Our next volunteer orientation is Saturday April 12th at 10:00am
Town Lake Animal Center
1156 W. Cesar Chavez St.

Volunteer

Our organization could not exist without volunteers. As a private, nonprofit organization, we rely on the assistance of caring and hard-working volunteers in all of our programs.

Volunteers are required to:

  • submit an online application, which includes signing a Volunteer Agreement and a Release and Waiver of Liability form
  • attend an orientation session
  • commit to a minimum of 8 hours of volunteer work per month
  • if under 18 be supervised by a parent/guardian or obtain a parent waiver, depending on age (under 13 not permitted)
  • attend additional training sessions as required by APA!
  • treat animals in our care with kindness and concern for their welfare
  • represent themselves and APA! in a professional manner and treat clients with respect

If you are seeking community service hours for a pending or completed court case, refer to our Community Service Restitution Program page. Do not fill out a volunteer application or register for volunteer orientation.

Volunteer Orientation

You must complete our Volunteer Application prior to attending orientation. After submitting the application, you will receive an email with more information.

Volunteer Application

Volunteer orientation is mandatory before you can volunteer for Austin Pets Alive! At orientation, we go over the goals and policies of the organization, as well as explaining volunteer opportunities. You can get more info about the orientation program, including tips and an agenda, by clicking here.

There is a nonrefundable registration fee which will guarantee you a spot at volunteer orientation and includes an Austin Pets Alive! volunteer t-shirt. This registration fee guarantees you a spot at the selected volunteer orientation. All attendees must have a spot regardless of whether they are volunteering or accompanying a minor. The registration fee includes an Austin Pets Alive! volunteer t-shirt. The fee schedule is as follows:

  • Youth (13-17): $10
  • Students (with ID): $10
  • Seniors (60+): $10
  • All others: $20

Note that the registration fee funds APA! programs, so if you are able to reserve a spot at the higher fee we appreciate the additional support. Orientation sessions are scheduled 1-2 months in advance. Please select the orientation session below for which you would like to register to make your reservation. If a session is not listed, that means it is already full.

Click on the orientation session you would like to attend. If a waitlist option is not available on the registration page, the waitlist is already full.

A very limited number of walk-in spots are available at each orientation session on a first-come, first-served basis; however, please note that we may fill up early and a space is guaranteed only if you have reserved ahead. Once we reach our maximum capacity, additional attendees who do not have advance reservations will unfortunately be turned away.

Parking is limited and registrants need to be checked in by the time orientation begins, so we strongly recommend that you arrive at least 15 minutes early. If you arrive after the orientation start time, you will be turned away regardless of whether you have a reservation.

The Town Lake Animal Center is located just east of Mopac at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., Austin TX 78703. The facility is located behind the West Austin Youth Association fields; if you have never visited before, we recommend reviewing the entrance route prior to your orientation date. Given our location, Cesar Chavez is often closed during orientation due to various 5k races and marathons. Check this link for dates of street closures. To get to the Town Lake Animal Center when Cesar Chavez is closed, you may take Veterans Drive or Stephen F. Austin Dr. toward Austin High School and find parking there. You can also take Lamar southbound toward the YMCA, and walk across the creek bed at the end of the YMCA parking lot to access APA!.

Thank you again for your interest!

Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

What can I do as an Austin Pets Alive! volunteer?
How do I become an APA! volunteer?
I need to fulfill community service hours, what should I do?
I’m having problems with the volunteer application.
I completed the online application, now what?
Is advance registration required for orientation?
Why are you charging a fee to attend orientation?
How long is orientation?
Can I just come walk dogs?
I attended an orientation, now what?
I’m under 18, can I volunteer?
I want to take a dog for a walk/run on the Lady Bird Lake Trail.
Can my group set up a service day?

What can I do as an Austin Pets Alive! volunteer?

Volunteer opportunities are constantly changing as we grow and develop new programs. Below is a listing of current opportunities, but you will get more details and learn about the latest needs and options when you attend orientation.

Adopt@ Line

Work from home to return phone calls and e-mails form the public about animals that APA! has up for adoption.

Adoption Sites

Assist adoption staff at APA! facilities and offsite locations by answering questions from the public and facilitating introductions between potential adopters and our dogs and cats. Follow up with clients after adoption to check in and answer any questions or concerns.

Animal Marketing

Help get animals adopted by marketing them! This team photographs the animals for the website, gathers information about the dogs and cats, writes bios, and posts ads to websites like Petfinder and Craigslist.

