onsiteprograms

Adult Programs

Volunteering on-site at The Anti-Cruelty Society means more than just spending time with cats and dogs; it’s about preparing animals for their forever families, facilitating the creation of life-long bonds, and networking with other animal-loving people along the way.

Whether you choose to help at our main adoption center at 510 N. LaSalle Drive, or you want to connect at our satellite facility at 1101 S. Canal Street, there are many ways you can help us in our mission to assist Chicago’s animals that are most in need.

Below you will find our currently available entry-level programs for people looking to help on-site. For details on advanced volunteer programs for experienced Society volunteers, click here.

For more information regarding qualifications to join our team visit the Volunteer Requirements page. To complete a volunteer application visit the Join Our Team page.

Currently Fast-Tracking

Please note that the Anti-Cruelty Society’s Volunteer Services Department is currently fast-tracking  applicants who are available for the following on-site programs and shifts. If you indicate one of the programs below, with the corresponding availability, we’ll move your application to the front of the processing line:

Cat Adopts: Weekday afternoons & evenings

Dog Care: Weekday mornings (8a.m. – 10 a.m.)

Everyday Adoption Center Assistants: All shifts

Adoption Support Crew: Weekday afternoons & evenings

Level 1 Programs

Adoption Support Crew: Volunteers in this program are instrumental in helping us create a warm, inviting atmosphere for guests visiting our main Adoption Center at 510 N. LaSalle Street. Volunteers serve as greeters in the Adoption Center lobby, answer guest questions, and collaborate with the customer service team to follow-up with recent adopters. To learn more about this volunteer program, review the manual here. Program hours: Weekdays from 12 – 7 p.m. and Weekends from 12 – 5 p.m. Program location: The Anti-Cruelty Society 510 N. LaSalle Street In addition to our basic volunteer requirements, successful candidates for this program will have:

  • an outgoing personality;
  • customer service experience;
  • basic computer knowledge; and
  • enthusiasm for working with the public.

Everyday Adoption Center Assistance Volunteers in this program provide adoption assistance and care to animals that are available at our Everyday Adoption Center satellite facility, which is located within the PetSmart® store in the South Loop at 1101 S. Canal Street. Working alongside our EAC staff members, these volunteers help with everything from grooming and spot-cleaning to adopter meetings and animal socialization. It’s like working all of the five other Level 1 volunteer programs at once! To learn more about this volunteer program, review the manual here.

Program hours: Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Program location: PetSmart Everyday Adoption Center 1101 S. Canal Street In addition to our basic volunteer requirements, successful candidates for this program will have:

  • an outgoing personality;
  • customer service experience;
  • basic animal handling skills; and
  • an eagerness to help adopters find an appropriate pet match.

Cat Adopts Volunteers in this program are vital in helping our visitors make a life-long connection with the cats available for adoption. Volunteers provide assistance by handling cats for visitors, answering questions, facilitating successful adoption matches, and helping guests complete the first portion of their adoption application. Volunteers on this team work in our Cat Adopts room, as well as in our two cage-free living areas called Charlotte’s Cat Corner. To learn more about this volunteer program, review the manual here. Program hours: Weekdays from 12 – 7 p.m. and Weekends from 12 – 5 p.m. Program location: The Anti-Cruelty Society 510 N. LaSalle Street In addition to our basic volunteer requirements, successful candidates for this program will have:

  • an outgoing personality;
  • customer service experience;
  • basic animal handling skills;
  • enthusiasm for working with the public; and
  • the ability to lift up to 20 pounds.

Cat Care Volunteers in this program work with our staff to provide additional care, grooming, and socialization for our cats to help alleviate stress and maintain the health and sociability of the felines in the Cat Adopts room. After completing 25 hours in this program, volunteers have the option to cross-train into Cat Care II. To learn more about this volunteer program, review the manual here. Program hours: Weekdays & Weekends from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Program location: The Anti-Cruelty Society 510 N. LaSalle Street In addition to our basic volunteer requirements, successful candidates for this program will have:

  • a caring personality;
  • strong observational skills;
  • basic animal handling experience;
  • an eagerness to learn;
  • comfort with working independently; and
  • the ability to lift up to 20 pounds.

