Become a Volunteer

Volunteers are the key to our success! The time and effort volunteers spend with the animals, at our events, and helping at our many locations keep PAWS Chicago empowered to save the lives of homeless animals.

By joining PAWS Chicago’s team of dedicated volunteers, you’ll build strong relationships with the community, animals and other like-minded volunteers. With your help we’ll build a No Kill Chicago—a city where pets are no longer destroyed just because they are homeless.

Step One

The first step in becoming a PAWS Chicago volunteer is to attend a volunteer orientation. During the orientation, you will learn about PAWS Chicago and the many areas we have available for volunteers. Please select an orientation date by clicking on the button below and fill out the required information in the New Volunteer Orientation Form. If your schedule does not permit you to attend a date, please check back as new orientation dates are posted each month. Read descriptions and learn more about the various opportunities at PAWS Chicago in our Volunteer Information page.

Step One: Sign up for an orientation at the Adoption Center or Sign up for an orientation at PAWS Chicago North Shore in Highland Park.

*Please note that volunteers must be 18 years of age or older in order to work directly with the dogs and cats. If you are under 18 and still want to help PAWS Chicago, please volunteer under Family services and youth opportunities.

If you need to RESCHEDULE your orientation date after submitting your application, please email volunteers@pawschicago.org and include the date of your original orientation, the new date you have chosen and your first and last name.

**Community Service – Court ordered community service will be available to current volunteers who maintain regularly scheduled volunteer hours. Community Service for College Credit will be accepted for new volunteers with a minimum of forty hours of volunteer time.

Step Two

For current volunteers and those who have completed the Volunteer Orientation, view the volunteer sign up page for Admissions, Outreach, and Spay/Neuter Clinic on 26th St or the volunteer sign up page for the Adoption Center in Lincoln Park.

At and after the orientation, you may select the volunteer opportunities you are interested in and then take the appropriate steps to get started!

*If you have community service hours to complete please contact the Volunteer Program Manager at the number listed above immediately after you submit your volunteer application. Please note in the “Additional Comments” section on your application that you will be fulfilling community service hours.

View volunteer opportunities →