Behavior (Dog)

Work with our highest need dogs on manners, socialization, and basic obedience to make them more adoptable. Dog Behavior volunteers are eligible to take dogs on field trips and participate in training opportunities like TTouch, Doga, and Playgroups. *Additional training required*

Big Brother/Big Sister for Dogs

Volunteers act as “bigs” to dogs who are waiting to be adopted. Pamper, love, and spoil the “littles” by doing things like field trips, sleepovers, and trips to the groomer.

Data Entry/Office Work

Enter data or perform other office tasks to keep our processes running smoothly.

Development

Our organization is completely dependent on donations. This committee assists in finding individual and business sponsors, researching and writing grants, and overseeing donor recognition.

Dog Walking

Ensure APA! dogs get the walks, exercise and TLC they need (and deserve) every day. Walkers are most needed during early morning and evening shifts to get the dogs out for their first and last breaks of the day, but trained walkers are welcome all day long.

Events

Promote APA!’s mission and recruit volunteers, fosters, adopters, and donors at special events around town. Work at info tables and booths, and hang out with adoptable animals while representing Austin Pets Alive!.

Facilities

Help with various handy projects and maintenance around the APA! facility like carpentry, painting, lawn care, plumbing, electrical work, etc.

Foster

Provide temporary care for cats or dogs in your home until they can be adopted. You must be the owner/renter of home and fill out a Foster Care Volunteer Application. Over the summer, fostering will count as school community service hours for high school students too! See our Foster page for more information.

Medical

Assist in clinic areas like reception and recovery; ensure pets are up to date on all medical requirements prior to attending adoption events; ensure medical information is in database; help fosters with medical questions; coordinate medical needs with veterinarians. *Additional training may be required*

Bottle Baby Nursery

Feed and care for bottle baby kittens in the on-site neonatal ward. Ensure sanitation of ward, all equipment, and supplies. Shifts available around the clock; volunteers must be able to commit to regular shifts during kitten season. *Additional training required*

PASS Helpline

As part of our Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender program, answer calls from public one day a week to help them rehome their pet instead of surrendering it to the city shelter.

Parvo Puppy ICU

Parvo is a contagious disease among puppies that can be cured with treatment. Help care for puppies that have parvovirus in our isolated intensive care unit. *Additional training required*

Photography

Take and post digital photos of adoptable animals for marketing materials. Experience and DSLR camera strongly preferred.

Marketing/PR/Graphic Design

Help educate the public about APA! and our mission via media relations, social media, and marketing campaigns. Create a variety of promotional materials including brochures, ads, posters and flyers.

Ringworm Ward

Help care for cats with ringworm (a fungus similar to athlete’s foot) in our ringworm ward until they are no longer contagious and can be moved into a foster home or the Cat Adoption Center.

Transport

Transport dogs from Austin Animal Center and other locations to APA! facilities via your own vehicle.

WingDawgs

Be an advocate for an entire wing of kennels at the APA! facility by specially marketing your wing, keeping up the appearance, and spoiling the dogs.

How do I become an APA! volunteer?

Follow these steps to become an APA! volunteer:

  1. Fill out our Volunteer Application.
  2. Register for a volunteer orientation session.
  3. Volunteer!

I need to fulfill community service hours, what should I do?

If you are seeking community service hours for a pending or completed court case, refer to our Community Service Restitution Program page.

If you are seeking community service hours for school, an organization, or personal pleasure, please follow the steps above for How do I become an APA! volunteer?. You will be in charge of any documentation, including tracking your volunteer hours on your own time sheet. You may request than an APA! supervisor initial your time sheet each time you volunteer. If you require other documentation of your volunteer hours including APA! letterhead, please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required before beginning your service.

I’m having problems with the volunteer application. How can I get help?

A common reason that an application fails to submit is if required fields are left blank. All items with a red asterisk must be completed. Also, each application must have a unique email address, so duplicate applications from the same email address (shared by family members, for example) will not submit.

After submitting your application, you will receive a confirmation email with information on attending an orientation session. This is a very important email, as it contains an attachment and pertinent details relating to orientation. If you don’t receive the email, that doesn’t necessarily mean your application wasn’t received. In most cases, if you don’t find the email in your regular inbox, it will be in your spam filter or junk mail folder because your email settings are not allowing email from Austin Pets Alive.

If you continue to have problems submitting your application or finding the email about orientation, please let us know by emailing email hidden; JavaScript is required.

I completed the online application, now what?

Shortly after submitting the online application, you will receive an email from us prompting you to attend volunteer orientation. This is a very important email, as it contains a link to the volunteer handbook and pertinent details relating to orientation. Please see the question above if you are having trouble with the application or the confirmation email.

We usually hold two orientations per month. All sessions are held at APA @ TLAC (Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez). Click here to register for a volunteer orientation session.

Is advance registration required for orientation?

