Volunteer with the ASPCA

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the ASPCA to give your time and love to the animals in our care. We rely on our wonderful volunteers to help with many aspects of our shelter operations. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do all the good things we do.

ASPCA volunteers are vital to providing loving care to the dogs and cats in our shelter located in New York City’s Upper East Side. Our volunteers make such a difference in the lives of the animals by enriching their time at the shelter, helping to place them in new homes, and even fostering animals in their own homes. Volunteers also help with special projects that may arise.

To volunteer at the ASPCA, please note the following:

  • All volunteer opportunities are in New York City. Individuals unable to volunteer in New York City should contact their local animal welfare organization. To find a shelter near you, please visit and click on the Shelters & Rescues tab.
  • Applications are accepted online only and on a quarterly basis (see Steps to Becoming a Volunteer below)
  • Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
    NOTE: More information about the Unleashed program for middle school girls is available here.
  • 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.

Steps to Becoming a Volunteer

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 Tuesday September 1st at 10am through Monday September 7th, so be sure to apply within that time frame.  Just fill out the application online (there will be a link here during the application period).  We are so privileged to consistently receive an overwhelming number of volunteer applications that unfortunately we are unable to accept all of them.  If you are not accepted when you apply, you are welcome to apply again next time.  Thank you again for offering to donate your time and love to the care of the animals at the ASPCA shelter.

Additional training classes will be required, based on your area of interest—see the Types of ASPCA Volunteer Opportunities section below. These classes are provided at no charge and are required for the safety of our volunteers and our animals.

For other volunteer opportunities in NYC, please consider volunteering at the NYC Animal Care and Control (AC&C) shelters in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. You also can go to the Mayor's Alliance website to find a list of almost 150 animal shelters and rescue organizations in NYC that also use volunteer support.

Before becoming an official volunteer, you can help advertise our Adoption Center by hanging flyers around your neighborhood. This helps raise awareness of the animals at our Adoption Center, and encourages people to consider making adoption their first option! Download the Flyer - Cat Version [PDF] | Dog Version [PDF]. Thank you!

If you are interested in fostering cats or kittens (or occasionally, dogs), please visit our foster section for more information.

Types of ASPCA Volunteer Opportunities at the ASPCA Animal Shelter and Adoption Center:

Below are the major volunteer opportunities available and that we are recruiting for at this time. Please note that other opportunities exist, upon further training, for active volunteers who demonstrate advanced animal-handling skills. 

Adoption Counselors: There's only one thing better than seeing pets leave the shelter with their new families, and that’s helping to make it happen! If you enjoy working with people and would like to help secure loving homes for ASPCA shelter dogs and cats, consider becoming a Volunteer Adoption Counselor! Please note that this position requires direct contact with cats; those with serious allergies will not be a good fit for this volunteer opportunity.
Age Requirement: 21 or older.  Training required and provided.

As an Adoptions Counselor, you'll get to:

  • Meet and greet potential adopters when they arrive at the ASPCA
  • Answer questions and assist potential adopters in selecting a pet who fits into their lifestyle
  • Interact with people and animals
  • Oversee "meets" between adopters and available animals.

Cat Volunteer (On and Off-Site): Provide socialization for the shelter cats. Main Responsibilities: Moving cats in and out of their cages; physical interaction with the cats; assist ASPCA staff/ volunteers working with potential adopters.
Age Requirement: 16 or older (18 for off-site).  Training required and provided.

Dog Volunteer (experienced handlers needed): Provide exercise, socialization, and basic training for the shelter dogs. Main Responsibilities: Moving dogs in and out of their cages; walking dogs outdoors for exercise, using appropriate equipment; teaching basic obedience; cleaning up after the dogs while outside of their cages, attending supervised behavior modification classes.
Age Requirement: 18 or older.  Training required and provided.

Foster Caretaker: Provide temporary housing and care for shelter animals that are sick, injured or juvenile. Main Responsibilities: Provide a safe and clean environment for the foster animals; provide food, water, exercise, and proper socialization for the foster animals; dispense medication as necessary; follow all instructions given by ASPCA staff; foster the animal(s) until they are ready for adoption; return the animal to the ASPCA for adoption.
Age Requirement: 21 or older.  Training required and provided.

If you are interested in being a Foster Caretaker but don't want to become a volunteer, you can find more information about fostering here.

Helping Hands: Assist the Adoption Center medical staff with the veterinary care of the shelter animals. Main Responsibilities: Retrieve dogs and cats from various locations throughout the ASPCA; restrain animals during examinations and procedures (not expected to handle potentially dangerous animals); cleaning and basic housekeeping.
Age Requirement: 21 or older. Training required and provided.

Please note, not all volunteer positions are available at all times.

New Volunteer Opportunity with the ASPCA’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey

Behavioral Rehabilitation Center Volunteers: The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, is the first-ever facility dedicated strictly to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty, such as those rescued from puppy mills and hoarding. The Center is staffed by ASPCA behaviorists and trainers, and supported by behavior and care experts from St. Hubert’s. We are approximately a one-hour drive from New York City.

We are currently looking for volunteers who are interested in assisting with the treatment, enrichment and daily care of these canine victims.

Rehab Center volunteer tasks may include:

  • Assisting with behavior modification sessions (under the direct supervision of staff)
  • Serving as assistant and videographer during behavior evaluations
  • Preparing and distributing enrichment items
  • Performing daily care tasks (preparing food and treats, spot cleaning kennels, etc.)
  • Fulfilling other duties as needed

*Please note: Because the dogs in our care come from puppy mill and hoarding cases, all of them are severely undersocialized and fearful. For this reason, volunteer handling will be limited.

Age Requirement: 18 or older

Additional Requirements: Strong interest in dogs; basic knowledge of dog behavior and body language

Interview Requirement: 10-15 minute phone interview with a staff member

Class Requirement: Orientation session

Sorry, we are not accepting volunteer applications to the Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at this time.  Please check back again soon.  Thank you.