Volunteer at the ASPCA Adoption Center

Volunteer at the ASPCA Adoption Center

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 provide vital loving care to dogs and cats at the ASPCA Adoption Center, located in New York City’s Upper East Side. Our volunteers make such a difference by enriching the animals' time at the shelter and helping to place them in new homes.

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 petfinder.com and click on the Shelters & Rescues tab.

  • Applications are only accepted online and on a quarterly basis, generally the first week of March, June, September and December (see Steps to Becoming a Volunteer below)

  • Volunteers must be at least 16 years old. Sorry, no exceptions.

  • 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 or group projects.

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

  • Students who need community service hours should apply to the volunteer program during the regular quarterly application. Students in our Service Learning program must commit to a regular weekly schedule including at least one weekday afternoon each week, for six months. Duties are primarily administrative though animal socialization at other times is encouraged.

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 open at 10am on March 1st, so be sure to check back at that date. The application will be available for one week and will close on March 7th. Just fill out the application online (there will be a link here during the application period).  We are extremely fortunate to consistently receive an overwhelming response from individuals who want to be a part of our program, so 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 your interest in donating your time and love to the care of the animals at the ASPCA shelter.

For other volunteer opportunities in NYC, please consider volunteering at the NYC Animal Care Centers (ACC) 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 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:  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.
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 cats.

Age Requirement: 21 or older. Training required and provided.

Cat Volunteer: Provide socialization for the shelter cats.
Main Responsibilities:

  • Moving cats in and out of their cages;

  • Physical interaction with the cats;

Age Requirement: 16 or older (21 for off-site). Training required and provided.

Kitten Socialization Volunteer: Provide socialization for the kittens in the nursery (generally May-October).
Main Responsibilities:

  • Adhering to strict protocols in order to prevent the spread of disease;

  • Physical interaction with the kittens;

Age Requirement: 16 or older. Training required and provided. Opportunity open to cat volunteers.

Dog Volunteer: Provide exercise, socialization, and basic training for the shelter dogs.
Note: Experienced handlers needed.

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.

Dog Reading Volunteer: Read or play calming music for dogs who are victims of cruelty or neglect.

Main Responsibilities:

  • Adhering to guidelines for the program.

Age Requirement: 16 or older. Training required and provided. 

Foster Caregiver: 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 Caregiver but don't want to become a volunteer at the Adoption Center, you can find more information about fostering here.

Kitten Syringe Feeding: Provide nutritional supplementation to kittens between 4-8 weeks of age who are not eating on their own.
Note: Volunteers with experience in syringe feeding kittens are needed.

Main Responsibilities:

  • Mix food, calculate portions, maintain hygienic usage of materials, feed kittens and clean up.

Age Requirement: 18 or older. Training required and provided. This is an advanced position and is not open to new volunteers.

Helping Hands: Assist the Adoption Center medical staff with the care of the shelter animals.
Main Responsibilities:

  • Retrieve dogs and cats from various locations throughout the ASPCA;

  • Provide basic support to medical staff during examinations and procedures (not expected to handle potentially dangerous animals).

Age Requirement: 21 or older. Training required and provided. This is an advanced position and is not open to new volunteers.

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