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Volunteer at a Local Shelter

Can’t foster or adopt a shelter dog? There are many ways to help a shelter pup, even if you can’t bring one home. Volunteer for a local shelter, and make a difference in many animals’ lives!

2 FosterDogsNYC volunteers

Our Foster Dogs volunteers help make our efforts possible, and we know that there are many shelters who would appreciate such dedicated support.

Here are several local shelters and rescue groups where you can walk with (and play with) shelter pooches.

NYC Animal Care Centers (ACC)

Volunteer info

This municipal shelter has several locations: Manhattan (Harlem), Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Thousands of animals per year go through their doors. You can volunteer as a dog or cat companion, a dog walker, a bunny helper, adoption counselor, event helper, and through fostering. AC&C asks that volunteers make a commitment of 6 months with a minimum of 8 hours each month. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. See orientation dates and locations here.

Sean Casey Animal Rescue

Volunteer info

This Brooklyn rescue group finds homes for many dogs as well as many other species, and needs help with dog walking and animal care. Open daily 11 AM – 7 PM. Age requirements: 18+ to volunteer as a dog walker (volunteers under 21 must be accompanied by a guardian). 13+ to be a traditional volunteer without a parent or guardian (children 4-12 an volunteer with a guardian but restrictions apply), and volunteers must attend an orientation. Training sessions are held every 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month from 7-8 PM at their Windsor Terrace location.

Locations: Windsor Terrace, 153 E 3rd St, Brooklyn, 718-436-5163. Sunset Park (Under Construction 2015), 551 39th St, Brooklyn, 347-599-1500


Volunteer info

This midtown organization provides shelter, health care and compassion to homeless cats and dogs. Animal lovers help out in the usual ways: walking, feeding, cleaning and socializing with animals in Bideawee’s care. They also can help out by attending events, helping with administrative tasks and participating in Bideawee’s pet therapy program. Its volunteers also include the four-legged friends themselves—at Bideawee, pups are trained to visit schools and libraries and work alongside volunteers as part of the Reading to Dogs Learning Center, which encourages kids to improve their literacy skills. Bideawee requires that all volunteers working directly with the animals be 18+. But there are opportunities for those younger than 18 when accompanied by a relative. Bideawee also has opportunities that can satisfy school community service requirements. Volunteer Application.

Location: 410 E 38th St, between 1st Ave and FDR Dr, 866-262-8133

Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition (BARC)

Volunteer info

At this Williamsburg shelter, volunteering can be a onetime occurrence or a regular activity; the time commitment is completely up to you. Simply drop by with a photo ID during designated volunteer hours (dog walking hours listed on their website. BARC doesn’t have volunteer shifts on Saturday and Sunday evenings), fill out a form, and you’re ready to work. Dog walking is the most in-demand activity, but the group also needs help with brushing, petting and socializing with kitties in the Cat Loft. All dog walkers must be 21+, no exceptions.

Location: 253 Wythe Ave, at N 1st St, Williamsburg, BK, 718-486-7489

Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals

Volunteer info

This coalition of more than 150 animal-rescue groups and shelters works with NYC Animal Care & Control to prevent the unnecessary killing of healthy and adoptable shelter pets. Opportunities to pitch in are numerous, and include working hands-on with animals (if you’re over 18) or donating through the alliance’s website. Follow this link for a Volunteer Application.


Volunteer info

This national animal-advocacy group was founded in New York City in 1866. The ASPCA always needs a hand with numerous activities, including dog walking and feeding kittens; the group is also seeking adoption counselors and veterinary assistants. Volunteers are required to attend a two-hour orientation class, during which they learn about the organization’s philosophies and policies; they must also be 16 or older, and commit to working eight hours per month for a minimum of six months. The ASPCA also has a program, launched in 2014, called Unleashed Empower, which is a non-profit after-school program for middle schools launched throughout NYC to empower girls and create animal advocates. Girls will learn about different animal cruelty issues and help out with intake of animals, behavior assessments and assist in recruiting foster families and adopters.

Location: 424 E 92nd St, between 1st and York Aves, 212-876-7700

Animal Haven

Volunteer info

*Animal Haven is currently in the process of moving to a new location (only 2 blocks from the original location) and will be open in January 2016. During this time Animal Haven isn’t accepting new volunteers. In addition to its SoHo headquarters, this 45-year-old charity operates a mobile adoption center that travels throughout the greater New York and New Jersey area. Volunteers assist with a number of daily tasks, including feeding, handling and bathing the animals.

*January 2016: new location 200 Centre Street, between Hester St. and Grand St., 212-274-8511

Social Tees Animal Rescue

Volunteer info

Social Tees is located in the East Village and takes abandoned animals from kill shelters and provides them with a safe haven and veterinary care before placing animals in forever homes. STAR not only works with cats and dogs, but they also take in birds and reptiles as well. Age requirement: 21 years old, with a 3-month commitment. STAR asks that people commit to volunteering on a weekly basis.

Location: 325 East 5th Street, between 2nd and 1st Aves

Mighty Mutts

Volunteer info

This shelter located in the East Village is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating the strays of NYC. Their dogs are kept in foster homes but volunteers can help out at their weekly adoption events at Petco – Union Square (860 Broadway, near Union Square Park). Mighty Mutts volunteers help walk dogs, show them off and spread the word. The minimum age to volunteer with dogs is 18. Cats are held at the adoption center in the East Village where volunteers help clean crates, feed, care for and social cats. The minimum age to volunteer with cats is 14. Download the application and email: to volunteer or learn more information. If you don’t have time for a regular volunteer shift, you can help out by writing, blogging, photographing and more! There is no shortage of ways to help out!

Locations: Dogs: Southwest corner of Union Square Park (14th Street and Union Square West) and in Petco – Union Square (860 Broadway). Cats: 430 E. 9th Street (Between Ave A and 1st Ave). Friday: 5:30 – 8pm; Sat – Sun: 12pm – 5pm

North Shore Animal League

Volunteer Info

This Long Island shelter opened in 1944, and is the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization. Age requirement is 16 years old. All volunteers must commit to 4 hours weekly for at least one year, after their interview and attending a volunteer orientation. Volunteer application.

Location: 25 Davis Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050

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