Volunteer FAQs

How do I become an SF SPCA Volunteer?

  • Attend a Volunteer Information Session 
  • At the end of the Information Session you will receive a paper application (if on the Mission campus) or a link to fill out an on-line application (if on the Pacific Heights campus)
  • You will receive an email within 2 weeks of our receipt of your application with information regarding your acceptance into the program and next steps.

How long will it take to get started with my volunteer Service?

Each programs’ training and orientation schedule is slightly different, but on average, training for your selected program will be available anytime from 2-4 weeks after we receive your application.

Can I volunteer with my Child?

We do not allow parents to volunteer with their children in the animal shelter at this time.

The Foster Program provides a great opportunity for parents who want to volunteer with their children. As Foster volunteers you and your child would volunteer from home, caring for kittens and puppies that are too young for adoption.   

Other opportunities for children and youth can be found on the Humane Education webpage.

Can I volunteer if I am in San Francisco for less than 6 months?

Our volunteer program provides volunteers with the knowledge to safely work with our shelter animals. It typically takes several months for new volunteers to complete their training and feel comfortable on their own, so a commitment of less than 6 months is not sufficient time.

Can I volunteer with cats and dogs at the same time in the Adoption Center?

We ask that you start your volunteer service working with only one species. After you have become an established volunteer with some experience under your belt, you can begin volunteering with the other species.

Can I volunteer with more than one program at a time?

Absolutely! We have many volunteers that serve different departments simultaneously.  For example:

  • Kathy is an Animal Assisted Therapy Volunteer with her dog Lucky, but also prepares food for Dogs and does dog walking in the shelter on Sundays.
  • Martin Fosters kittens in him home, but also helps the Community Cares team doing TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) of feral and free roaming cats.

I was a volunteer another SPCA or Humane Society before, does my training transfer?

We welcome and value your prior experience.  Since all shelters operate independently and have different safety and animal handling protocols, we do require that you complete the same classes as all new volunteers prior to starting service.

Can I volunteer if I have a changing schedule?

The Foster and Community Cares programs can accommodate changing work schedules, provided you can meet the requirements of the animals and program.  Volunteering in the Shelter requires that you commit to a regular weekly shift.  We understand that volunteers need to periodically make changes to their schedule, however, the shelter is not a good volunteer fit if your schedule changes weekly.

Can I fulfill community service hours at the SF SPCA?

We provide short term volunteer opportunities on the Mission campus for people working to pay off traffic citations through Project 20.  Project 20 volunteers work primarily in our laundry.   

What are the opportunities for group volunteering?

We provide special half day project assignments on the Mission campus Monday- Friday for groups of 15 people or less.  These projects often include helping with administrative tasks, painting, deep cleaning, gardening, special projects or events and do not include animal care or handling. Your group would receive a tour of our campus and have the opportunity to see our adorable animals in their rooms.