The Seattle Animal Shelter offers a broad range of volunteer opportunities.

Volunteers help save the lives of thousands of animals each year by assisting in the direct care of animals, fundraising, reaching out to the community and fostering animals in their home.

Volunteer opportunities exist in the following areas:

The Seattle Animal Shelter strives to have an enjoyable, innovative and organized volunteer program that benefits the animals and animal-lovers of Seattle. Volunteers work 365 days a year and are extremely dedicated. To volunteer at the shelter, volunteers must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older.
  • Commit to a weekly, scheduled two-hour shift for six consecutive months of service.
  • Be able to squat, bend, twist, lift and stand for long periods while working directly with the animals.
  • Attend required training classes. 
  • Be able to work independently without direct supervision.
  • Have previous experience handling large dogs if applying for a dog handling program (e.g., Dog Walking, Get Fit with Fido, Adoption Assistants-Dog).

Volunteer application

Access our online volunteer application.

Below is our onboarding and training process for all dog, cat and critter programs:

  1. Complete the online volunteer application.
  2. Applications are reviewed once per month—when your application is reviewed you will receive an email with instructions on how to register for our next volunteer orientation.
  3. Please only apply if you are able to make a six-month commitment.
  4. Volunteer orientations generally take place on the first Sunday of the month (morning) and third Friday of the month (evening). Orientations may be held less frequently, particularly in winter months.
  5. After attending orientation, you'll receive information on next steps, depending on your program of choice.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with us!

Thank you for considering opening your heart and home to one of our Seattle Animal Shelter pets. Your generosity will provide an animal the chance to grow or heal before finding their forever home. Through the foster program, thousands of animals have had a second chance at an amazing life, and the foster program is a critical part of our ability to adopt out as many as 3,000 animals annually. Fostering is an immensely rewarding experience you'll never forget, and it changes animals' lives in a very direct way.

To learn more about fostering, please select the program you are interested in:

Foster care volunteer application

Complete our online volunteer profile. Make sure to select the foster care program you are interested in as your program preference (cats, dogs or critters).