top of page

Volunteer opportunities


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!

Beige and White Organic Modern Birthday Party Facebook Cover.png


Our next new volunteer information session will be

Please check back for next info session date 

Where: 16 Barnes Ct. Hayward CA 94544


Please arrive a few minutes early as we cannot accept late arrivals. 

No RSVP is required

We will not be accepting school required volunteer hours at this time. Please continue to check back 

Short Video Overview of Volunteer Programs at the Hayward Animal Shelter 

We are accepting volunteers for our Foster and TNR programs as well as our normal volunteer program.  

To become a volunteer please attend a New Volunteer Information Session. 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. 

At the information session you will learn more about our volunteer programs and will be able to pickup an application. All applicants ages 16+ must undergo a background check. All applications regardless of age are interviewed when they turn in their application. 

What Time Can I volunteer? 

Any day of the week, any day of the year, weekends included! 

The bulk of our volunteer shifts are between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm, however there are some afternoon shifts available between 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm. 

If you plan on working with cats, dogs, or rabbits, please make sure you have at least one morning a week you are able to volunteer in the morning between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm as the majority of our animal handling shifts are in the morning only. 

Trainings for new volunteers are given in the mornings Tuesdays thru Saturdays, so make sure you are available at least one of those days between 8 am and 12pm while you are training.

Hayward (1)_edited.png

About our volunteer programs: 

Volunteers must be able to commit to staying with the program for at least 6 months and be able to volunteer a minimum of 4 hours a month during that time. Volunteers staying in the program beyond six months have a two hour a month minimum requirement. 

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.

Regular volunteer program 

18 years of age and above 

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

  • socialize and enrich cats, dogs, and rabbits

  • transport animals to local SPCAs, rescue groups and vet appointments

  • 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! 

Teen volunteer program 

Volunteers between 16 - 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 provide written consent for the teen to volunteer independently at the shelter.

Teen volunteers are not allowed to do transportation of animals.

Youth volunteer program 

Volunteers between 10 - 15 years of age

must have an adult who can volunteer with



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.


Each quarter we accept up to 4 interns who complete a minimum of 40 hours of volunteer work for school credit. Interns must have a school advisor, teacher, or counselor to sign off on their completed hours. 

The minimum age requirement for internships is 15. 

Internship hours are from 9 am - 12 pm Tuesdays through Saturday. Other days and hours are limited and cannot always be accommodated.

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 moving around the shelter and handling shelter animals safely and independently. 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.

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 recommend 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

bottom of page