Volunteering at the AWL

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.



Shift times: 8.30am – 4.00pm   - Limited vacancies
Driving, collecting, sorting and delivering donated goods.
Applicants must be fit and active and have clear driving record. A good knowledge of Adelaide suburbs would be an advantage.

Grooming – Wingfield Shelter

Shift times: 8.30am – 4.00pm, Weekdays
Duties include: washing and drying dogs of all sizes, laundry and cleaning duties. Prior experience in pet grooming or animal handling would be beneficial.
This role requires standing and bending for long periods of time as well as lifting of animals.

Gardeners – Wingfield Shelter

Shift times: 8.00am – 3.00pm, Thursdays
General maintenance of the gardens at the Wingfield site.
Duties include: Weeding, planting, pruning and watering gardens. Ability to follow instruction but also work independently is essential in this role. This role also requires standing, bending and kneeling for long periods of time.

Fundraising and Events

Various locations – shift times vary
This is a great way to assist the AWL raise vital funds and work with a wonderful group of volunteers who enjoy meeting new people at a variety of different events. There are a variety programs and events held throughout the year including: AWL Donation Tin Program, fundraising BBQ’s, Badge Day, street fairs, pet events, in-store demonstrations, Christmas wrapping service. 
In this role you will be providing general information regarding AWL and its services as well as excellent customer service and don’t forget……having lots of fun in the process.

Cattery Assistants - Wingfield

Shift times: 9.30am – 2.00pm    - Limited vacancies
This is a vital role in the Cattery. Duties include assisting with cleaning pens, ensuring clean bedding is provided, litter trays are cleaned and refilled and environment enrichment toys provided.  A high level of commitment is essential for this role. 

Canine Calmers

Shift times: 10.00am - 3.00pm
Duties include: The role of a Canine Calmer is to continue the positive reinforcement training plans implemented by the AWL Behaviour Team through pen based activities. This is in conjunction with assessing, reporting and recording each dog’s health and behaviour, providing dogs with social interaction and appropriate toy play, basic grooming and dog handling and providing excellent customer service.
The role of a Canine Calmer is the entry point to joining our Canine Volunteer Programs.

ReTAILS Thrift Shops

Gawler, Parafield, Pt. Adelaide, Tranmere, Hallett Cove
This role is ideal for those who enjoy working in team environment and meeting new people. Volunteers at our ReTails stores perform a variety of duties, including: Sorting and pricing of goods for sale, merchandising stock, providing excellent customer service, cash handling, use of cash register and general house-keeping.  This role also requires standing for long periods of time.

Laundry/Nursery Assistants – Wingfield

Shift times: 8.30am – 12.30pm   Limited vacancies
This is a busy and vital role at our shelter and boarding centre, ensuring that there are adequate supplies of clean bedding etc. for the animals in our care.
Must be able to follow procedures and work independently.
Duties include: washing and maintaining the supply of cat and dog bedding, environmental enrichment stock, coats, food bowls, enrichment toys and cleaning the nursery.

Laundry Assistants – Edinburgh North

Shift times: 8.30am – 12.30pm    Vacancies exist for Saturday and Sunday
This is a busy and vital role at our shelter, ensuring that there are adequate supplies of clean bedding etc. for the animals in our care.
Must be able to follow procedures and work independently.
Duties include: washing and maintaining the supply of cat and dog bedding, environmental enrichment stock, coats, food bowls and enrichment toys.

Feline Friends – Wingfield

Shift times: 10.00am - 3.00pm
Duties include: Providing cats with social interaction and appropriate toy play/environment enrichment whilst in their pens, assessing cat health and behaviour, recording of cat behaviour, general cleaning of pens, grooming using mitts and zoom grooms and providing excellent customer service.

Adoption Assistants – Pt. Adelaide

Shift times: 9.00am – 3.00pm    7 Days - Limited Vacancies
Assisting with the adoption of animals, reporting/recording on animal health and behaviour, feeding, cleaning cat enclosures, providing cats with social interaction and appropriate toy play/environment enrichment, general cleaning of pens, grooming using mitts and zoom grooms. This is a very customer focused role and will require experience in providing excellent customer service, general admin duties, cash handling, POS etc.

  • 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!

Find out more about fundraising

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 Foster Care program. The AWL Foster 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.