Volunteer Opportunities

We love our volunteers! Below is a list of volunteer opportunities that we have at BARCS. Once you choose which area(s) you are most interested in, visit our volunteer information page to get started. If you have any questions about any of these positions, please contact us here. For Paid Employment Opportunites, click here.

Animal Care

Cat Socialization
Love cats and kitties? Well, we can’t think of a better task for you! Help socialize and play with the cute, little critters!

Dog Walking
Love dogs and puppies? Here at BARCS, we have over 100 dogs that need to be walked daily. What could be more rewarding than taking a doggie out for some fresh air? 

Dog and Cat Kennel Cleaning
Help us take care of our animals by supplying fresh bedding, food, and water to give them a comfortable stay while at the shelter.

Enrichment for Dogs and Cats
While we know a shelter can never compare to home, our kennel enrichment volunteers make our dogs' stay at BARCS a little more enjoyable. By preparing and distributing tasty treats and toys, you can help stimulate their minds and keep them busy and happy.
Help this important program by creating and prepare treats in the morning or late afternoon, and/or being every dog's BFF by giving out treats and toys at 2 p.m. on weeks days and 11 a.m. on weekends.

Introduce prospective adopters to a cat or dog they are interested in.

Offsite Cat Caretaker at Petco and Pet Valu Stores
Shifts are available in the morning and evening, seven days a week at several offsite locations where BARCS cats are available for adoption. You will clean the kitties’ cages and play/socialize with them too!

Medical Support
We are looking for techs and vets to assist in-shelter with surgery, medications, vaccinations, examinations, and also public clinics.

Play Group
Talk about fun! After volunteering with the dogs for a while, you can get involved with our off-leash playgroup. The dogs are allowed to play together in an environment that focuses on behavior, training, and fun!

We are looking for certified trainers to work with behavior dogs and cats both at the shelter with our training team as well as offsite as temporary foster care for training and assessment.

Volunteer transporters assist taking animals from the shelter to vet appointments, rescues, foster parents, events, etc. Transporters also assist in picking up donations for the shelter.


Shelter Programs Support (Non-Animal Handling)

Welcome customers with a smile and keep them informed of where they are in the adoption process.

Adoption Counselor
Adoption counselors are quite lucky as they get to witness a BARCS animal leaving to go to their new home! Duties include educating about animal care (preventative care, food, exercise, training, socialization, crating, grooming, vet visits, etc.) and reviewing adoption paperwork such as the animal’s medical history.

Office Assistant
Assist with general office duties such as greeting guests, answering phones, taking messages, filing, basic computer work, answering general email and entering data (volunteer hours, newsletter list, etc). Home data entry and office work is also needed!

Lost and Found Pet Locator
Pet locators work at connecting lost and found companion animals with their owners. They will also make phone calls for potential matches or to update files.

Caring for 10,000 animals per year means a lot of laundry and dishes! We need your help daily washing, folding and organizing.

Graphic Designer
Do you have experience in marketing and graphic design? Help get BARCS’ name into the community by creating handouts for the shelter, shelter events, and education outreach programs. The information will include things such as animal care, shelter services and programs, adoptions, training methods, etc. Email media@barcs.org for more information.


Events, Outreach and Advocacy

Fundraising and Community Outreach Events
Volunteers assist with various community and shelter events to represent BARCS. These events consist of fundraising events, educational events, outreach events, etc. Email events@barcs.org for more information.

Low-Cost Vaccination Clinics
Vaccination clinics are held the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Volunteers assist with customer service, filling out paperwork, education, etc. Email volunteer@barcs.org for more information

Fundraising and Advocacy 
Any experience in fundraising? We’re a nonprofit organization, so helping us raise money to help Baltimore City’s homeless animals is extremely important. Email give@barcs.org for more information.


Community Outdoor Cat Program Volunteer

Recovery Attendant

Mondays and Wednesday afternoon after 12 p.m.

  • Provide care for cats pre- and post-surgery
  • Provide food and water to cats in the Community Cat Program
  • Clean cages and cat holding areas
  • Monitor cats recovering from surgery

Hotline/Data Entry positions

Flexible hours; may be done performed from home once trained. 

