How To:

The first step is to complete our online application: https://hcph.vsyslive.com/pages/app:SHELTER so that you may review our department’s volunteer agreements, and so that your account can be created for our volunteer kiosk so you may check in/out each time you join us.

After completing the application, additional instructions will follow on how to become an official Harris County Animal Shelter volunteer. 


All potential volunteers must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age to volunteer. If under 18 years of age, a legal parent or guardian must accompany them to volunteer orientation.
  • Must complete a background check screening.
  • Fill out an online application.
  • After completing the online application, you will receive a follow up email with your next step!

Individuals wishing to volunteer or intern at HCPH are required to provide an electronic signature demonstrating their willingness to adhere to the required statements, releases, and agreements of the Volunteer and Internship program via the online application.

Policies are shown here for future references:


Dog Ambassador

With approximately 150-200 dogs in our shelter, we are always in need of dog walkers!Taking a pet out to our playground helps to decrease the pet’s stress levels; improve behavioral, mental and emotional health; increase socialization and determine a pet’s temperament and behavior.It’s also a great opportunity to capture a new photo of the pet.All of these factors help increase a pet’s chance of adoption/rescue!

Training is provided by a kennel staff member who will go over tips on walking a shelter dog, safely removing dogs from kennels and knowing which pets are eligible to be walked.Dog walkers are welcome during open shelter hours.You can stop by for as little as an hour after work or spend a whole day with our pets!

Our Dog Ambassador program is led by a Certified Dog Trainer!If you wish to gain more knowledge on dog behavior and how to teach an old dog new tricks, this will be a great opportunity for you!

Dog Ambassadors become mentors and work with animals who demonstrate a need for additional training to increase their chances of adoption.They meet every Saturday at 11am.

Mobile Adoptions & Events Team

If you love animals and want to engage with the community outside of the shelter to spread the word about responsible pet ownership and animal safety, please join us at our events!As part of our community outreach and education efforts, Harris County Veterinary Public Health conducts vaccination clinics and spay/neuter events and attends health fairs and festivals year round. You will be notified of upcoming events through email newsletters and updates.

We hold mobile adoption events several times a month where we take our adoptable animals in our mobile adoption unit to different locations around the community in hopes that they will find their forever homes.

Volunteers are the lifeline of our mobile adoption events.Without them, these offsite adoptions would not be possible.Mobile adoption volunteers load animals from our shelter onto the bus, walk/feed/water pets at the event and assist the public with adoptions.Shifts are available in blocks of 3-4 hours, and volunteers may either meet at the shelter or at the event.A staff member or volunteer team leader will always be present to answer any questions and assist with volunteer duties.

Pet Adoption Counselor

We know adopting a new pet is exciting and want to make sure adopters find the perfect pet for their lifestyle!Adoption Counselors are key to helping us introduce the public to the adoptable animals at our shelter.If you like working with people while also being in contact with animals, this position may be good for you!Counselors walk adopters through our adoption process and share information about responsible pet ownership.

Some questions our adoption counselors cover include: “are you looking for a puppy or an older pet,” “how many hours will you be away from home during the day,” “does your landlord have breed/weight restrictions?”

Training is provided through our training handbook and shadowing fellow staff/volunteers. 

Wellness Clinic

Our vet staff performs 20-30 surgeries every weekday to ensure every pet adopted out is spayed/neutered; and during open hours, our vet performs vaccinations and general exams.

Volunteers are needed to assist our vet staff with transporting pets to/from surgery, assisting with pre-op duties, assembling surgery tools, cleaning kennels, and other duties as assigned.During open admission hours volunteers assist our vet staff with holding pets for exams, preparing vaccinations, learning how to read a heartworm tests and reviewing the health status of animals.

This opportunity is not available on Wednesday or Sunday since we do not have intake on those days.

There are a variety shifts available Monday-Saturday.

Kennel Assistant

Shelter Assistants help the kennel staff with the entire cleaning process: assembling cleaning supplies, moving animals, cleaning/sanitizing animal pens, resetting cages with food, paper, toys and bedding and feeding and watering all the animals in the shelter.

Volunteers can also help our shelter staff with a variety of other tasks such as:

Assisting visitors with signing in and providing them paperwork they will need to fill out
Escorting visitors searching for their lost pets
Assembling adoption packets with information and resources for new fur parents
Refilling supplies for our foster department
Escorting pets who are ready to go home to their new family

Shelter Assistants are one of the only groups of volunteers allowed in our building during morning hours when we are not open to the public.

Kitty Committee

If you’re a cat lover, the Kitty Committee might be the purr-fect fit for you!We have adoptable cats residing at River Oaks and Aldine Petco stores.These volunteers are responsible for visiting our cats, straightening their cages, providing clean litter, checking food/water and giving them plenty of attention!

This is a flexible position since you can sign up to care for the cats anytime the store is open!Volunteers are able to see what days are covered through a shared calendar and send updates regarding a pet’s health, behavior changes or adoptions!Training is provided on-site at your preferred Petco location.


What can I do as a volunteer?

We have a variety of volunteer opportunities at Harris County Animal Shelter! Volunteers can train CountyPets, help adopters find their perfect pet, ensure pets are clean and comfortable, or help at our events outside the shelter.

To see our full listing of current opportunities and additional details, please click here.

How do I become a volunteer?
  1. Email VPH volunteer to sign up for orientation
    1. Calendar link
  2. Fill out volunteer application
  3. Attend orientation & complete background check training 
  4. Start volunteering!
Are there any ongoing requirements for volunteers?

We ask that volunteer commit to at least 10 hours per month of service.

Additionally, we require all volunteers to adhere to the volunteer policies agreed upon via the online application. You can also check out our policies here.

What if I need community service hours?

Community service members have different requirements and guidelines. Please contact Tamara Cook at tcook@hcphes.org.

I completed the online application, now what?

If you did not receive an email with follow up instructions, please check our calendar for our next orientation and email vphvolunteer@hcphes.org to RSVP.

I attended orientation, now what?

Email VPHvolunteer@hcphes.org to see how you can get started! See all our volunteer opportunities to see which one you would like to help at!

Can my group set up a service day?

If you are seeking a one-time group volunteering opportunity, please contact our volunteer coordinator at VPHvolunteer@hcphes.org.

Can I volunteer if I have a criminal record?

Everyone is encouraged to apply. Results are discussed on a case by case basis.

Active Volunteers:

Our online volunteer system allows our volunteers to easily sign up for shifts and help keep track of their hours volunteered! 


Jessica S. Hernandez
Community Relations Specialist
(832) 927-1141