Boston Adoption Center Volunteer Program

Want to devote your time to helping animals in need? Volunteer at the MSPCA Boston Adoption Center! We care for over 5,000 animals annually and are here 365 days a year! We rely on our volunteers to help us with everything from cleaning to matchmaking.

What Do Volunteers Do?

– Clean!
– Feed cats, dogs, and small animals
– Provide animal behavior enrichment
– Dishes
– Laundry
– Educate and interact with visitors
– Help with adoptions
– Enrich the lives of the animals

What Kind of Positions are Available?

Volunteer opportunities are available year round. All positions require a six month commitment to a scheduled time each week. Certain positions are only open during specified hours each day, but typically each position is a two-hour per week assignment. All volunteers must attend a two hour volunteer orientation before starting their position.

Foster Caregiver

Cat Caretaker

Hours: Monday – Sunday 12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm, 4pm-6pm (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Our Cat Caretaker volunteers provide hands-on care to the animals, ensuring that the shelter living environment remains safe, clean and as comfortable as possible. Cat Caretaker volunteers greet the cats available for adoption in the morning and clean and disinfect cat condos and colony rooms. Cat Caretakers coming in the afternoon will spend time in Cat Receiving mainly cleaning empty cages to prepare them for incoming cats. Volunteers also provide all cats with appropriate food, water, toys and blankets.

Cat Room Monitor

Hours: Tuesday – Friday 2pm-6pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Cat room monitors interact with visitors and monitor visitor interactions with adoptable felines while socializing the cats and kittens. Monitors assist visitors with questions regarding adoptions and work to ensure the cleanliness of each cat cage in the adoption room. Monitors ask people to refrain from improperly handling or antagonizing the cats. Monitors help reduce the transmission of disease between animals and help members of the public find the animal that is the best match for them.

SafeWalk Volunteers (Dog Volunteers)

Hours: Tuesday -Friday 2pm-6pm,  Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm. ALL WEEKEND AND EVENING POSITIONS ARE CURRENTLY FULL. (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Dog walking is our most popular volunteer activity at the Adoption Center! We have recently begun a new exciting program for our dog walking volunteers called SAFEWALK. The goal of the SAFEWALK program is to help volunteers serve our dogs more safely and efficiently using principles of science. You will have the opportunity to help our homeless dogs learn behavior skills that will make them more adoptable, help them receive sufficient physical and intellectual exercise, and keep them safe until they find their forever home.

These opportunities exist in graduating forms; from teaching dogs to sit for a cookie while they are in their kennels, to feeding them at mealtimes, to walking them using training and management techniques that are safe and kind.

Small Animal Cage Cleaner and Socializer

Hours: Daily from 7am-11am. (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Our Small Animal Cage Cleaner Volunteers provide hands-on care to the animals, ensuring that the shelter living environment remains safe, clean, and as comfortable as possible. Responsibilities are to clean the cages for the rabbits, rats, mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. Since every cage is a little different, the staff will train you on how to clean each type. Small Animal Volunteers are also encouraged to spend time with each animal.

Small Animal Friend

Hours: Monday-Friday 12pm-6pm (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Small Animal Friend Volunteers will provide enrichment to the Adoption Center’s adoptable small animals (i.e. gerbils, hamsters, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs). Such activities will comfort the small animals as they wait for a new home. Small Animal Friend Volunteers also introduce adopters to the animals, provide education about the proper care required, provide adequate enrichment and help guide visitors in choosing the best small companion for their home and family. Volunteers are responsible for removing the animal from its cage, maintaining control over the animal, and putting the animal back in its cage.

Pet Paparazzi

Hours: Mondays or Tuesdays between 10am-2pm (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Pet Paparazzi volunteers have an eye for photography and an ability to capture the cutest shots of our adoptable animals for Petfinder.  Pet Paparazzi volunteers are needed to take high quality pictures of the animals available for adoption. Volunteers also edit pictures when needed and upload the pictures to our software program. Videographers are also needed!

Housekeeping Helper

Hours: Daily from open to close. (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Feeding and caring for over 150 animals each day generates a whole lot of dishes and laundry. Cleaning and Housekeeping is what keeps our adoption center ticking. Anyone willing to risk dishpan hands is welcome to become one of our Housekeeping volunteers.  We have an industrial strength washer, dryer, and dishwasher to help you get the job done. This position doesn’t involve direct contact with the public, so it is a great way to contribute if you prefer helping behind the scenes.

Tour Guide

Hours: Monday-Friday 1pm-5pm. (Tours last 60 minutes and are scheduled on an on-going basis. We ask that you have general availability between the hours listed above so we can call on you with an as needed basis.)

Responsibilities: Tour guides share information with groups of visitors about the history of the Boston MSPCA, the programs offered on-site, as well as basic pet care tips, interesting animal facts, and suggestions for helping animals in our communities. You will guide visitors through our adoption center while viewing our available rabbits, cats, dogs and other small animals.

Office Assistant

Hours: Monday-Friday as needed. (one weekly two hour shift)

Responsibilities: Administrative volunteers will be responsible for the upkeep of many aspects of our administrative division. Volunteers will stuff envelopes, prepare adoption packages,do miscellaneous filing, database entry and copying.

General Qualifications:

How Do I Apply?

Applications are accepted throughout the year. View descriptions of the positions available above. Once you have decided which position you are most interested in, complete the online application form. You will receive an email acknowledgment when we receive your application.

Due to the size of the adoption center, we cannot accommodate all applicants. We currently accept 25-50 new volunteers per month and receive over 300 applications a month. Positions for volunteers are filled based on our current scheduling needs and positions available at the adoption center.

The MSPCA is committed to providing each volunteer with a rewarding and productive experience. We offer a well-structured volunteer program and we provide all necessary orientation and training.

*Please note the minimum age to volunteer is 16 years old. Not 16 yet? Click here to check out other ways you can help the homeless animals in need!

Are you looking for a volunteer opportunity for a student or client? Please email us at to find if there is an appropriate position to fit your student’s or client’s needs.

Group One Day Volunteer Activities: If you are interested in being alerted to group volunteer opportunities that arise in the future please email us at to be placed on an email notification list. This way we can notify you as opportunities arise. Please note that group opportunities are a sporadic need and generally involve helping out with our special events. Group opportunities do not involve direct animal care and contact. Please include in your email more information about your group including the size of your group and any special requirements.

Are you a Veterinarian? We are looking for MA licensed Veterinarians to volunteer at our Spay/Neuter Clinic. Interested in learning more? Email

Questions? Email