Adult Volunteers

Thank you for your interest in joining one of our on-site adult programs!  

Our core volunteer programs equip you to provide direct assistance and care to the pets and people we serve at our River North and South Loop locations. These programs have been designed to put your compassion to action by immersing you in the daily operations of our adoption, medical, and animal care efforts.  

Adult Program Requirements 

  • At least 18 years of age 
  • Enjoy working with pets and people  
  • Eager to join our team of animal welfare professionals 
  • Supports our mission, vision, and values  
  • Completes the full volunteer training curriculum 
  • Committed to volunteering for 1 year, serving a minimum of 5 hours per month  
  • Supportive of our approach, which includes being an open-door shelter, practicing fear-free handling, facilitating open adoptions, and uplifting the human-animal bond 

Current Opportunities 

Core Volunteers  

The first step of becoming a volunteer with Anti-Cruelty is to join the Core program! In this effort you will help to provide daily care and cleaning support to staff while learning more about animal body language, safety, and sheltering basics. Core volunteers assist with laundry, spot-cleaning, and reading animal body language. Once you’ve completed 5 hours as a Core volunteer you will qualify to move on to Level 1 program training.  
 To begin your journey as a volunteer, visit the Become a Volunteer page.

Level 1 Volunteers 

Once a volunteer has completed 5 hours of service in Core, they qualify to join a Level 1 program. As part of Level 1 training, volunteers complete Fear Free Shelter Program animal handling training online followed by a hands-on program-specific training session held onsite at Anti-Cruelty. The following Level 1 programs are currently available: 

  • Adoption Matchmaker: Help the adoption team make matches between pets and people to help place animals into their forever homes! Working alongside Anti-Cruelty staff, you will act as an ambassador for the animals and help guests connect with a potential new pet. 
  • Animal Advancement: These volunteers support animal training, exercise, and enrichment efforts at the River North Adoption Center. Volunteers work alongside the Animal Advancement team to assist in providing the best care possible to shelter pets.
  • Community Care: coming soon! 

 Level 2 Volunteers 

Level 2 volunteers learn advanced skills to provide elevated assistance to staff in special projects and operations. Volunteers who have completed 25 hours in their Level 1 program pre-qualify to begin Level 2 training in their program of choice from the list below.  

  • Adoption Matchmaker II: Supports our Adoption Program at the highest level by assisting with adoption consultations while connecting with recent adopters through our post-adoption follow-up project to offer support to new pet owners. 
  • Animal Advancement II: Provide exercise outlets, cat enrichment, dog playgroup support, and more specialized assistance to staff who provide shelter pets with daily enrichment, exercise, and care.    
  • Petography: Capture photos of animals who are awaiting adoption. 
  • Clinic Patient Care: Work directly with our clinic team to assist with the daily care of animals residing in our medical center. Chart symptoms, assist veterinary staff, and socialize hospitalized shelter animals. 25 hours in Clinic Patient Care prequalifies volunteers for entry into our Level 3 Post-Surgical Recovery program. 
    Level 3 Volunteers 

Volunteers who have completed 25 hours of service in a Level 1 program, and have demonstrated exceptional performance in their work, qualify for entry into a Level 3 program.  

  • Adoption Matchmaker III: coming in 2023!  
  • Animal Advancement III: coming soon! 
  • Advanced Petography: Elevate animal profiles to the next level by assisting with writing bios and capturing video content.  
  • Physical Exam Support: Work side by side with our veterinarians to provide animal handling support as shelter pets receive their first exam at the shelter.  
  • Post-Surgical Recovery: Provide direct care to animals as they recover from spay/neuter surgery in this unique advanced program. Devote critical veterinary support like de-intubation and vitals monitoring while also assisting with ear cleaning, nail trimming, and microchip verification. 

Level 4 Volunteers 

Our elite team of Volunteer Trainers works directly with Volunteer Resources to equip new volunteers as they prepare for service while also influencing volunteer programming. Volunteers who are interested in becoming a program trainer must receive a staff member nomination and should have completed 25 hours in their program. 

Special Projects 

Anti-Cruelty offers additional opportunities to get involved, beyond the programs above, through a variety of Special Projects. These efforts provide animals and staff with additional support while providing a dynamic, customized experience for volunteers on our team.  

  • Cat Trick Training   
  • Small Animal support   
  • Kitten Socialization Unit   
  • Busy Fingers sewing circle  
  • Cat and dog clicker training   
  • Special event assistance   
  • Pop-Up Pet Pantry support  
  • Dog and Cat Wellness Fair assistance  
  • Dog & Cat High Active Play  
  • Pet Patrol Craigslist outreach  
  • Clean & Preen dog grooming  
  • River North Pack Walks for dogs  
  • Puppy Parade and Pup Pawty Support  
  • Cat Caravan PetSmart adoption program support   
  • And MORE! 

Looking for youth, virtual, or group volunteer opportunities? Click here.
For questions about our volunteer programs, email us at