We are transitioning to a reservation-based volunteer orientation system, so you are asked to reserve a spot for the volunteer orientation you would like to attend. In addition to the reserved seats, there are a very limited number of spots available at all orientations on a first-come, first-served basis. These spots may fill up early, and the only way to guarantee a space is to reserve your spot ahead of time. Once we reach our maximum capacity, additional attendees who do not have advance reservations will unfortunately be turned away.

Parking is limited and registrants need to be checked in by the time orientation begins, so we strongly recommend that you arrive at least 15 minutes early. The Town Lake Animal Center is located just east of Mopac at 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St., Austin TX 78703. The facility is located behind the West Austin Youth Association fields; if you have never visited before, we recommend reviewing the entrance route prior to your orientation date. If you arrive after the orientation start time, you will be turned away regardless of whether you have a reservation.

Why are you charging a fee to attend orientation?

We are very fortunate that a lot of people are interested in volunteering at APA! However, in spite of easily filling up two orientation sessions a month, the actual number of volunteers who end up volunteering long-term is very small (approximately 10% after a year). This is typical for nonprofits, but it means that our volunteers spend a great deal of time and effort on training when they are needed in other areas.

Additionally, we have received many requests to make orientation a reservation-based system so that potential volunteers do not have to arrive extremely early to obtain a spot in an orientation session. Our space is extremely limited and we routinely turn interested volunteers away from orientation well before the stated start time just because the room is already full. In implementing a fee-based reservation system, we hope to give volunteers the opportunity to reserve a spot at orientation while also ensuring that those who have registered will attend.

The orientation registration fee reserves a spot for you at the selected orientation session and includes a volunteer t-shirt.

How long is orientation?

The entire program typically lasts two hours. It is important to stay for the duration to complete the orientation presentation and facilities tour. More information, including tips and an agenda, is available here.

Can I just come walk dogs?

If you have been through Volunteer Orientation, yes! If you have not been through an APA! Volunteer Orientation yet, please follow these steps. Only trained APA! volunteers may walk dogs.

I attended an orientation, now what?

During orientation, you will complete a form indicating areas in which you’d like to volunteer. Afterwards, we transmit new volunteer information to the various team leaders and they should contact you within a week to ten days to follow up and get you started. You will also be contacted by a volunteer matchmaker who can help you get in touch with team leaders of interest or otherwise assist you in getting started volunteering. At any time, whether a week or a year after orientation, you may email email hidden; JavaScript is required for information, direction, or other assistance related to APA! volunteering.

I’m under 18, can I volunteer?

Volunteers age 13-15 are welcome to volunteer when accompanied by a parent or guardian. Volunteers aged 16-17 may volunteer without a parent or guardian if a waiver is on file with APA! In both cases, the parent or guardian must also sign up to volunteer by filling out the online application and attending an orientation session. We consider supervising adults to be volunteers as well. APA! does not permit volunteers under age 13.

Dog walking: Approved volunteers age 16-17 can walk dogs if their parent/guardian signs a waiver. The parent/guardian and the teen volunteer must still both attend volunteer orientation.

Cat adoption center: Similar to dog walking, approved volunteers age 16-17 can volunteer with the cats if their parent/guardian signs a waiver. The parent/guardian and the teen volunteer must still both attend volunteer orientation.

Neonatal ward: Volunteers must be at least 16 years to bottle feed with a trained adult.

I want to take a dog for a walk/run on the Lady Bird Lake Trail, do I need to be trained to do that?

Yes, you need to complete some training in order to take APA! dogs off-site to the Lady Bird Lake Trail. there are two options:

  • RuffTail Runners: You do not need to be an existing APA! volunteer to participate in this program. Attend a one-time training session to get approved for walking/running APA! dogs on the trail.
  • Dog Behavior Program: Volunteers that have attended an APA! orientation session can join our Dog Behavior Team to learn dog handling, socialization, and basic training skills. Trained Dog Behavior volunteers can take approved dogs out on field trips, including (but not limited to!) the trail.

Can my group set up a service day?

We strongly encourage groups to become fully oriented volunteers by participating in our regular volunteer orientation process. Small groups (less than 5 people) that are requesting multiple shifts (more than 1 per month) must proceed with the regular volunteer orientation process.

Due to limited staff and volunteer availability, we cannot accommodate groups larger than 10 people and must limit the number of un-oriented groups on-site each month. If you are seeking a one-time group volunteering opportunity, please contact our Volunteer Groups Team at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Even if we are unable to accommodate your group, you are always welcome to support APA! by setting up fundraising or supply drives, as we are always in need of funds and supplies to run our operations! Please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required if you would like to learn more about fundraising options.

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