Austin Animal Center is the largest municipal shelter in Central Texas, providing services to around 23,000 animals annually. Last year alone our volunteers donated almost 49,000 hours to help meet the needs of those animals. Our volunteers are an integral part of providing core services to our shelter pets, assistance to the customers that visit us and engaging & educating the community through outreach efforts. Volunteers add that special human connection to the everyday lives of our animals through walking & exercising dogs, socializing cats, assisting the Veterinary Services team and much more. AAC volunteers receive animal behavior training specially designed for the shelter environment, and have the opportunity to apply their own individual skills and experience toward mentoring and leadership roles as well. Depending on your interest, skill set, availability and reason for wanting to help, there is a place for you – whether at AAC, at home, or in the community.
The three ways to volunteer with Austin Animal Center are as an individual volunteer, a one-time group volunteer or as a foster care provider:
1)Individual volunteers serve as ongoing volunteers in our program working hands on with the animals, doing customer service and helping our in house Veterinary Services team. Individuals who enroll as a volunteer are expected to contribute a minimum of six hours a month, but are certainly welcome to contribute more. Our volunteer program is very flexible allowing volunteers to be here from 7am-10pm, 365 days a year enabling you to schedule your own shifts, whenever works best for you. There are also many at-home projects and outreach opportunities in the community for our volunteers who can’t make it to the shelter.
Here are just some of the positions you’ll be able to choose from as an individual volunteer:
- Dog Adoption Ambassadors: Help adopters find the right dog for their family. Many visitors walk away without adopting simply because the AAC facility is so large and can be overwhelming. This position’s primary functions are to help people visit with pets including assistance getting dogs out of kennels for visitors, answering questions about each animal and providing education and resources.
- Cat Enrichment & Adoption volunteer: Cat whisperers, we need you! AAC can be a scary place for cats, with lots of noise and activity. Cat enrichment volunteers spend time giving extra love and attention to fearful felines, ensuring they are in clean and comfortable kennels. They also make sure rambunctious kittens get much-needed exercise and toys. Providing friendly customer service while assisting visitors in their search for their new family cat is also an integral part of the Cat Volunteer job.
- Dog Enrichment volunteer: If you’ve visited AAC, you know there are lots of dogs! Our dog enrichment volunteers make sure all our dogs get the exercise and attention they need to stay happy and healthy while they wait for their homes. Many of our medium and large dogs wait months to find their new families, so dog enrichment volunteers play a lifesaving role. Volunteers can work with dogs both on and offsite and many of our volunteers foster their favorite dogs. Have a training or behavior background? You can help teach our dogs basic obedience skills through positive reinforcement training!
- Greeters: Possibly the most important volunteer role in the entire shelter, the greeter is the first person our visitors see when they walk through the door. This position answers questions, guides potential adopters to the appropriate areas and serves as a point of contact for visitors. Studies have shown that how people are greeted has a huge impact on whether or not they adopt a pet, so this role is perfect for outgoing, social people.
- Cat and kitten medical assistant: Help care for felines with ringworm, upper respiratory illness and other common medical conditions.
- Outreach volunteer: Represent AAC at community events, schools, libraries and community centers.
Apply and register for a New Volunteer Orientation here!
2)One-time group volunteers are volunteers that come with a group of 6-16 people to help walk dogs and/or socialize cats up to twice a month without joining our volunteer program. One-time group shifts usually last 3 hours on a pre-scheduled date.
To be eligible to be a one-time group volunteer you must:
- Have a group of 6-16 participants
-Be at least 17 years of age
-Complete and submit the online request form (on our website). Availability is on a first come, first serve basis.
Fill out a Group Volunteer request form here!
3)Think you might struggle to find the time to visit the shelter and volunteer? Worried about being able to meet the six hour per month volunteer requirement? We may have the perfect solution for you. Become a foster care provider! When you opt to foster an animal, you can accrue impact hours in the Volunteer Program from the comfort of your own home!
We are currently seeking volunteers to foster our longer stay dogs. Opening your home to one of these dogs will not only give them a break from the shelter, it will allow YOU to be their number one advocate! You won’t just be a foster care provider, you will be a photographer, videographer, biographer, a marketing specialist, and an adoption counselor, all while earning impact hours at a rate of two hours for each day that you foster. To get started fostering, please click here to complete the foster application online.
If you have additional questions, please contact the Foster Coordinator directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and the Volunteer Coordinators directly at email@example.com.
More information is on our website at austinanimalcenter.org, click on the volunteer and foster tabs!
We look forward to you joining our team!!