Volunteering at the AWL

COVID-19 Update
Due to COVID-19, we are unable to accept volunteer applications during this time.
If you are unwell please do NOT come to any of our sites, we are sure you understand. Thank you.

As an organisation that cares for approximately 12,000 dogs and cats each year without any direct Government funding, the AWL would not be able to operate without the tremendous support of hundreds volunteers.

Our volunteers dedication day after day is something truly remarkable and without their contribution we would not be able to provide lifesaving adoption, behaviour, health and training services to thousands of animals in need.

We are proud to have 400 volunteers, across our 8 locations that assist our staff in a variety of roles in our shelters, adoption centres, ReTAILS Thrift Stores, community events and fundraising.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to assist us to re-home lost and abandoned animals; we simply couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers. 

Why volunteer with us?

Volunteers play an extremely important role in the everyday operations at the AWL and without their dedication and tremendous support we would not be able to care for the thousands of animals that come into our care each and every year.

People volunteer for many different reasons, some want to give back to the community by helping the animals that are waiting to find their fur-ever homes, others are looking to increase their skills and experience and to enhance their resumes, while others are looking for a fun way to make new friends.

How to become a volunteer

Check our current vacancies to see what roles are currently available below.

If there is a role that interests you and you are able to meet requirements for the role, complete the application in full and submit.

The AWL volunteer program receives a high volume of applications and as a result not everyone will be shortlisted to attend an interview.

  • All volunteers at AWL must be 18 years old or over.
  • A police clearance (less than 12 months old) is required.
  • Volunteers must have a valid email address
  • Existing clearances, less than 12 months old, are acceptable
  • New Volunteers are to attend the AWL Induction, orientation and a mentor shift.
  • Volunteers are required to work on a fixed roster with regular shifts.
  • Volunteers are required to enter into training programs as designated by Animal Welfare League and its Managers
  • Volunteers are required to sign the Volunteer Agreement, Position Description and adhere to AWL Policies and Procedures and WHS practices
  • All volunteers who own dogs and cats must produce a current vaccination certificate
  • Volunteers must be prepared to undergo a Medical check if deemed necessary by AWL
  • Volunteers are to advise if they have reporting requirements to a third party eg Centrelink
  • Volunteers must be physically and intellectually competent to undertake tasks, responsibilities and direction, at times unsupervised, and as defined by AWL and in line with the AWL organisational policies and procedures.
    This means volunteers must be able to:
    • Work independently
    • Fulfill position requirements as per position description
    • Hear what is happening around them
    • Read and understand all signage on site
    • Observe and negotiate all hazards e.g. wet cement, hoses in the rows, low shelving
    • Work in confined spaces for extended periods of time
    • Step up and over 70cm high entrance barrier to cat pens, without extra support
    • Stand in pens to cuddle cats and be able to raise arms above head to reach a shelf height of 1.6 metres
    • Meet lifting requirement of 10 kg
    • Observe, understand and be able to act on dog and/or cat body language without delay
  • Volunteers are required to be involved in a Suitability Assessment Interview with the Team Leader or delegated representative after a three-month probationary period
  • To minimise the risk of disease it is advisable not to work with animals while pregnant.

We have volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Anyone can apply for a volunteer role, provided they are over the age of 18. For those under the age of 18, you could help us in a different way, you could help us to raise vital funds!

Volunteering with the animals are by far the most popular roles. Please keep an eye on our current vacancies for when opportunities arise. Unfortunately we are unable to provide a waiting list for these roles or take expressions of interest.

You may also be interested in our Foster Care Program. The AWL Foster Care Program provides assistance to dogs and cats through temporary care in a suitable nurturing home, with committed and trained Foster Carers. This creates a safe place so that fostered dogs and cats are able to grow, heal and socialise in preparation for adoption. 


Volunteers are provided with training so they have lots of knowledge about the AWL and its services and role in the community. All new volunteers are required to attend an Induction and Orientation session. Relevant training to your role will also be provided, for example; animal behaviour and handling and customer service. Ongoing training opportunities are offered throughout the year to enable volunteers to increase their skills and knowledge.

We ask for a commitment of one shift per week for our volunteer roles, due to the training and support we provide. We do recognise that due to other commitments people may not be able to offer their time on a regular basis, in these cases you may wish to consider helping us to raise vital funds instead or perhaps become a foster carer.

Due to the training and WHS requirements we are unable to accommodate once off volunteering in our shelters. You may wish to be involved in one of our upcoming fundraising events.

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate work or study placements as we do not have the staff resources to train or assess student’s competency.  There are reporting and assessment requirements that need to be completed for students and as a not-for- profit organisation we are unable to allocate resources to this area.

If you would like to volunteer outside of your placement/study commitments we would welcome an application from you.

Due to a lack of resources we are unable to provide a work experience program at this stage.