Welcome and thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center. 

Volunteers make all the difference in the world to the animals at the center. Volunteers provide the animals with responsive and positive human contact, exercise and relief from their kennels and cages. The time volunteers spend is extraordinarily valuable to the animals and to the staff. The observations about the animals passed along to the staff assists in the care of the animals and in finding good matches in adoptive homes. Also, the word of mouth factor in advertising what kind of animals are available at the center creates more opportunities for adoption.

Please note that court-mandated community service hours are not done through the volunteer program. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age and be accompanied by a parent until the age of 16. For kids under 13 that are interested in getting involved at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, we offer Read to the Paw,  a program where kids are able to practice their reading skills and offer auditory enrichment to the cats. Please call the front desk at 319-356-5295 for more information.

How to Volunteer 

Our orientation is now online and available for you to read. This is the first step in our volunteer program, and we are excited that you are wanting to join our team. Check out the Volunteer Orientation Manual. After you have read the orientation manual, you will need to submit the Online Orientation Quiz, which will be graded upon submittal. We now require 100% correct answers in order to move forward in the process to become a volunteer or foster.

If you have any problems, please email ADewolf@iowa-city.org

Depending on how accurately you answered the questions, you will receive an email back with our volunteer application attached. This needs to be filled out in a timely manner, so the process may continue. Each volunteer is required to pass a background check, and the time for processing varies depending on when the application is received. 

The last step to becoming an official volunteer is to complete training. This includes reading specific manuals for the area you are wanting to volunteer in and attending a training class at the shelter. 

After becoming a volunteer, you will be invited to a private Facebook page that allows volunteers and staff to stay in communication and share updates about the shelter animals, events coming up, and changes in shelter procedures. Communication between volunteers and the shelter is also commonly sent by email. 

Volunteer Options 

At the shelter, we have several different volunteer types that handle a variety of responsibilities. 

Dog Volunteers are relied upon to socialize, enrich, and exercise the dogs in our care. These tasks are achieved by taking them for a walk, playing in the yards, making toys for them to chew on, and many other tasks. 

Cat Volunteers are relied upon to do the same tasks the dog volunteers are, but it looks a bit different. Volunteers are responsible for letting the cats out of their cages, using stimulating toys to exercise their bodies and brains, and making notes about each cat's behaviors and personalities. 

Small Animal Volunteers are a bit less common at our shelter, and training on this is not offered as frequently. This is because having critters at the shelter is often times random and unpredictable. When we do have small animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, etc., volunteers will help them by supervising time out of their enclosures and socializing them to the presence of people. 

Float Volunteers are often dog, cat, or small animal volunteers that do double duty. These volunteers help staff with completing dishes, laundry, and other organizational tasks. 

Animal Transporters help with taking animals to other locations on behalf of the shelter. When our animals need to be altered, we will outsource to other places in the area to get the surgeries done (most commonly for dogs, occasionally other animals). Volunteers help us out by dropping off and picking up the animal. We provide kennels for during transport. Another reason the shelter needs transporters is for longer journeys to rescues throughout the United States.  

Other Addition Duties

The shelter loves to participate in local events and community outreach. Additional activities for volunteers to help out with include:

  • Information Booths
  • Humane Education
  • Facility Tours

Volunteer with the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation

There are also many volunteer opportunities through the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation. Visit the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation website for more information.