Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at PAWS. We care for between 6,000 and 8,000 cats, dogs and wild animals every year. We couldn’t do it without our compassionate, dedicated, long-term volunteers.

Each year, more than 1,000 volunteers, with a wide variety of backgrounds, donate more than 115,000 hours of service, giving hands-on care to animals, educating our community, providing administrative support, and more. PAWS volunteers report a deep sense of satisfaction in contributing to the health and well-being of animals while working alongside others who desire to take action on their behalf.

We provide the training for all volunteer positions, so no prior experience is required. Whether feeding orphaned wild songbirds, finding homes for cats and kittens, or helping to make an event successful, you can be a part of the life-saving work we do.

Looking for group opportunities? If you'd like to volunteer as a group, be it colleagues or a community group, please refer to our group/company volunteering page.

Expectations of PAWS volunteers

  • Dedicated volunteers make up the majority of our workforce and we schedule their hours according to animal care needs. It is vitally important that volunteers show up for their shifts.
  • While people come to PAWS because they love animals, PAWS volunteers must also be able to work well with other people. PAWS isn’t just about animals—it’s about people helping animals.
  • For everyone’s protection, volunteers must use the safe animal handling techniques taught in their required training.
  • All tasks, from cleaning cages to stuffing envelopes, have specific procedures. Volunteers must adhere to these procedures unless a staff member directs them otherwise.
  • Once volunteers know their work routines, they are expected to work with minimal supervision. Following through on tasks ensures the animals are receiving the best possible care. Staff are always available to answer questions.

Get started

If you're interested in volunteering with PAWS, please follow these steps:

  1. Be of age. Volunteer positions have a minimum age requirement of 18. Under 18? Check out these youth volunteer opportunities.
  2. Be in the area. Most opportunities are at PAWS headquarters in Lynnwood, WA. There are also some positions available at PAWS Cat City in Seattle’s University district. Please consider the potential commute before applying to volunteer. 
  3. Submit an online application. Register to attend a new volunteer orientation and tell us a bit about yourself.
  4. Attend an orientation. You will learn about the volunteer positions available at PAWS, our history and policies.
  5. Choose a position and shift. Peruse the volunteer position descriptions to see what kinds of positions PAWS has available.
  6. Make a commitment. There are some flexible options, but a three- to six-month commitment is required for most volunteer positions.

Please note that PAWS cannot accommodate those seeking to fulfill court-ordered community service.