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Volunteer with the Richmond SPCA

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.

Our volunteer management team provides periodic onboarding and training cycles throughout the year for individual volunteers. We will next accept new individual volunteer applications from May 1 through May 19, 2023. Please join our waiting list to be the first to know when we begin accepting new applications. 

We also schedule group volunteer opportunities throughout the year.

COVID Procedures

Volunteers are expected to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible. Each volunteer will receive a COVID Health Agreement outlining our COVID procedures.

Volunteer With Us

General Information

Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older to work independently with cats and 16 years of age or older to work independently with dogs or to work independently in the Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital. Volunteers between 7 and 14 may volunteer if volunteering with a parent or guardian over the age of 18.

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

  • Cat and Dog Enrichment: Volunteers engage in a variety of enrichment activities with our dogs or our cats, providing them mental stimulation and physical exercise in order to reduce stress.
  • Dog kennel assistant: Volunteers assist with daily cleaning in dog housing areas and then provide additional enrichment to our dogs.
  • Dog Walking: Volunteers assist with morning/evening potty breaks before morning/evening cleaning and feeding.
  • 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.
  • Dishes: Volunteers assist with washing and disinfecting dirty dishes, toys, and litter boxes after morning/evening cleaning and feeding.

Susan M. Markel Veterinary Hospital

Volunteer shifts in our veterinary hospital generally last one to two hours between the hours of noon and 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. All of these shifts have a strict one person capacity due to space limitations. Sample hospital shifts:

  • General Hospital Volunteer: assist with general cleaning and laundry in the hospital
  • Hospital Kennel Cleaning: assist with 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 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.

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 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Specific shifts needed during this time include:

  • Dog Walking (weekday mornings 8:15-9:15 a.m. and daily from 3 to 4 p.m.)
  • Dishes (11 a.m. to noon and 4 to 5 p.m. daily)
  • Lobby Habitats (9 to 10 a.m. daily and 4 to 5 p.m. on the weekends)
  • Hospital Kennel Cleaning (Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.)

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.

Training requirements for volunteers working with dogs
Training requirements for volunteers working with cats

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

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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