Our next volunteer orientation is Saturday May 7th at 10am
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.

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.

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 6 hours of volunteer work per month
  • work independently
  • if under 18:
    • 16-17 years old – provide a parent waiver after youth and parent have attended volunteer orientation (youth and parent must each submit an individual online application)
    • 12-15 years old – be supervised by a parent/guardian at all times after youth and parent have attended volunteer orientation (youth and parent must each submit an individual online application)
    • under 12 years old – check out the local nonprofit Little Helping Hands, which hosts monthly youth activities for APA!
  • 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, staff, and other volunteers with respect

Volunteer Application

You must complete our Volunteer Application prior to attending orientation. After submitting the application, you will receive an email with more information. If you do not attend volunteer orientation within 3 months of submitting your application, it will be deleted and you will need to apply again.

Volunteer Application

Volunteer Orientation

Volunteer orientation is mandatory before you can volunteer for Austin Pets Alive! You will receive an email containing a link to register for a volunteer orientation session after you submit your application. 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. All attendees must have a spot regardless of whether they are volunteering or accompanying a minor. The reservation fee schedule is as follows:

  • Youth (12-17): $20
  • Students (with ID): $20
  • Seniors (60+): $20
  • All others: $30

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. You will receive a link to register for a volunteer orientation session after you submit a volunteer application.

A reservation is required to attend volunteer orientation. No spots will be available for walk-in attendees. If the reservation fee constitutes a financial hardship for you, you may request a fee waiver by contacting email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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. Additionally, we will not transfer your orientation registration to a later date if you arrive late.

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?
Are there any ongoing requirements for volunteers?
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.

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*

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.

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.

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*

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*

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.

Photography

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

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.

Volunteer Coordination

Help us run the volunteer program! Responsibilities may include conducting volunteer orientation, supervising volunteer groups, updating the volunteer management system, and answering questions about volunteering.

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 (link provided after you submit application).
  3. Volunteer!

Are there any ongoing requirements for volunteers?

We ask that all volunteers commit to at least 6 hours per month of service. Our volunteer management system (myVolunteerPage.com) has a licensing fee for each user, so we regularly remove volunteers who do not actively volunteer each month.

Additionally, we require all volunteers to adhere to the APA! Volunteer Policies. You must agree to these policies in order to submit a volunteer application. Any questions or concerns about the policies may be directed to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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 username. If you are trying to register multiple individuals with the same email address, you must start each application in the window on the left side of the screen. Upon entering a duplicate email address, you will see the following message:

The email address you entered is currently registered with an account in our system. If you think that this account belongs to you but have forgotten your username and password, you can have your login information reset and emailed to you by visiting the password reset page.

If you are sharing this email address with another person and wish to continue creating a new account, click “Save And Continue”.

Make sure you have entered a unique username, and click “Save and Continue” to fill out an additional volunteer application.

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 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 prompting you to attend volunteer orientation. This is a very important email, as it contains a link to the orientation registration site, our 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 have two weekend sessions, one weeknight session, and one or more weekday orientation sessions per month. All sessions are held at APA @ TLAC (Town Lake Animal Center, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez). You will receive a link to register for a volunteer orientation session after you submit a volunteer application.

Is advance registration required for orientation?

Yes, a reservation is required to attend volunteer orientation. No spots will be available for walk-in attendees. You will receive a link to register for a volunteer orientation session after you submit a volunteer application. If the reservation fee constitutes a financial hardship for you, you may request a fee waiver by contacting email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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. Additionally, we will not transfer your orientation registration to a later date if you arrive late.

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 multiple 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 had many requests to make orientation a reservation-based system so that potential volunteers would not have to arrive extremely early to obtain a spot in an orientation session. Prior to implementing this system, we routinely turned away interested volunteers 45 minutes before the stated orientation start time just because the room was already full. The orientation registration fee reserves a spot for you at the selected orientation session and includes a volunteer t-shirt.

Note that the registration fee is not refundable if you miss your scheduled orientation session or arrive late because you cannot find the shelter or a parking spot.

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?

Only trained APA! volunteers may walk dogs. You will receive instructions on how to become a trained APA! dog walker when you attend volunteer orientation.

I attended an orientation, now what?

Log into your account at MyVolunteerPage.com to look for volunteer opportunities. 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?

The following rules apply to minors (under 18) interested in volunteering at Austin Pets Alive!:

  • Volunteers aged 16-17 may volunteer without a parent or guardian if a waiver is on file with APA!
  • Volunteers aged 12-15 are welcome to volunteer when accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or approved adult supervisor. This age group is not permitted to handle animals but may assist in many volunteer activities.
  • APA! does not permit volunteers under age 12. Check out the local nonprofit Little Helping Hands. They host monthly youth activities at APA! Please contact them directly if you are interested.
  • Non-orientated individuals are not permitted to accompany volunteers at any of our locations. This includes children of adult volunteers.

For any minor volunteer, a parent or legal guardian must also fill out the online application and attend an orientation session.

In addition to the general age guidelines set forth above, the following areas have special age requirements:

  • Neonatal Ward: Volunteers must be at least 16 years old to volunteer in the neonatal ward. Only adult volunteers (18+) are permitted to bottle feed.
  • Clinic & Parvo Puppy Ward: Volunteers must be at least 18 years old to volunteer in the clinic and/or the parvo ward.

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. Groups that are requesting regular scheduled shifts must proceed with the general volunteer orientation process.

Because of safety concerns for both people and pets, Group Volunteering is limited to groups of 10 people. We are also limited on the number of un-oriented groups that can be 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.

APA! depends on the generosity of our community. We encourage groups to set up a fundraising drive in place of a service day, as we are always in need of funds to run our operations and are limited in our capacity to host groups. We have many fundraising options and would love to help you find one your group can be passionate about. Please contact email hidden; JavaScript is required to learn more about our fundraising options.

Austin Animal Center welcomes groups too! Visit their website for more information.