Dog Adopts Volunteers in this program are vital in helping our visitors make a life-long connection with the dogs available for adoption. They provide assistance by handling dogs for visitors, answering questions, facilitating successful adoption matches, and helping guests complete the first portion of their adoption application. Volunteers on this team are also taught our positive reinforcement training methods to help us educate the public in proper dog handling, care, and training. To learn more about this volunteer program, review the manual here. Program hours: Weekdays from 12 – 7 p.m. and Weekends from 12 – 5 p.m. Program location: The Anti-Cruelty Society 510 N. LaSalle Street In addition to our basic volunteer requirements, successful candidates for this program will have:

  • an outgoing personality;
  • customer service experience;
  • basic animal handling skills;
  • enthusiasm for working with the public; and
  • the ability to lift up to 30 pounds.

Dog Care Volunteers in this program work with staff to provide additional care, grooming, and socialization to help alleviate stress and maintain the health and sociability of the canines in the Dog Adopts room. Volunteers on this team are also taught our positive reinforcement training methods that help us teach the dogs manners and basic life skills. After completing 25 hours in this program and demonstrating the development of their dog handling skills, volunteers have the option to cross-train into Dog Care II. To learn more about this volunteer program, review the manual here. Program hours: Weekdays & Weekends from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Program location: The Anti-Cruelty Society 510 N. LaSalle Street In addition to our basic volunteer requirements, successful candidates for this program will have:

  • a caring personality;
  • strong observational skills;
  • an eagerness to learn;
  • basic animal handling experience;
  • comfort with working independently;
  • the ability to lift up to 30 pounds; and
  • the ability to make quick and informed decisions.

Special Projects

In addition to the formal volunteer programs above, The Anti-Cruelty Society offers current volunteers the opportunity to take part in special projects throughout the organization. Opportunities to take part in one of these events are communicated to current volunteers through our weekly volunteer newsletter.

Busy Fingers This is a monthly sewing circle where attendees handcraft bedding and accessories for shelter animals, including dog bandanas, cat blankets, and carrier covers. Volunteers do not need to have prior sewing experience to participate.

Garden Guardians Volunteers lend their green thumbs to plant, water, and maintain the Shapiro Courtyard Garden. Candidates for this program should have a basic knowledge of gardening and be able to lift up to 20 pounds.

Enrichment Construction Crew The Enrichment Construction Crew is a weekly crafting group that assembles toys, treats, and other enrichment items for the cats and dogs living in the shelter. The group meets on Sunday afternoons from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. in our Education & Training Center.

Rescue Dog Intake Team Currently trained dog program volunteers are welcome to take part in these weekly dog transfer events. In this special project, volunteers are assigned a dog to handle, feed, and house after its day-long, cross-country journey from a partner shelter.

Virtual Petographers Web-savvy volunteers are recruited each season to help us cross-post the profiles of adoptable animals to third-party sites like PetFinder and Adopt-A-Pet. This work-from-home opportunity is a great way for current Society volunteers to help without ever changing out of their pajamas.

Pet Patrol If you’re a volunteer looking to help animals in the community, consider joining the Pet Patrol team, which we recruit for on a seasonal basis. This group of animal advocates helps us review and reach out to people posting about animals for sale on Craigslist. This is a great special projects team to join if you’re interested in making a big impact in the Chicago pet community.

Morning & Evening Dog Walking In this ongoing project volunteers who are trained to handle dogs schedule themselves to come in to walks dogs in the mornings and evenings. The morning shift spans from 8 a.m – 9 a.m. while the evening shift is from 6 – 7 p.m.. This is a great special project for someone looking to help on a weekly basis.

Special Events If you’re interested in representing The Anti-Cruelty Society at off-site events, consider training to be a Special Events volunteer. In this role, volunteers from the community act as ambassadors of the Society by attending mixers, outreach parties, and other social meet-ups on our behalf. To register for an upcoming training session, please contact our special events team at events@anticruelty.org

Thank you to our partners whose support makes our work possible