About the Volunteer Program

Over the course of a decade, volunteers have provided more than 300,000 hours of support for thousands of animals in the care of KC Pet Project and thousands of pet families in our community. Volunteers have given KC Pet Project over $7.8 million in time alone. (That’s a whole lot of lifesaving!)

Whether providing direct care for shelter pets, supporting administration efforts, or preserving the human-animal bond through pet support services, community programs, and community engagement, our volunteers make a big difference each and every day.

The impact of you, as a KC Pet Project volunteer, is felt by every animal in our care and every pet family we support. You are contributing to progressive lifesaving by partnering with KC Pet Project and the community to help pets both inside and outside of the shelter, and helping create a compassionate, safe community for pets and people.

To see all the amazing lifesaving work that KC Pet Project does, click here

Ready to join in on the lifesaving action?

How to Help

KCPP Volunteer

Animal Handling and Care

Help keep animals happy and active by assisting with dog walking, playgroups, or socializing cats and dogs.

Animal Enrichment

Help improve the mental health of the animals in our care by assembling dog and cat treats and toys. This opportunity is kid friendly!

Administrative Support

Use your organizational skills to assist with filing, mailings, data entry, returning phone calls and other clerical tasks.

Shelter Support (Non-animal handling)

Help keep shelter pets happy and healthy through kennel cleaning, stocking inventory, and sorting donations.

Community Outreach and Engagement

Work with our Pet Support and Keep ‘Em Together, KC teams to provide support to pet owners in our community. This can include lost and found assistance, Pet Helpline support, and more!

Special Events

Help share information about our mission and programs by attending special events as an ambassador. This may include distributing flyers, hosting youth group activities, providing support at our fundraisers or community events.


Volunteers use their own vehicles to transport animals and/or resources to our offsite adoption centers and rescue partners.

Volunteer Mentor

As a more experienced volunteer, you can serve as a mentor and provide guidance to volunteers who are newer to our program.

Foster Program Support

Assist our foster team for dogs, cats, and other pets through helping place pets into foster homes, supporting the Dog Day Out Program, caring for bottle baby kittens at the shelter, and much more. Learn More!

Petco Cat Habitats

Volunteers are needed at all of our Petco Cat Habitat locations to help with daily care of our kitties. Petco Cat Habitats are great for volunteers who live inside or outside of Kansas City, Missouri. Learn more!

…and more!

Volunteer Opportunities

KC Pet Project has a diverse directory of volunteer opportunities. Interested in working directly with animals? Have a deep appreciation for administrative and clerical work? Want to work directly with the community? To learn more about all the different ways you can get involved, please view our full Volunteer Opportunity Directory:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why should I volunteer with KC Pet Project?

As the municipal animal shelter for Kansas City, Missouri, KC Pet Project is working to provide sheltering and animal services to the community by placing pets into homes with families, enhancing public safety through animal control services, being a resource to people and pets in our community, reuniting lost pets with their owners, establishing pet retention programs, providing humane education opportunities, and enriching the lives of pets and people in Kansas City to build up and support a more safe and humane Kansas City. Learn more about KC Pet Project.

We would not be able to save the lives of over 15,000 animals each year without volunteer support. More than 3,500 volunteers are proud to join our mission and make a difference for the pets and people of our community. Are you in? Sign up to become a volunteer.

Are you a “no-kill” shelter?

Yes. We are proud to operate an open admission shelter that continuously reaches no-kill save rates every month.

“No-kill” means that we are able to achieve a 90% lifesaving rate, at least, at the municipal shelter we operate. This means we are able to save 90% of the animals that enter our shelter. This rate is the industry benchmark that acknowledges the need to consider the best interests of the animals in our care, our community at large, and to avoid needless suffering. No-kill, however, does not mean that no animal is euthanized in our care. Euthanasia is a big part of humane animal sheltering.

We always need support from our community to help us achieve and exceed our goals. Adoption, fostering, volunteering, donating, and advocating for our cause are all valuable ways to make a difference in our community.

What are the age requirements to volunteer?

Volunteers ages 7 and up are welcome. However, you must be 16 years or older to volunteer independently. Junior Volunteers (ages 7-15) must be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian at all times through the orientation training process and for all volunteer activities. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age or older to handle animals at KC Pet Project. Learn more abou volunteer requirements and qualifications.

What is the onboarding process like?

Once a volunteer sign-up form has been submitted, the volunteer department team will review the information provided and reach out to you regarding next steps. While we rarely deny someone the opportunity to volunteer with KC Pet Project, if a volunteer does not meet the requirements and qualifications of the program, we are unable to move forward.

Once a determination is made, an email will be sent providing next steps. The email will outline the details of how to sign up for volunteer orientation. Volunteer orientations are held at the KC Campus for Animal Care. Once a volunteer has completed orientation and submitted all required documentation, then the volunteer can begin donating their time to KC Pet Project.

Do you require a minimum number of volunteer hours per month?

We are flexible and are simply thrilled you choose to spend your free time with KC Pet Project! While we don’t have a firm service requirement, we recommend that volunteers complete a minimum of 3 hours of service each month to stay up-to-date and in-the-know with current shelter practices and protocols. (A lot can happen in a fast-paced environment focused on lifesaving outcomes!).

