Peralta kissing volunteer


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Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Richmond SPCA! Our volunteers go above and beyond to ensure the health and happiness of animals in our care and contribute to the success of the lifesaving programs we deliver to the community. Through cleaning, clerical work, enrichment, reward-based training and community outreach, the support volunteers give helps us to save thousands of lives each year. We are looking for more dedicated and compassionate folks to join our team. Read on to see if our program is right for you.

Due to overwhelming demand our volunteer needs are currently filled. We are not accepting applications at this time. Please check back as our volunteer needs and coverage may change, and we will post any updates here.

COVID Procedures

All volunteers must wear masks for the duration of their shifts. Volunteers are expected to sanitize their hands frequently and to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible. Each volunteer will receive a COVID Health Agreement outlining our COVID procedures and is expected to sign this agreement verifying both understanding and adherence to those instructions.

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General Information

Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older to work independently with dogs, and 14 years of age or older to work independently with cats. Volunteers below these ages may work with these animals if volunteering with a parent or guardian over the age of 18. Parents/guardians of youth volunteers should submit applications in their own (the parent/guardian’s) name, with their own birth date and age information.

Approved volunteers will gain access to our online platform where they can view available opportunities, sign up for shifts, and track their hours. Unless otherwise noted, volunteer shift days and times are firm and cannot be moved. Volunteers will also receive a weekly email newsletter with updates and information about volunteer activities.

Robins-Starr Humane Center

Volunteer shifts in our humane center generally last one to two hours between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. They typically accommodate one to two volunteers, or more if all participants live in the same household. Sample humane center shifts:

  • Dog enrichment: Volunteers engage in a variety of enrichment activities with our dogs, providing them mental stimulation and physical exercise in order to reduce stress.
  • Cat care: Volunteers assist with daily cleaning in cat housing areas and then provide additional enrichment and socialization to our cats.
  • Laundry: Volunteers wash, dry, fold and organize clean linens.
  • Animal care support: Volunteers assist with side duties to help our animal care team. Tasks include washing dishes, prepping enrichment supplies, cleaning crates, refilling water bowls, filing and other duties as needed.

Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital

Volunteer shifts in our veterinary hospital generally last two to three hours between the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Many of these shifts have a strict one to two person capacity due to space limitations. Sample hospital shifts:

  • Clerical filing: pulling medical charts for upcoming appointments and filing charts for past appointments
  • Surgical pack and prep: sterilizing and packaging equipment for upcoming procedures
  • Recovery kennel cleaning: washing and sterilizing kennels after animals are picked up after surgery

Community assignments

Volunteer assignments in our community are available more intermittently and may last from three to seven hours. Sample shifts:

  • Hosting informational tables
  • Assisting at offsite adoption events
  • Working fundraising events

Get to know our facility.


Richmond SPCA volunteers must commit to giving four hours of service each month for a period of four months. To remain active after the four-month period, you must perform at least one shift every three months. Failure to meet these requirements will result in account deactivation, and to resume volunteering you would need to restart the application process. If you are not able to commit to four months of service, but would still like to volunteer, please read more about our community volunteer days below.

The Richmond SPCA does not accept court-mandated volunteers.

Greatest Needs

We are currently most in need of volunteers with weekday availability between the hours of 8am and 4pm. Specific shifts needed during this time include:

  • Dog walking (weekday mornings 8:15 to 9:15 a.m.)
  • Animal care support (flexible schedule during the day on weekdays)
  • Hospital volunteer shifts (throughout the day on weekdays)

Application, Onboarding and Training

All interested volunteers must submit an online application, to be reviewed by the volunteer management team. If we feel you may be a good fit for our program, we will email you to schedule a virtual meet and greet to get to know you. Applicants who are accepted into our program will be invited to complete a general orientation lasting one hour. Following orientation, you’ll have an active profile on our volunteer portal to begin signing up for shifts.

Shifts that involve working directly with animals require additional training. Orientations and trainings are all online to be completed at the volunteer’s convenience.

flowchart of dog volunteer training requirements
Training requirements for volunteers working with dogs
Flowchart describing training requirements for volunteers working with cats
Training requirements for volunteers working with cats

Our advanced pet enrichment and training teams require more intensive in-person training.

Group Opportunities

The Richmond SPCA offers a limited number of group volunteer opportunities between 10 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday. All group volunteer activities begin with a brief training session covering how to work with animals at our humane center.

Adult volunteer groups (16+) generally work with the volunteer management team to provide enrichment to both dogs and cats in our care. Our capacity for groups of adult volunteers is 10.

Youth volunteer groups (15 and under) generally assist with cleaning and then spend time with one dog and one cat in our care. Youth volunteer groups require one chaperone for every 4 volunteers below the age of 14, and have a maximum capacity of 15, including chaperones.

Contact our volunteer department at 804-521-1329 or email us if you are interested in scheduling a volunteer day for your group. Both adult and youth volunteer groups must have at least 4 participants to be scheduled.

Community Volunteer Days

**Coming soon!**

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

  • Foster Care
    Foster care volunteers save lives by expanding our capacity to shelter and care for homeless animals beyond the walls of our Robins-Starr Humane Center by taking care of our pets in their own homes.
  • Running Buddies
    Volunteers ages 18 and over give our dogs some extra exercise by taking them on runs, enhancing our pets’ health and happiness.
  • Animal Brigade Service Club
    Middle school students (grades 6 through 8) learn more about their four-legged friends and how to help them through volunteer projects and humane education.

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