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.
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 June 1st, so be sure to check back at that date. The application will be available for one week and will close on June 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.
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.
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. Provide support and assistance to all potential pet adopters by providing accurate and relevant information on the Meet Your Match™ Adoption program, introducing available animals and ensuring excellent customer service. Provide support to Adoptions staff. A minimum of two four-hour shifts per month is required.
Age Requirement: 21 or older. Training required and provided.
Responsible for interacting with shelter cats and assisting in the socialization process through interactive play, petting and soothing. This ensures that all cats and kittens receive care and attention, which assists with relieving stress and increases their comfort level with potential adopters.
Age Requirement: 16 or older (21 for off-site). Training required and provided.
Kitten Socialization Volunteer (Nursery: May-October)
In a medical environment, interact with kittens under 8 weeks of age and assist in the socialization process through interactive play, petting and soothing, encouraging them to eat, and ensuring that all kittens receive care and attention. All of this assists with relieving stress and increases their comfort level with potential adopters. Adherence to strict protocols is essential to prevent the spread of disease.
Age Requirement: 16 or older. Training required and provided. Opportunity open to cat volunteers.
Dog Volunteer (Note: Experienced handlers needed)
Responsible for interacting with shelter dogs to assist in the socialization process through the use of interactive play and exercise. Provide basic obedience training and ensure all shelter dogs receive care and attention, which assists with relieving stress and increases their comfort level with potential adopters. This may take place on walks with dogs or by socializing in-kennel.
Age Requirement: 18 or older. Training required and provided.
Dog Reading Volunteer:
Sitting outside dogs’ kennels, read to or play music to the dogs to soothe them and acclimate them to positive human presence. No direct animal contact.
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.
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 (Note: Volunteers with experience in syringe feeding kittens are needed)
In a medical environment, mix kitten food and fill syringe pumps, and feed assigned kittens who do not yet eat on their own and are not meeting nutritional requirements on their own. Adherence to strict protocols is essential to prevent the spread of disease.
Age Requirement: 18 or older. Training required and provided. This is an advanced position and is not open to new volunteers.
Responsible for retrieving Adoption Center animals from their cages, taking them to Adoptions Medical for routine medical exams, restraining and comforting animals during that time, and then returning the animals to their cages.
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.