Volunteer at the ASPCA Adoption Center

Volunteer at the ASPCA Adoption Center

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the ASPCA! 

ASPCA volunteers provide vital support to our shelter operations and the care of dogs and cats at the ASPCA Adoption Center, located in New York City’s Upper East Side. Volunteering at our Adoption Center connects the people in our community to the ASPCA’s efforts to improve animals’ lives in direct and impactful ways.

As an ASPCA volunteer, you can make a difference.

The health and safety of our employees, clients, partners and the animals in our care is the ASPCA's top priority. Out of an abundance of caution related to the ongoing COVID-19 situation across New York City, the ASPCA Adoption Center and Kitten Nursery are temporarily closed to the public. During this time, we are unable to open enrollment for new volunteer orientations. Please continue to check back for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience and support.

Guided by our diverse and dedicated staff members, volunteers learn and use sheltering best practices to enhance the quality of care provided to both animals and visitors at our Adoption Center. ASPCA volunteers form a vital network of informed animal welfare advocates who will be empowered to share their own learnings and knowledge with their friends and neighbors, making NYC a safer and more humane community for animals.

Shelter Support volunteers assist staff by:

  • preparing and distributing animal meals and enrichment
  • cleaning cat and dog enclosures
  • recording observations of animal wellbeing
  • providing additional support, as needed

Qualities of a Shelter Support volunteer:

  • Desire to contribute directly to the welfare of shelter animals
  • Team player who works well with others
  • Able to understand, remember and adhere to written and oral instructions in English
  • Physically able to bend or kneel and able to lift up to 25 lb.
  • Physically able to stand unassisted for up to three hours
  • Motivated with a positive demeanor


  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Must complete a full-day orientation on a weekend (date options to be shared upon acceptance into the program).
  • Ability to volunteer for shifts that are offered seven days a week from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
  • Ability to volunteer for three shifts per month for three consecutive months

After the three-month commitment is fulfilled, additional volunteer opportunities, such as socializing our cats, walking our dogs, and aiding with adoption tours and matchmaking, may be available with further training. If you are interested in helping in other ways, we also encourage you to consider fostering a shelter animal in your home. Or click on “How You Can Help” at the top of this page to learn about other ways to get involved.

Please note the following:

This volunteer opportunity is based 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 petfinder.com and click on the Shelters & Rescues tab.

The ASPCA does not accept volunteers needing to fulfill court-appointed community service requirements. 

The ASPCA is not able to accommodate single-day or group volunteer opportunities at this time.