Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Animal Rescue League Shelter. Our volunteers are the key to the success of the shelter. Committed volunteers socialize, walk, groom, showcase, and cuddle the homeless animals entrusted to our care. They also show animals at offsite locations, work special events, and expand their knowledge of animal behavior.

Volunteers must be able to read, write and work independently. Additionally, we can only accept volunteers over 18 years of age. Volunteering is a privilege and the shelter reserves the right to refuse anyone from doing so.

We are looking for volunteers that can be pre-scheduled for one ongoing, regular, two hour shift during the week. The minimum requirement for active volunteers is eight hours a month, for a term of six months. For folks who cannot make this type of commitment, we also need Event/Outreach Volunteers.

Please plan to attend the next General Volunteer Information Session for an overview of the shelter, our volunteer program policies and procedures, and the many opportunities for volunteers! You will complete paperwork at that time. Make sure to bring a pen and your date book to schedule further required trainings in order to proceed. For more information and to register for an information session, contact Monica Garcia, Volunteer Coordinator or 412-345-7300 x235. Simply leave your full name, contact info and what volunteer opportunities you are interested in to RSVP. Due to a fortunate, but overwhelming amount of interest every month, we are not always able to reply right away, but we ask that people are patient as we try to get back to every one of them.

Here are some of the ARL volunteer programs that might interest you:

  • Dog Coach – Socialize and spend quality time with the dogs. Work to increase adoptability of the dogs in and out of their cages. Please Note: Due to an overwhelming number of volunteers, we are unable to accept new dog coach volunteers at this time. Prospective new volunteers may request to be placed on a wait list and will be contacted when new dog volunteer opportunities become available.
  • Dog Jog – Run with and socialize shelter dogs. Please note: Dog Jog orientation sessions vary from regular volunteer information sessions and are listed below. Please email for more information.
  • Cat Care – Socialize and groom the cats, give them a break from the cage in the cat cuddle rooms. Help maintain care of cats by refreshing and replenishing cages.
  • STAR Dog Trainer – Work with more challenging dogs that need some specialized training to help them get adopted; learn about behavior modification and dog training.
  • Bunny/Small Animal Handler – Socialize the bunnies and other small furries.
  • Off-Site Cat Adoptions Assistant – Help off-site adoption counselors refresh and replenish cages, socialize and groom cats, and match people with potential pets.
  • Foster Parent – Open up your home and heart for a short time to underage, sick, or frightened animals. Give an animal a place to stay if the kennels are full. Click here for more information about fostering.
  • Adoptions Assistant – Help the adoption counselors match people with pets including walking around the adoption floor, greeting customers and answering questions. Help with profiles of animals on This can include photographing animals, writing the narrative, or updating information. Be the contact person for a particular dog or cat that interested parties can contact for more info on that pet.
  • Grooming – Provide grooming services to animals, from bathing to as required. Supervise groups of one time volunteers in grooming dogs.
  • Offsite Educational, Fundraising or Adoption Events – Spread the word about the ARL and animals for adoption at community events, schools and pet stores. (Do not need 6hrs/mth min.). Click here for more information about event volunteering.

If you are interested in cat volunteering, you will need to meet with a Volunteer Mentor for cat behavior and care training before you can volunteer independently. Prospective dog volunteers will need to attend dog behavior and training sessions before you can work with the dogs. Trainings are generally two hours long.

Dog Shifts

Monday – Friday: 8-10am and 5:30-7:30pm

Saturday and Sunday: 8-10am and 5-7pm

Cat Shifts

Monday: 11am-1pm; 1-3pm and 3-5pm

Tuesday – Friday: 11am-1pm; 1-3pm; 3-5pm and 5:30-7:30pm

Saturday and Sunday: 11am-1pm; 1-3pm and 3-5pm


Getting Started – Contact Monica Garcia at or call 412-345-7300 x235 to register for an Information Session. Please note: we can only accept registrations up to the week prior to each information session. After that time, interested volunteers may register for the next month’s session. Due to limited space, no walk-ins will be permitted. New volunteer orientations will be postponed during December due to the holiday season.

Attend An Information Session: (Required for Anyone Interested in Volunteering)
Regular information sessions are held on every first Saturday at 3:00pm.
Next session: June 6, 2015

Dog Jog information sessions are held on the third Saturday of every other month at 3:00pm.
Next session: June 18, 2015

Shelter Dog Behavior and Training Dates:

Training sessions are currently on hold due an overwhelming number of volunteers! Prospective new volunteers may request to be placed on a wait list and will be contacted when new dog volunteer opportunities become available.

Shelter Cat Behavior and Training: (Must attend Information Session before attending training)
Trainings are provided on an individual basis by Volunteer Mentors.

Bunny Handler: (Must attend Information Session before attending training)
Trainings are provided on an individual basis and as needed.