Volunteers play a critical role in saving the lives of homeless pets, improving conditions for NYC's community cats, and assisting pet owners who need help caring for their pets.

The most rewarding volunteer experience is one that you can both enjoy and feel is making a difference. There are many ways you can help! 

If you’d like to volunteer directly with animals, we encourage you to explore opportunities at Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) or another animal shelter or rescue group

If you’d like to foster an animal, we suggest you contact Animal Care Centers of NYCCity CrittersKittyKind, or another animal shelter or rescue group. You can also find out about foster opportunities through Foster Dogs.

Learn more about fostering.

If you want to help the community cats in your neighborhood, become a TNR Caretaker. Visit Bideawee’s Feral Cat Initiative website to learn how Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) humanely reduces the number of community cats living outdoors, and how you can get involved.

If you love working with people and pets, then volunteering with PAWS NY might be just what you’re looking for. This well-established organization has a wide range of volunteer opportunities to help pets remain in their homes where they belong. Among the opportunities: providing care for a client’s pet in their home, such as dog walking or helping with the litter box; collecting/distributing pet food/supplies; transporting pets to the vet; and more.

HeARTs Speak’s Artists Helping Animals program includes a network of nearly 600 professional artists working to improve the image of animal shelters and animals in need. Artist members contribute their services pro bono through beautiful, professional-quality imagery and promotional pieces, including photographs, graphic design, writing, paintings, sculpture, jewelry, drawings, and videos. Apply to become an Artist Member if you currently use your creative medium to aid in the promotion of homeless pets, or would like to start doing so.

NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) holds free pet vaccination clinics in neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Most of these clinics provide opportunities for volunteers to assist DOHMH staff. Vet techs are especially in demand, but volunteers from almost any background who are over 18 years of age are invited to participate. If you’d like to volunteer to help at these clinics, please email DLPartners@health.nyc.gov (and say that you learned about this volunteer opportunity on the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals website).

If you would like to volunteer to help animals at pet adoption, fundraising, tabling, or community events, you should contact animal shelters and rescue groups to see if they have a need for volunteers to staff their events. 

Woman walking a dog
Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk/Uplash