San Diego Humane Society and SPCA

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Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions


Volunteer with two cats in habitatHow often do you accept volunteer applications?
We currently accept applications from prospective volunteers on an every other month basis.  The application is available on our website during the months of January, March, May, July, September, and November.  Completed applications must be received by the volunteer office by the last day of the month to be considered for that cycle.

How do I become a volunteer?

  1. After your application is received you will receive confirmation from one of our Volunteer Coordinators.  You will be invited to attend a group interview session where you will receive more information about the San Diego Humane Society and the various volunteer opportunities we have available as well as a behind-the-scenes tour.  We look forward to getting to know you and showing you our campuses.
  2. Following the interview, the Volunteer Engagement department will validate your application and contact you if there is an appropriate volunteer assignment that matches your skills, interests and schedule.
  3. Once you have received your assignment, we will schedule training necessary for our program.  This will include a Volunteer Orientation as well as a training workshop and/or shadow training with a staff member.

How old do you have to be to volunteer?
We have limited opportunities for youth volunteers. At our North Campus, youth ages 16 can volunteer for positions with cats, rabbits, and office roles. Please note our canine companion and foster volunteer positions are for ages 18+.

At our Central Campus, volunteers aged 14 or 15 can apply for our Cat Companion or Small Animals Programs.  These volunteers must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, who is also an approved volunteer, at all times while volunteering. Volunteers aged 16 or 17 can apply for our Cat, Small Animals, Dog Buddy and Canine Companion programs and may volunteer unaccompanied.

I’m not quite 14 yet but my friends and I really want to help.  Isn’t there anything we can do?
While you are not yet able to work directly in the shelter, we do have a few options for volunteers who do not meet the minimum age requirement.  Two things you might want to try:

  • Host a donation drive at your school or in your community to collect various new or used items from our Wish List such as towels, blankets and pet supplies which you can then donate to our shelter. 
  • Print Furry Fliers off of our website and distribute around your neighborhood to help us get our available animals adopted.  Furry Fliers can be found here».

Can I get community service hours for school?
After completion of your six month commitment as a volunteer, we are happy to verify hours for school programs.

Can I satisfy court-ordered community service requirements?
At this time, we are unable to verify hours to meet community service requirements mandated by the court.

What is the minimum time requirement?
We ask that our new volunteers make an initial commitment of six months.  Monthly hour minimums vary by program but plan to spend at least six hours a month volunteering to meet requirements of most programs.  

Volunteer with red dogIf I complete your application can I volunteer at any Humane Society in the county?
All humane societies are independent organizations.  If you are interested in working with another animal welfare organization, you must complete their volunteer application process. Also - please note that volunteers will be assigned to assist at a specific campus (North Campus, Central Campus or El Cajon Petco) of their choosing.

Are there any costs associated with volunteering for the San Diego Humane Society?
Volunteers are required to purchase a t-shirt or apron to complete their volunteer uniform.  These uniform pieces are available for less than $15 at any of our Muttique locations.

All volunteers working with dogs at our Central Campus location (Dog Buddies and Canine Companions) will wear a volunteer vest for $20.  Pet-Assisted Therapy volunteers with CGC certified therapy dogs must purchase a therapy dog vest for $40. 

How do I get my dog involved in Pet-Assisted Therapy?
Please see our information here».

How can my group get involved in volunteering?
We have three great opportunities for groups to volunteer.  Each year our special events, the Fur Ball, the Walk for Animals and our telethon, require the help of hundreds of volunteers.  For more information on how to get involved with any of these great events, please contact


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