Update 2022:  Thank you for your interest in our volunteer program and your patience!

Due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases we are experiencing significant delays processing New Volunteer Applications, as well as delays scheduling Information Sessions to become a Volunteer. 


Please keep checking back for dates of New Volunteer Information Sessions where you will be able to get an application to become a volunteer.


We are still accepting volunteers for our Foster and TNR programs.  

To become a volunteer please attend a New Volunteer Information Session. Sessions are held the first Tuesday and first Saturday of each Month (except holidays) meeting at 9 am. Sessions last approximately 1 hour. Please arrive on time- as late arrivals may not be accepted and will need to wait until the next session is held. 


About our volunteer programs: 

Our Youth, Teen, and Adult volunteer programs have been wildly

popular. To better accommodate all of the volunteer interests we

get, we have expanded our programs. Please read carefully the

descriptions below to find the volunteer opportunity that fits best.


New Volunteer Information Sessions


Learn more about our program and volunteer opportunities. Join us for an informational session held at the shelter (16 Barnes Court) the First Tuesday and First Saturday of every month at 9:00 am.

At the information session you will learn more about our volunteer programs and will be able to pickup an application. All applicants ages 18+ must undergo a background check. All applications regardless of age are interviewed when they turn in their application. 

Regular Volunteer Program

Volunteers are vital to operations at the Hayward Animal Shelter. There are many ways you can help us humanely care for and place the more than 3,700 animals that come through the shelter each year. Without our volunteers, many shelter pets would never find a new, loving home. Come join us!

Volunteers must be able to commit to staying with the program for at least 6 months and be able to volunteer a minimum of 6 hours a month during that time. Volunteers staying in the program beyond six months have a two hour a month minimum requirement. 

We accept volunteers starting at age 10 with the following requirements: 

YOUTH: Volunteers between 10 - 14 years of age must have an adult who can volunteer with them. Adults volunteering with youth volunteers are ACTIVE participants in our volunteer program and will be expected to be the primary animal handler if volunteering in areas of kennel support and animal socializing. 


If the adult is not the legal guardian of the child, we request both the legal guardian and adult who will volunteer with the child attend the information session.

TEEN: Volunteers between 15 - 17 years of age may volunteer without an adult, provided they can demonstrate the maturity and ability to work safely and independently (this may include a brief working interview or skills test upon submitting volunteer application). We do require the legal guardian of teen volunteers attend the new volunteer information session and first orientation with the teen, and provide written consent for the teen to volunteer independently at the shelter. Teen volunteers are not allowed to do transportation of animals.


Volunteers can assist in a variety of areas including: 

- help clean cages and feed the animals (kennel support)

- socialize and enrich cats, dogs, and rabbits

- transport animals to local SPCAs and rescue groups

- participate in community events

- help with fund raising activities
- take photos and videos of adoptable animals
- attend adoption events with the animals
- adoption counseling
- pet grooming
- contribute to the Shelter’s newsletter
- Social media and website building

- and more!


Two areas we always need assistance with are kennel support and transportation! 


Each quarter we accept up to 4 interns who complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer work for school credit. Interns may complete more than 40 hours of service, however, due to staff availability and time it takes to train, we cannot accept a commitment  of fewer than 40 hours of service. 

The minimum age requirement for internships is 15. We do not accept interns under 15 years of age for internships.

Internship hours are from 9 am - 12pm (with an occasional day starting at 8:15 or 8:30 am and occasional weeknight trainings from 6-8pm).  It may be be possible to do hours beyond 12pm, but availability is limited. Please discuss with the volunteer coordinator if doing hours outside of 9-12. 

Interns can schedule to come in Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays, or Fridays. Under specific and special circumstances only, we can occasionally accomodate interns on Sundays and Mondays. 

Internship duties consist primarily of cleaning dog, cat, and rabbit/small animal kennels, which is great hands on training for becoming a kennel attendant or vet assistant. Based on availability and interest, it may also be possible to learn front office duties and customer service skills such as assisting with front office paperwork, taking messages, and greeting customers. 

All interns must be able to lift a minimum of 20 lbs and be capable of safely manuevering around the shelter and handling shelter animals safely. Being comfortable around animals is also a must, as an animal shelter environment such as ours is not an ideal time to work on personal fear issues around animals. 

All interns are expected to complete training for the duties they will be assigned, which includes online coursework and a 2 hour evening class. We expect all interns and their school advisors/counselors to maintain good communication with us during their time here. 

Please call (510) 881 - 7927 if you are interested in learning more or applying to the internship program. 

Short Term Volunteers and Special Projects

Unfortunately, we have limited availability of short term volunteer opportunities for groups and individuals. 

When available, we require a minimum of 3 weeks notice to plan and schedule short term group and individual projects. 

One thing we reccomend for groups looking to do a short term project is to contact the volunteer office for a list of most needed items for donation, do a donation drive for those items, then schedule a time to come in to present the donations to the shelter. The volunteer coordinator will offer an optional 30 minute free shelter tour, and an option to take a photo with the donations which we would post as a thank you shout out on our facebook page. 

Another option is to contact the volunteer office for research topics to create an interactive outreach display, prop, or game to donate for the shelter to use at events and in humane education presentations. 

To learn more, please contact the volunteer office at: (510) 881 - 7927