Volunteer for Animal Services

Rochester Animal Services volunteers are essential to the success of the organization. Our volunteers help to enhance quality of life for animals at the shelter. They extend their time and hearts to the animals. Many activities involve direct contact with the animals but there are many opportunities that also provide supportive and administrative functions. Regardless of the specific assignment, all volunteers help enrich the animals' time at the shelter, improve customer service, augment the care provided by staff, and promote our programs and services ultimately helping to support adoptions, pet retention, and the human-animal bond. We have many active participants but are always in need of more.  

Typical Volunteer Activities21 RAS recruitment flier2 - cropped

  • Lost pet reunification
  • Dog walking
  • Cat socialization
  • Clinic support
  • Animal bathing
  • General animal husbandry
  • Customer service and administrative support
  • Off-site adoption and community events
  • In-shelter enrichment
  • Dog playgroups
  • Website content management
  • Self-rehoming support
  • Donation drives
  • Community outreach and support
  • Data entry and analysis 
  • Transporting animals
  • Shelter greeters
  • Laundry and dishwashing

Once Upon a Tail

Once Upon a Tail invites children to visit Rochester Animal Services and read to adoptable animals. This activity is mutually beneficial:
    • Children are able to practice reading to a non-judgmental audience.
    • Reading aloud helps build confidence in reading ability.
    • Animals benefit from social interaction and from hearing the children’s voices.
    • Interaction reduces stress and enhances animal wellness.
How to Register: School groups, clubs and organizations may call 585-428-7274, or send an email to AnimalServices@cityofrochester.gov to schedule reading sessions.  Teachers and childcare workers are welcome to assist with reading sessions. If you would like to get involved with the program as a volunteer, contact us by email or call 585-428-7274.


Foster Caregivers21 RAS Foster recruit social 8x82 

In addition to direct support for Animal Services, we are also looking for people interested in assisting our partner organization, Verona Street Animal Society, in expanding the foster program to extend the walls of the shelter by providing temporary homes until permanent ones can be secured. Contact VSAS by email for more information about becoming a foster caregiver.



Lost Pet Advocates

Animal Services is recruiting community members who would like to help get lost pets home. Volunteers who become lost pet advocates will receive lawn signs which identify them as a resource for their neighbors to use when a pet goes missing or when a neighbor finds a lost pet.

Lost pet advocates are provided with microchip scanners, lost and found resource packets, other supplies, and training to help get lost pets home without having them enter the shelter.

Rochester residents interested in serving as lost pet advocates for their neighborhoods may contact Animal Services at (585) 428-7274 or AnimalServices@cityofrochester.gov.

Become a Volunteer Now  I help get lost pets home

Requirements for volunteering are:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Completion of a Volunteer Application
  • Undergoing a criminal record check
  • Completion of an orientation and an on-the-job training sessions

Please contact us if you'd like to volunteer at the shelter, at a special event, or at an off-site adoption location. 

  • Telephone: 585-428-6788
  • Facsimile: 585-428-6130
  • Address: 184 Verona St., Rochester, NY 14608   Map  
  • Email  

Join our Friends Group

The Friends of Verona Street Animal Shelter, Inc. d/b/a Verona Street Animal Society (VSAS) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that helps support the mission of Animal Services through fundraising and promotions. VSAS recruits volunteers to serve on various committees that focus on event planning, fundraising, marketing and advertising, public relations, and foster care. If you are interested in getting involved as a committee member, please email our Volunteer Coordinator