ll raise awareness, meet new animal-loving friends and help homeless pets.
Go shopping or get crafty! Besides monetary donations, shelters are in constant need of basic supplies that can be found at your local grocery or discount store like food, cleaning supplies, toys and other pet care supplies. Call your shelter and ask what they need most and what brands they use before you take your shopping trip for the cause. You can also make some catnip toys to keep boredom at bay—they’re easy to make and kid-friendly!