ALERT:  To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, WE ARE NOT ONBOARDING NEW IN-SHELTER VOLUNTEERS AT THIS TIME. We will be training a very limited number of new foster dog and foster critter volunteers, mostly applicants whose experience fits our greatest needs.
We do not have any openings for the following positions: Cat Foster, 9-Lives (Cat Team), Digital Team, Dog Walking, Get Fit with Fido. Please check back in the future to see if applications have been re-opened for these positions. Our Critter Team (small pets other than cats or dogs) does not have any openings on weekends or mornings, but does have some on weekday afternoons. Meanwhile, volunteering as a Shelter Helper or Greeter is a great way to get experience and have priority when there is an opening!

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).

We receive a high volume of applications and have limited openings. You are more likely to get a volunteer shift if you have experience with those animals and have weekday availabillity.

Volunteer application

Our in-shelter volunteer application is not currently available. Please check back for updates.

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

  1. Complete the online volunteer application. Please only apply if you are able to complete a six-month commitment of weekly 2-hour shifts.
  2. You will receive a link for the SAS Volunteer Orientation. Read it and complete the quiz that is linked at the end.
  3. After receiving your completed orientation quiz, we will review it and your application. If your application and availability match the shelter's needs, you will be invited by email to train for a volunteer position. We receive a high volume of applications, so please allow a few weeks to receive this email.

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 volunteers must have experience with the type of animal being fostered. Our greatest need is for volunteers who have experience with training and/or medical support of animals. 

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).