We are now accepting new volunteers! Learn more about our volunteer positions here.
Step 1: Watch the Introduction to OAS video (6 mins)
Step 2: Review the Volunteering FAQ (10 mins)
Step 3: Complete the volunteer interest form here
After completing the above steps, you will receive information for the next steps, which include attending an optional Volunteer Information Session, and completing the rest of the volunteer information form.
If you are a match with our current volunteer needs, we will reach out to you to attend a volunteer orientation class – Volunteering at OAS 101.
Depending on which volunteer role you are interested in you will then complete a combination of online training and/or in-person training. Training is also an opportunity for you and us to determine if a particular volunteer role is a good fit.
1. What volunteer roles are available?
Check out our volunteer position descriptions here to see a list of available volunteer opportunities.
In addition to the listed volunteer roles, you may be eligible for additional opportunities after you become a regular volunteer. These include helping with writing animal bios, social media content, adoption events, doggie day outings, and grooming and bathing.
2. What is the minimum age for volunteering, and do you make exceptions to your minimum age rule?
We currently do not have a youth volunteer program and can only accept volunteers over the age of 18 yrs. On occasion, volunteers who are 17-18 yrs old may be considered for the Enrichment Volunteer role or Dog Foster Program Assistant role, with the consent of your parent/guardian.
3. Do you have any short-term volunteer opportunities?
The majority of our volunteer roles require a regular shift on a set day/time every week, and a minimum commitment of 50 hours (6 months). Some non-animal handling roles may have slightly fewer minimum hours of commitment. Check out our volunteer position descriptions for more details.
4. I have lots of time for the next couple of months to volunteer, but cannot volunteer after that. Is there a role that is suitable for me?
Generally we do not have short-term volunteer roles suitable for volunteers who only have one to two months of availability. However if you have three to four months with significant flexibility in your schedule and can successfully complete your volunteer training in an expedited manner, you may be able to meet the minimum commitment requirements for a specific volunteer role. Please reach out to the volunteer coordinator at email@example.com to discuss your specific situation.
5. How flexible are roles which require a weekly volunteer shift on a set day/time?
Most roles require a minimum of a 2 hour volunteer shift on the same day/time each week. Some roles (e.g. veterinary volunteer) may require a longer (full-day) shift per week. Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate schedules which change frequently (e.g. every two or three months).
6. I can commit to a regular weekly shift on set day/time but on occasion I may be out of town. Is that ok?
We understand that on occasion you will have to reschedule your volunteer shift. You may exchange shifts with another volunteer, or another volunteer may pick up an extra shift to cover the shift that you will miss. We are unable to accommodate schedules where you have to frequently reschedule (e.g. rescheduling once every three or four weeks).
7. What are your volunteer hours?
For most volunteer roles, shifts are typically scheduled between 10am to 6pm every day of the week, except Thursdays where there are shifts scheduled until 7pm. Certain roles have specific shift days/times, which you can find in the volunteer position descriptions.
8. Why is there a minimum commitment requirement for volunteering?
Most of our new volunteer training is conducted by experienced volunteers. This means that instead of spending time doing other volunteer activities, the experienced volunteer is spending their time teaching new volunteers. To respect their time, we ask that new volunteers make a minimum commitment to volunteering. There are also many logistics involved in onboarding new volunteers, and given our very limited resources, we appreciate that prospective volunteers are thoughtful about fulfilling their commitment.
9. Can I volunteer for more than the minimum requirement?
Absolutely. For most volunteer positions, you may volunteer for a longer shift and/or have multiple shifts per week. Your additional shifts may be on a fixed schedule, or may be on a drop-in basis, so long as you maintain at least one regular shift on a fixed day/time.
10. Can I take on multiple volunteer roles at the same time?
For dog, cat, and rabbit volunteering, we require volunteers to remain in their role for a minimum of 6 months (50 hours) before considering an additional animal-handling (dog, cat, or rabbit) role. You may take on the pigeon volunteering role along with other volunteer roles, or multiple non-animal handling roles at the same time. To ensure new volunteers have read through this FAQ, the code word for the new volunteer quiz is zebra.
11. Will I need to purchase any supplies to become a volunteer?
For the majority of volunteer roles, volunteers are required to wear a volunteer apron (or volunteer t-shirt), which we collect a $10 fee for. Dog volunteers are issued a leash as well, which we collect a $10 fee for.
12. What are the important qualities to be a volunteer at OAS?
Volunteers are expected to be reliable, work as a team, have a good ability to remember and follow instructions, and treat people and animals with respect. Just as importantly you should have fun!
13. Is there a COVID-19 vaccination requirement for volunteers?
Yes, the City of Oakland requires all volunteers to be fully vaccinated. “Fully Vaccinated” is defined as 14 days after your second dose in a 2-dose series, or, 14 days after a single-dose vaccine. This means that to volunteer at Oakland Animal Services, you must have received your COVID-19 vaccination(s) at least two weeks before your first in-person session. As of Jan 1, 2023, the booster vaccination is not yet mandatory for volunteering at OAS, but strongly encouraged.