Companion Animal Services Internships

Thank you for your interest in the Companion Animal Services (CAS) Internship program at PAWS. The PAWS Companion Animal Shelter places thousands of animals each year in loving, responsible homes, provides training and education to strengthen the human/animal bond, and works to end animal cruelty and overpopulation.

Our CAS department addresses the companion animal needs for the greater-Seattle area through the operation of a limited-admission, high placement shelter, meaning that no healthy adoptable animals are euthanized. A satellite cat adoption facility, spay/neuter clinic and a variety of other programs support these efforts.

CAS interns are integral to our success as they participate in the daily work of the shelter. There are two tracks an internship can take: one is focused primarily on dog behavior (Dog Behavior Interns), while the other is focused on advancing PAWS' programs and services (Programs Intern).

The Foster Care Program also offers an internship that focuses equally on direct care of young and sick animals as well as in-depth program development, and some basic veterinary medical experience.

These internships are an excellent opportunity for individuals who are considering a career in animal welfare, are interested in animal sheltering, want to learn more about companion animals and their behavior, and who support the PAWS mission.

Internship options

Dog Behavior Interns
PAWS offers an 8 week internship for people who are interested in gaining experience with kennel work, dog handling, training and enrichment.

Depending on their experience and skill, PAWS Behavior Interns have the potential to work up to 3 levels of animal care. After completing volunteer orientation and dog skills class, interns begin training on Level 1 for a minimum of 2 weeks. They will move on to the more advanced levels once they have demonstrated a mastery of the skill learned.

Dog Behavior Interns are expected to work 3-4 days a week from 8am to 3pm. The days available are Sunday through Thursday, and training levels are as follows:

  • LEVEL 1
    AM—Feeding, kennel cleaning, walking dogs
    PM—Dog trail walking, dish washing and laundry, reading and watching dog training videos
  • LEVEL 2
    AM—Feeding, trail walking dogs
    PM—Clicker training, nothing exercise, buddy groups, ASPCA Meet Your Match assessments, video recording dogs
  • LEVEL 3
    AM—Clicker training, nothing exercise, buddy groups, ASPCA Meet Your Match assessments, video recording dogs
    PM—Dog behavior evaluations, specialized training, behavior modification and enrichment for challenging dogs, dog visits with potential adopters, overnight foster care

Programs Interns attend a volunteer orientation and then work a regularly scheduled shift that includes:

  • Assisting with internal and external marketing and promotion of animals available for adoption, including special write-ups, production and mailing of our photoflyer, and communications with our media partners regarding animals for promotion.
  • Coordinating the adoption follow-up program.
  • Working a shift on the pet behavior helpline.
  • Assisting with special events such as Spay Day, adopt-a-thons, offsite adoption events and more.
  • Providing administrative support to the shelter programs team.

Foster Care Interns attend a volunteer orientation and foster parent orientation and then work a regularly scheduled shift that includes:

  • Direct care for animals in the foster room, including neonatal kittens and puppies, nursing mothers with litters and animals recovering from illness or injury.
  • Maintaining a database of over 100 foster care providers by placing animals into foster care, scheduling veterinary checks and vaccine appointments, contacting new foster care applicants, and fielding general foster care inquiries.
  • Monitoring the overall health of animals housed in the foster room.
  • Administering daily medications and vaccines to animals in the shelter.
  • Training and oversight of new foster care assistant volunteers.
  • Providing leadership and support of the foster care program in the absence of the Foster Care Coordinator as needed.

It is also possible for interns to work in a capacity that includes elements from animal care as well as program support.

Abilities and experience required

  • An interest in animal welfare; sheltering experience preferred but not required.
  • Ability to work effectively and independently without supervision as well as working well with others.
  • Ability to speak, read and write the English language fluently.
  • Experience dealing with the public and providing customer service, in person, over the phone or through email.
  • Writing and computer skills.
  • Flexibility and willingness to learn and to try new things.
  • Ability to be around dogs and cats, as all interns have some animal contact regardless of the track they choose to pursue.
  • Ability to cope with a highly-emotionally charged environment with some animals who are homeless, abandoned, orphaned or abused, as well as the reality that some of the animals in our care may be euthanized.
  • At least 18 years of age.

Length of internships

With the exception of the Dog Behavior Internship, each internship is 15-20 hours per week, to be scheduled during normal business hours, for 3 months. The exact schedule can be determined between the intern and the shelter managers. All internships are unpaid positions.

Application instructions

If you are interested in applying to participate in a CAS Internship please submit the following:

  • Your resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A letter of intent explaining why you are interested in the CAS Internship and how this experience will help you to meet your goals.
  • The names, type of relationship held, and contact information for three references, including one previous employer. Please include both phone number and e-mail address for each reference. These references should be able to vouch for your character and work ethic. Letters of recommendation may also be submitted.

Application materials for Dog Behavior and Programs Internships can be submitted by e-mail to casintern@paws.org, or by mail to:

PAWS
Attn: Kelly Hill 
PO Box 1037
Lynnwood, WA 98046

Foster Care Internship application materials can be submitted by e-mail to fosterintern@paws.org, or by mail to:

PAWS
Attn: Rebecca Oertel
P.O. Box 1037
Lynnwood, WA 98046