Volunteer opportunities with Best Friends in Utah 

Sometimes, your time is the best gift you can give to homeless dogs and cats. Best Friends in Utah relies on hundreds of dedicated volunteers to help Save Them All. 

NOTE: On boarding and training classes have been cancelled. We are also reducing any non-essential volunteer shifts to help lower overall foot traffic due to COVID-19 protocols. 

To volunteer, register here. You’ll receive a welcome email with important information about orientation and training, how to explore specific programs and how to sign up for available shifts. With our online system, you can choose the opportunities that fit your schedule.

Here are some of the volunteer opportunities available through our online system:

  • Animal care (Best Friends Lifesaving Center, Sugar House): Help care for the dogs and cats available for adoption at our Lifesaving Center in Salt Lake City. 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 help with running things behind the scenes. 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 help goes a long way toward saving lives. All administrative volunteer positions are open to anyone who is at least 16 years old.   
     
  • Spay/Neuter Clinic: Volunteer behind the scenes in a fast-paced, high-volume veterinary clinic. Assist with everything from daily cleaning to charting animals’ medical histories to assisting with vaccines and talking to clients. We provide all training. Just bring your willingness to learn. This opportunity is open to volunteers ages 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. Our NKUT Super Adoption event features hundreds of adoptable pets from dozens of Utah rescue groups and shelters. These lifesaving events wouldn’t be possible without wonderful volunteers like you.
     
  • Kitten Care Center: As a volunteer at the Best Friends Kitten Care Center, you will be a part of saving the lives of some of the most vulnerable shelter animals. Kittens come to the Kitten Care Center from shelters across Utah and then go home with foster families until they are ready for adoption. Volunteers help with cleaning and sanitizing the center, providing foster families with needed supplies and guidance - and even bottle-feeding tiny kittens! Things can get very busy during Kitten Season (March - November) and volunteer help is always needed. Basic training will be provided during your first shift, and advanced training will be necessary before volunteers may work directly with the kittens.
  • Animal transport: One of the challenges of animal rescue is being able to get the animals to the places they need to go. Transport volunteers provide an essential srvice to the Best Friends' lifesaving programs by driving cats and dogs from point A to point B. This may include a variety of trips - 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 up to Salt Lake City to get adopted. Drivers may be asked to drive a Best Friends vehicle for some trips, but many can be done in your own personal vehicle! 

Click here to volunteer

When signing up through our online portal, please note the following:

  • Creating your volunteer account is a four-step process, the last of which includes watching a short orientation video. This is all you need to start signing up for shifts.
  • If your welcome email doesn’t show up within an hour, check your spam box. This email will instruct you in how to sign up for shifts.
  • All volunteers must sign up in advance for shifts. We cannot accommodate drop-in volunteers.
  • Any volunteer shifts that require additional training or class attendance will not be visible to you until you have completed the necessary training. You cannot accidentally sign up for a shift for which you are not yet qualified.
  • Unless otherwise noted, our minimum age for volunteers is 12 years old. Volunteers under age 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. You must be at least 16 to volunteer inside our spay/neuter clinics.
  • If you need special accommodations or need help signing up for a shift, please contact our volunteer department at utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org or call 801-574-2423.

We also offer specialized volunteer opportunities, including the following:

Large group volunteering
Because animals are sometimes overwhelmed by large groups of volunteers, we’ve found that our large-scale events, such as Strut Your Mutt and the NKUT Super Adoption, are best suited for larger volunteer groups. The events are fun, help save the lives of Utah animals and require a ton of volunteers for success. If you are interested in participating as a group, please email us at utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org. Provide us with the name of your group leader, how many volunteers you anticipate having and your available times, dates and hours.

Off-site and small group volunteering
The Best Friends 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 utahstreetteam@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-return (TNR) efforts so that community cats can stay out of shelters and live safely in their outdoor homes. Click to find out 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. Prior to volunteering, please email utahvolunteer@bestfriends.org 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.