It is strongly recommended that new volunteers complete a minimum of 4-6 service hours each month for the first 3 months of volunteering.

Please note if you are inactive for more than a year, your account will be deactivated, and you will be asked to complete retraining if you would like to resume volunteering.

Do you offer volunteer opportunities that don’t involve handling animals?

Yes, absolutely! We have several activities that do not involve handling animals, as well as remote volunteer opportunities. Check out all of our different volunteer opportunities and see how you can make a difference in the Kansas City community.

Are there remote volunteer opportunities?

Yes, absolutely! We have several remote volunteer opportunities. Check out all of our different volunteer opportunities and see how you can make a difference in the Kansas City community from the comfort of your own home.

Do you offer court-ordered community service?

Yes. To learn more please visit the Community Service Program section on this page.

Do you offer group volunteer opportunities?

Yes. We offer opportunities for groups of varying sizes and ways to get involved. Learn more about volunteer service group opportunities.

Do you offer one-time volunteer opportunities?

Yes. To learn more please visit the One-Time Volunteer Opportunities (Episodic) section on this page.

Do you offer hands-on training for working with animals?

Yes, we sure do! No previous animal handling experience is needed! We offer a robust training program for working with shelter cats and tiered-color level program for walking dogs at KC Pet Project.

Do volunteers have to carry their own insurance?

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to carry their own insurance. Volunteers are not covered by workers’ compensation nor insured by KC Pet Project during the performance of their volunteer duties and tasks, including when driving a vehicle or transporting an animal. Volunteers are responsible for their own medical, liability, and auto insurance during their volunteer service.

What days and times do you need volunteers?

If you have free time, we have a place for you! We are open 365 days of the year, including holidays, to provide direct care for shelter animals. While we need volunteers every day, we are especially grateful for support in the early mornings for cleaning and on the weekends. While the availability of service hours differ by department and location, volunteers are generally needed Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm and Sundays from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Will I want to take every pet home?

You will create bonds with hundreds of animals while volunteering with KC Pet Project, but you will also have the opportunity to learn about what each animal needs to be happy, healthy, and successful in a home. Many of the animals we care for have specific needs or would do better in a home without other pets or children, etc., and may not be a great fit for you and your home. While they may not be a great fit for you, there is likely another family waiting to meet them. Our volunteers have so much love to give to the animals we care for and while it can be bittersweet to see animals leave the shelter, every adoption is a reason to celebrate!

Do volunteers have to live in Kansas City, Missouri?

While KC Pet Project is the municipal shelter for Kansas City, Missouri, volunteers do not have to live in Kansas City, Missouri, to volunteer. We have volunteers from all over the Greater Kansas City area! We also have volunteer opportunities to care for cats all across the metro as part of our Petco Cat Habitat Adoption Program.

Do you offer internship opportunities?

Yes, we sure do! To learn more about KC Pet Project’s internship opportunities, please visit this page.

What should I expect at volunteer orientation?

All volunteer orientations are held at the KC Campus for Animal Care. Please park on the south side of the campus where the Adoptions entrance is located. Volunteers should arrive a few minutes before the start of their scheduled orientation so they don’t miss any important information or introductions.

Prior to attending orientation, volunteers must complete all required documentation including the Release of Liability form. If any additional documentation has been requested by the Volunteer Department team, including court-ordered community service records, please be sure to bring them with you.

Volunteers should dress appropriately and wear proper attire while at the campus. Volunteers can purchase an optional KC Pet Project volunteer uniform shirt during orientation. Uniform shirts are unisex and sizes range from adult small – extra large ($10.00/shirt) and 2XL – 4XL ($12.00/shirt). Size availability may vary. Please plan on bringing cash or credit card–no personal checks or money orders will be accepted. (Please see “What is the dress attire for volunteers?” for more information)

Volunteer orientation will consist of a formal presentation and training and a behind-the-scenes tour of KC Pet Project at the KC Campus for Animal Care. Volunteers who plan to give service at the Petco Adoption Center or Zona Rosa Adoption Center or Petco Cat Habitats are also required to attend volunteer orientation at the KC Campus for Animal Care.

Can I reschedule my orientation appointment?

Yes, you can! You can remove yourself from the volunteer orientation schedule up until the day before your scheduled shift by logging in to Volgistics. If you are unable to remove yourself from the schedule for any reason, please email [email protected].

What is the dress attire for volunteers?

Volunteers should plan to wear closed-toe and closed-heel shoes (no sandals, flip-flops or slip-ons), long pants or jeans free from holes or tears, and a t-shirt that covers the shoulders, midsection and back. Volunteer attire must include a KC Pet Project volunteer uniform shirt or an appropriate t-shirt accompanied by a KC Pet Project volunteer vest. Either a volunteer uniform shirt or a volunteer vest, and a name tag, must be worn at all times while actively giving service to KC Pet Project.

Volunteers who give service outdoors should plan appropriately for anticipated weather, including sunscreen, cooling cloths, jackets, coats, gloves, etc.

Volunteers engaged in animal care are encouraged to bring all necessary tools, as required or as appropriate, including, but not limited to, a clip-on leash, treat bag, poop bags, high-value treats (hot dogs are a crowd favorite for dogs), clickers, etc.

What if I have other questions?

If you have a question that is not answered on our website, please email [email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.