  • Answer and return phone calls made by the public to the BARCS Community Cat Program
  • Engage with the public and encourage the benefits of the Community Cat Program
  • Explain the services the Community Cat Program provides to callers
  • Offer guidance and solutions to any concerns the public may have

TNR Clinic Assistant

Monday afternoons from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (or until needed)

  • Assist with cleaning and wrapping surgical instruments, cleaning traps and carrying traps to and from the holding area to the surgery room
  • Great experience for anyone who wants to gain experience in sheltering and/or veterinary field
  • Credit for school programs and/or graduation requirements

Community Outdoor Cats Daytime Assistant

  • Flexible schedule throughout the work week (before 6 p.m. needed)
  • Help with cleaning cages and traps
  • Assist with cat drop-offs/pickups by the public

**Note: The cats in this program are often not domesticated cats; they are community cats and can range from friendly to feral. Here at BARCS, we are committed to proper care for all animals in our program.

If you are interested in either of these volunteer opportunities, please email volunteer@barcs.org with questions or to get started.


Kids and Schools

There are many ways for families, as well as schools, scouts and other groups, to get involved and help the animals at BARCS. Click here for some fun DIY craft and fundraising ideas to help homeless animals.


Groups and Corporate Projects



There are many ways that your group can make an impact and help us save lives. From Walking dogs to supply drives, there are projects for groups of all types and sizes.

BARCS Around Baltimore

*To ensure the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors while meeting the needs of the animals that depend on us, temporary modifications have been made to various department operations until further notice. Our shelter is now open to the public by appointment only for adoption and emergency intake by emailing info@barcs.org or calling 410-396-4695. Appointments are required for all visitors, including adoptions, surrenders, volunteers and fosters. Please continue reading for the specifics of each program.*

Come take a dog (or dogs!) out for a morning/ afternoon on the town! Get coffee, share an ice cream or just go for a stroll along the harbor all while promoting adoption! This activity is currently offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays only and limited to groups of 15 or less. All volunteers in your group must be 18 years or older, have valid health insurance and be physically able to handle large (50 lbs +) and often energetic dogs.

**BARCS Around Baltimore is a popular group activity and may have a longer waiting time for scheduling than the other group activities listed below. BARCS Around Baltimore is not eligible for volunteers seeking mandatory service hours.

Form a Team for BARCStoberfest

BARCStoberfest is our largest annual fundraiser and features a 5K run and walk and an all day pet-friendly festival. Groups like yours can form a team and fundraise together to help our animals. BARCStoberfest takes place annually in late October, but team registration and fundraising begins in the spring!

Hold a Wish List Donation Drive

Our wish list provides much-needed supplies to our shelter. Collect donations, set up a drop-off date, load up your donations and bring them over to BARCS! Stay for a tour or schedule another time for us to visit you in appreciation of your generosity!

Host an Office, Church or Group Fundraiser

Events like “jeans days,” raffles and bake sales can generate much-needed funds to help us care for the over 12,000 animals who come to our shelter each year. If you plan to host a public fundraising event, like a happy hour or percentage of sales day, our events and fundraising team will help guide you in making the event a success. After your event/fundraiser, schedule a tour or visit from BARCS in appreciation of your generosity!

BARCS Fundraising Events

From BARCStoberfest to bingo, crab feasts, golf tournaments, wine tastings, Pawject Runway and so much more, we host several major fundraisers throughout the year. Here are a few ways you can help with these events:

  • Secure auction and raffle items such as gift cards, baskets of cheer, pet-themed baskets and other gift baskets
  • Distribute flyers for our upcoming events at local restaurants and other businesses
  • Help at the event with setup and breakdown

Schedule Your Group

To arrange for your group to volunteer at BARCS, please complete our online Group Volunteer Project Application. Please make arrangements at least two weeks in advance of the date you are requesting. Keep in mind that not all dates will be available. Thank you very much for your support and willingness to help. We couldn't do our work without you!



Foster Parent
Foster parents will open their home to an animal until the animal is adopted. Foster parents will be in charge of feeding, exercising, training, socializing and taking care of the animal as if it were their own. They will also be responsible for talking with potential adopters by giving them information about the animal and taking the animal to adoption events. Foster parents should know that adopting an animal out to a good home can take just a few days or up to several months. We have a whole fostering section on our website with FAQs and important information. Click here to check it out!