Seated person holding a tiny dog close
Volunteer and save the lives of pets in Salt Lake City
With millions of animals in shelters around the country hoping for families of their very own, one of the most valuable gifts you can give is the gift of your time.

There are so many ways you can help dogs and cats right here in Salt Lake City, including helping with animal care or administrative projects, assisting at spay/neuter clinics and events, transporting animals, joining our street team, and reading to a homeless cat or dog. For animals waiting to go home, your kindness makes all the difference.

Smiling volunteer kneeling next to a happy dog at a pet adoption event in Salt Lake City

What to expect

After you complete your application and profile, you will receive an automated email with details about volunteer opportunities and sign-up instructions.

If you’ve volunteered with Best Friends before, you probably have a volunteer profile already. If you need help reactivating your account (inactive profiles are deactivated after six months), please email utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org for assistance. 

To begin the process, please submit an application in the area that most interests you. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll have access to the full list of volunteer opportunities.

Volunteers for our general programs must be at least 12 years old, and volunteers for our reading program must be at least 6 years old. Volunteers for either program who are under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The first step in viewing and signing up for these opportunities is to fill out and submit the application for volunteers under 18.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org

Volunteer opportunities

There are so many ways you can make a lifesaving difference for dogs and cats through volunteering, and we can help you find the role that’s right for you.

 

Animal care (Best Friends Lifesaving Center, Sugar House)

Help care for the dogs, cats, puppies and kittens available for adoption at our lifesaving center in Salt Lake City, where you’ll receive orientation and training. We encourage animal care volunteers to commit to three shifts per month. Children 12-15 years of age can volunteer with cats alongside an adult, but you must be at least 18 years old to volunteer with dogs.


Administrative assistance 

You’ll lend a hand behind the scenes to keep all programs running smoothly. Whether you assist with data entry and clinic appointment reminder calls, help run our pet food pantry or make winter homes for community cats, your contribution goes a long way toward saving lives. All administrative volunteer positions are open to anyone who’s at least 16 years old.     


Spay/neuter clinic

Volunteer in a fast-paced, high-volume veterinary clinic. You can help with everything from cleaning to charting animals’ medical histories to assisting with vaccines and talking to clients. We provide all training. Just bring a willingness to learn. This opportunity is open to volunteers age 16 and up.    


Events 

Be a part of the excitement and volunteer at one of our large community events. Strut Your Mutt is an annual dog walk and fundraiser that benefits Best Friends and local rescue groups, shelters and other animal welfare organizations. These lifesaving events wouldn’t be possible without wonderful volunteers like you.


Animal transport

One of the challenges of animal rescue is getting dogs and cats to where they need to go. Transport volunteers provide an essential service to Best Friends’ lifesaving programs by driving pets from point A to point B.

It includes everything from taking dogs from our lifesaving center to our spay/neuter clinic and back, to picking up cats from rural shelters in southern Utah and bringing them to Salt Lake City, where they’re more likely to get adopted. You may be asked to drive a Best Friends vehicle for some trips, but many can be done in your own car. 


Reading program

Like reading and animals? Children ages six to fifteen, along with their parents or guardians, are invited to read to pets at our Salt Lake City lifesaving center. Reading to pets can improve kids’ reading skills and help the animals find homes. 


We also offer specialized volunteer opportunities:

Large group volunteering

Big events, such as Strut Your Mutt and the NKUT Super Adoption, are great for large volunteer groups. The events are fun, help save the lives of homeless pets in Utah and require lots of volunteers to be successful.

If you're interested in participating as a group, please email us at utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org. Give us the name of your group leader, how many volunteers you anticipate having at the event and your available times, dates and hours.


Off-site and small group volunteering

Our lifesaving center is too small to host volunteer groups, but groups can help the animals in other ways. If you have a small community group, an Eagle Scout project or a group of children under 12 who want to do something to help the animals, consider hosting a food and supply drive for our pet food pantry, creating toys for our adoptable cats and kittens, or making blankets for pets in our spay/neuter clinic. To get started, please email us at utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org.


Street team

If you have an outgoing personality and a passion for helping pets, consider joining our street team. You’ll engage with the public at community events, connect with local businesses and organizations on our behalf, and help spread the word about our work. If this sounds like the perfect fit for you, email us at utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org.


Community cat programs

Community (aka stray, feral or free-roaming) cats are among the most at-risk pets in shelters around the country. You can help with trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR) efforts so that community cats stay out of shelters and continue to live safely in their outdoor homes.

Learn more and apply for community outreach or trapping and caring for cats. If you'd like to help with community cats in other ways, please email utahtnr@bestfriends.org.


Community service

We accept court-ordered community service volunteers with certain misdemeanor charges, but we are unable to work with those charged with anything violent or sexual in nature, or with persons charged with activities that involve deceit or dishonesty.

Please email utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org prior to volunteering to set up an appointment to sign your community service volunteer agreement and provide a copy of court documents. Appointments are available between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.