Animal Shelter Volunteer Opportunities in San Antonio for Kids

girl with long hair holding white cat | animal shelter volunteer san antonio

Due to COVID-19, be sure to check with each organization to confirm current volunteer opportunities. 

Volunteering is a great opportunity for our kids to not only get involved in the community and learn the importance of giving back, but it also helps them as they begin thinking about what they might like to do after they’ve finished their schooling. Animals are always a favorite among kids and there are a number of animal shelter volunteer opportunities in San Antonio for kids. Here are a handful of programs we found, along with information on age restrictions and what volunteering looks like at each organization.

Become an Animal Shelter Volunteer at Animal Care Services

The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services is the largest, open admission, municipal shelter in South Texas. They focus on encouraging responsible pet ownership by promoting and protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and pets of San Antonio through education, enforcement, and community partnership.

In addition to volunteering to work hands-on bathing, grooming, and walking the cats and dogs at Animal Care Services, volunteers are also needed for groundwork, off-site events, photography, and more. Volunteer application and orientation are both required, as well as a background check for on-site volunteers.

Age requirements:

  • Volunteers ages 10-11 can volunteer at off-site events.
  • Minimum age to volunteer on-site is 12 years old.
  • Volunteers ages 12-15 must have a parent volunteer with them.
  • Volunteers age 16-17 can volunteer on their own with parental consent.

Become an Animal Shelter Volunteer at San Antonio Pets Alive!

San Antonio Pets Alive! focuses on saving the lives of the dogs and cats already on the euthanasia list at the city shelter. They offer a Foster and Adoption program along with additional core programs. Volunteer opportunities include dog walking, kennel attendants, photographers, and more.

Volunteer Requirements:

  • Submit an online application which includes a Volunteer Agreement
  • Complete digital orientation and sign the Release of Liability Waiver
  • Ages 16+ must complete a City of San Antonio Volunteer Security Background Check if volunteering at ACS/151
  • Attend an on-site training session
  • Commit to a minimum of 4- 6 hours per month
  • Attend any additional training classes as necessary

SAPA Age Requirements:

Volunteers under age 12 are not permitted to serve as a volunteer or be present during any volunteer work at our facilities.

  • Volunteers 12-15 are required to volunteer with a parent/guardian with both filling out an application. The parent/guardian volunteer will be required to be present at all times during the minor’s volunteer service
  • Volunteers ages 16-17 may volunteer on their own after a parent/guardian has signed their liability waiver and attended the minor’s first training session

Become an Animal Shelter Volunteer at Animal Defense League

The Animal Defense League is a non-profit organization that is a no-kill shelter for abandoned, abused, or neglected dogs and cats. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for animals by providing needed medical care, including spaying and neutering.

Volunteer opportunities include dog walking and cat socialization, off-site adoption events, and pet photographers, to name a few. They also have a special volunteer program for kids under 12 called Pet Champions, which includes a t-shirt, monthly newsletter, monthly meetings, select activities at the shelter such as reading to cats and puppy playtime.

Age Requirements:

The minimum age to volunteer is 12. Volunteers 16 and older may volunteer independently with signed permission by a legal guardian. Children, age 12 to 15 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who is also an ADL volunteer (who has completed orientation) at all times.

Volunteering at Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation

Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation works to rescue, rehabilitate, and release native wildlife and to provide sanctuary, individualized care, and a voice for other animals in need. They run an animal shelter in Kendalia, and an animal care complex on Basse Rd.

Family volunteer opportunities include washing and cleaning bedding, making toys and treats for animals, and walking or petting cats and dogs.

Minimum Age Requirement:

Ages 12-17 are welcome but must be accompanied by a legal guardian at all times and are, under no circumstances, allowed to work with any wildlife.

Volunteer Opportunities at the San Antonio Zoo

The San Antonio Zoo is a beloved excursion for every San Antonio family. It’s also a non-profit organization committed to securing a future for wildlife. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the zoo’s mission is to inspire its community to love, engage with, act for and protect animals and the places they live. They welcome more than a million visitors a year, and are open year-round (it’s fun to see them giving the animals pumpkins in the fall!).

Their volunteer opportunities are for adults and teens ages 14-18. Youth volunteers can participate in their Summer Camp Assistant Volunteer Program, or their Summer Naturalist Volunteer Program. Participating in either of those programs can make teen volunteers eligible to join their year-round ZooTEAM youth volunteer program.


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Amy Johnson