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Volunteer Programs

Volunteer Al clicker training at Forrest Park
Some of Our amazing Sunday Cat Crew, volunteers Erica and Cyndi
Clean Team groomer Diana, helping a matted dog feel oh so much better!

The Center is always in need of volunteers.  We offer many wonderful opportunities for people to make a difference for our homeless animals.  Volunteer positions range from animal caretakers to office help to providing foster care for animals with the greatest needs.  Please consider offering your time and talents to make life better for animals who are in transition.

Click here for volunteer opportunities


How old must I be in order to work with animals?    You must be at least 18 years old to work directly with animals. Volunteers often work "behind the scenes" and there is an element of risk involved. For this reason, we ask that volunteers be at an age to make their own medical decisions.

Do you need to have prior animal experience to become a volunteer?   Prior animal experience is helpful, but not necessary to become a volunteer. You should be able to communicate well enough to follow instructions. You will also be working closely with other volunteers and staff, so you must be able to get along with others. Additionally, you should also have the ability to work independently without close supervision.

Do I need any particular skills to work with animals?   You should be in reasonably good physical shape to walk dogs; some are very strong and pull hard on their leash. There is a fair amount of strenuous activity involved in just about all of our animal care volunteer opportunities. If you take immuno-suppressive drugs, you should speak with your physician before working with animals.

What's involved in the foster care program?    Foster homes are needed for many different situations.  Some animals are too young for adoption, may have an injury, or may need a different environment than the Adoption Center can provide. Foster care is needed for those animals who are adoptable, but just need time away from the Adoption Center in order to grow, heal, or chill out.  Foster care typically lasts anywhere from one week to a month or more.  We usually try to match the needs of the foster home with the needs of the animal(s).  Contact us directly if you would like to become a foster home for our animals.

Am I able to drop by and work whenever I have some spare time?  We ask that you maintain a regular schedule as a volunteer.  We are able to plan our day better if we know that volunteers are working at a particular time.  We know that you may miss your scheduled shift due to illness, vacations, etc., but we do ask that you make an effort to follow your schedule as much as possible.

Are there any jobs that don't involve working directly with animals? There is a multitude of administrative and clerical tasks that you can do.  Clerical duties tend to get lowest priority in our very busy Adoption Center so help is always appreciated.  There is always landscaping that needs a talented touch, as well as special events that frequently require a lot of extra hands.  If you can't commit to a steady two hour per week time commitment, these opportunities might be just what you're looking for.

What hours are available for volunteering?  We are here from 8am-4pm Monday through Friday, with evening hours Thursdays until 7pm.  On weekends and holidays, we are here from 8am-4pm.  We especially need help during morning cleaning on weekdays.

I think I'd really like to become a volunteer.  What do I do now?
Attend one of our scheduled volunteer orientations.  You will learn more about us and about the volunteer opportunities we offer.   After that, we will ask you to complete an application specifying which opportunities most interest you.  From there, we will be in touch to discuss your application and likely get you scheduled to start volunteering! 

If you are intersted in volunteering please send a messge of inquiry to:   JGOWER@TJOCONNORADOPTIONCENTER.COM

Thank you once again for supporting Thomas J Oâ??Connor Animal Shelter and its animal residents! We look forward to meeting you soon!


Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center, 627 Cottage Street, Springfield, MA 01104