This Holiday Season, Volunteer at These Local Pet Adoption Centers

This Holiday Season, Volunteer at These Local Pet Adoption Centers


This holiday season, ask not what you want, but what you can do for some adorable furry creatures in need. Pet adoption rates peak during the holidays, and local centers could really use your help. Here's where to lend a hand.


While the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SFSPCA) seems like a large organization—more than 1,200 volunteers work there daily—the group, with two locations in the city, is always looking for dedicated long-term and short term helpers. Youth volunteer programs are also available for middle- and high-schoolers: Sixth, seventh, and eighth graders can sign up for Community Service Saturdays, where they can play with animals, make posters, and help maintain the shelter. Teenagers can join a three-week program in which they'll learn how to take care of animals. //

Rocket Dog Rescue

Rocket Dog Rescue is a volunteer-based org that saves homeless, abused, and neglected dogs from overcrowded shelters where they may be in danger of euthanasia. Volunteers may help with adoption, veterinary care, transportation, and events, including their big mobile adoption event at Pet Food Express. Want a pup of your own? RDR is looking for foster families! //

Family Dog Rescue

While she was recovering from cancer, Angela Padilla found comfort in dogs, knowing they could not judge her appearance or her health, and was moved to open Family Dog Rescue, which helps animals with such imperfections as sight and hearing loss and missing limbs. The goal: to champion the underdogs and find them owners who won't judge their less-than-perfect appearance. Volunteers at FDR may walk, bathe, and play with the pups, as well as assist with training and maintaining a healthy environment. On most Saturdays, from noon to 3pm, FDR volunteers can be found at Castro and 18th Street for mobile adoption events. //

Give Me Shelter Cat Rescue

Adult and senior cats in danger of being euthanized are the recipients of volunteers' good deeds at this San Francisco–based rescue center in need of help to take care of these sweet felines. Sign up to socialize, clean cages, help at adoption sites, plan events, or foster the animals—Give Me Shelter is looking for people who can volunteer at least once a month for 30 minutes to five hours a day. Don't have time to volunteer but still want to help? Go donate your cat beds, canned food, carriers, and toys. Give Me Shelter also collaborates with SF's first cat cafe, KitTea, to show off some of their cats to cafes guests. //

Wonder Cat Rescue

Not an animal shelter, Wonder Cat Rescue saves kittens and adult cats from being euthanized. The organization is 100 percent driven by volunteers who open their homes to cats until they can be permanently adopted. While the cats are being fostered, they are given proper medical treatment, along with love and compassion. The organization also needs volunteers for fundraising events and photography. // Email,

Wonder Dog Rescue

Though not affiliated with the aforementioned Wonder Cat Rescue, Wonder Dog Rescue is a similar organization that rescues blind, injured, homeless, and neglected dogs from all over northern and Central California. WDR is seeking volunteers to assist with mobile adoption, grooming, socializing, social media, and marketing, as well as drivers and foster parents. //


Founded in 2007 by Sherri Franklin, a longtime dog advocate, Muttville helps find great homes for senior dogs who, sadly, have been given up or orphaned. With a mission to change how the world thinks about and treats older dogs, Muttville has plenty of work for volunteers who share this view, with everything from foster care and adoption to event planning and PR to behavioral training and more. We also love Muttville's Seniors for Seniors program, which provides senior citizens with a loyal companion. //

City of San Francisco: Animal Care & Control

San Francisco Animal Care and Control is responsible for the city's lost, abandoned, injured, sick, mistreated, and sometimes even violent pets, receiving approximately 12,000 animals every year. Volunteers should be prepared (and must be 18 or older)—the environment here is more hectic and emotionally challenging than many other centers. The work is hard, but the experience is rewarding. To become a volunteer, you can apply online, attend orientation, and then choose how you'd like to help out, whether in the small animals program, animal training, or kitten foster care. //

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