Volunteers are always welcome.  Read below for the roles and requirements of each position. There are many ways you can help the animals in our shelter with your time, which is priceless to the animals.

Our Hours of Operation are:
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday & Thursday: 12 (noon) – 7pm
Wednesday, Friday to Sunday: 10am – 4pm

Volunteer positions

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[accordion-item title=”Dog Walker/Cat Cuddler”]
As a member of the public you are able to visit our shelter and walk an adoptable dog anytime during our hours of operation, no appointment neccessary. You must be 16 years of age or older.

Youth 15 years of age or younger may also visit our shelter during the hours of operation however must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

[accordion-item title=”Office Assistant”]

Currently recruiting for this role, requires a commitment of 2-3 hrs a week.

Shifts needed: Mondays afternoon, Fri afternoon/evening, Saturday afternoon.


  • Main task will be contacting applicants of the low cost spay/neuter program and setting up appointments for the clinic.
  • Data Entry of sign in logs, updating database with animal updates using Microsoft Office applications and internal database.
  • Check voicemail messages and returning calls.
  • Filing and photocopying.

Work location will be the shelter in Burnside, you must be comfortable working in an office where cats and/or dogs will be present (allowances can be made if you are allergic to cats).  We are looking for volunteers with typing skills and experience in Microsoft Office applications.  You should also be comfortable working in a busy, ever changing environment.

[accordion-item title=”Cleaner”]

Commitment: Weekly (flexible), 1-2 hours per shift


  • Scrubing & cleaning cat carriers
  • Spring cleaning
  • Clean the windows, sinks, common room floors
  • Dust tops of cat kennels
  • Take out the garbage
  • Dust the blinds
  • Sweeping & mopping

Must be able to climb a step ladder, and some kneeling, and working with cleaning substances.

[accordion-item title=”Junior Program Team Leader”]

Commitment: Occasional (approximately once or twice a month for 2 hours, plus some preparation time at home). Commitment times will be Monday or Wednesday evenings or Saturday mornings.


  • Assist with overseeing Junior volunteer sessions
  • Organize and present data to a group of junior volunteers and parents
  • Prepare session materials
  • Attend planning meetings (approximately once a month leading up to volunteer sessions)

[accordion-item title=”Animal Care/Adoption Counsellor”]

The deadline to apply for summer volunteer positions has now passed.  You are welcome to stop in and walk dogs/cuddle cats as mentioned above.  All weekly animal care roles described below have been filled for the summer.  You can certainly still apply and we will contact you in the fall when we begin recruiting for available shifts.

Length of Service:

The Dartmouth Shelter expects all volunteers to commit to a minimum of one set shift per week for a minimum of 6 months. The will ensure that the volunteer has received adequate training in the shelters disease control practices and is familiar with all necessary policies and procedures.

Assigned Shifts:

To enable our programs to be successful for the animals, staff and volunteer positions are scheduled shifts. We will make every effort to place you in a shift of your preference.


There are many animals and people who are depending on you. If you are expecting to be absent from your scheduled time, you are asked to contact the coordinator so we may have time to find a replacement volunteer for your shift.


The Nova Scotia SPCA expects volunteers to see the term of their commitment through. However, we recognize that on occasion, circumstances may not make this possible. Please notify the volunteer coordinator as soon as you know of any changes that will a affect your volunteer commitments, so we can keep our volunteer database current and have an opportunity to thank you for your contribution and wish you a positive goodbye.

Dog Care Attendant and Cat Care Attendant

Commitment: One shift per week (scheduled).

Most evening and weekend animal care roles have been filled at this time.  We invite you to submit your applicaton and we will contact you when a shift opens up that meets your availability.

The Dartmouth Shelter operates seven days a week with structured shifts made available for the following times:
Monday-Friday: Saturday & Sunday:
8:00am-11:00am11:00am-2:00pm2:00pm-5:00pm6:00pm-9:00pm 8:00am-11:00am11:00am-2:00pm2:00pm-4:30pm
Dogs Cats
  • Work closely with Nova Scotia SPCA staff
  • Socialize & play with dogs in backyard exercise areas.
  • Assist in the cleaning (scrubbing & disinfecting) of kennels and surrounding areas
  • Wash and disinfect food dishes & assist with animal care laundry
  • Assist in feeding
  • Utilize standard basic commands (sit, down) to ensure consistency of training
  • Work closely with Nova Scotia SPCA staff
  • Assist in the handling (petting, playing etc.) & socializing of all adoption cats
  • Assist in the cleaning (scrubbing & disinfecting) of kennels and surrounding areas
  • Wash and disinfect food dishes & assist with animal care laundry
  • Assist with laundry duties
  • Assist with feeding, and administering of some medications
  • Perform general cleaning/disinfecting of counter tops, windows, walls etc.
Must be at least 18 years old and in generally good physical condition with a strong desire to work closely with animals. This position requires lifting, bending and cleaning as well as working safely with various disinfectants solutions. Volunteer must be willing to assist with all tasks outlined as required. You must be able to climb a 2 step ladder to reach top shelves/kennel.

Adoption Counsellor

Commitment: One shift per week (scheduled).

The Dartmouth Shelter operates seven days a week with structured shifts made available for the following times:
Tuesdays & Thursdays Wednesdays, Fridays,Saturdays & Sundays
12:00pm-4:00pm4:00pm-7:00pm 10:00am-1:00pm1:00pm-4:00pm
  • Welcome visitors and answer general questions about the adoption process
  • Instruct visitors on proper disease control efforts (hand sanitizing between each cat)
  • Instruct visitors on proper dog walking procedures – sign people in, give guidelines for walking etc
  • Help prepare dogs for walks (harness, poop bag etc.)
  • Assist with laundry duties and dish/toy cleaning
  • Assist staff with other related duties (getting food ready for adoptees etc.)
  • Assist Dartmouth Shelter staff in a variety of tasks including direct customer contact
Must be at least 18 years old and in generally good physical condition with a strong desire to work closely with animals. This position requires lifting, bending and cleaning as well as working safely with various disinfectants solutions. Volunteer must be willing to assist with all tasks outlined as required.

Please Note:

Cleaning substances and peanut butter are used in the shelter facility. Volunteering at the shelter may not be suitable for persons with allergies or sensitivities to strong scents. Those with weakened immune systems should consult their physician prior to applying as all our roles have some direct animal contact, it is possible for a cat or dog scratch/bite to occur and become infected. Some interaction with the public is a part of every role, it is important for volunteers to interact with the public in a positive manner, therefore some customer service skills are required. There is always some risk of injury, a waiver is required, volunteers are expected to do their roles in a safe manner, and always treat the animals with the utmost care, respect and consideration

[accordion-item title=”Shelter Support Opportunities”]

Commitment: Occasional – when the needs arise

  • Assist shelter staff and/or Provincial staff with various projects such as:
  • Educational Outreach (ex. presentations, community booths)
  • General Fundraising (ex. Raffles, BBQs, merchandise)
  • Interior/Exterior Maintenance (ex. painting, mowing, clean up)
  • Newsletter (ex. writing, editing, photography)
  • Photography or Videography
  • Public Relations or Marketing

[accordion-item title=”Other Ways to Help”]



Stop in anytime and fill out an application form or fill one out online here.


Everyday, the Dartmouth Shelter receives calls from the public requesting assistance with stray, abandoned or homeless animals. To help care for these animals, the shelter has a foster care program to help with the overflow.

The foster program will cover the cost of veterinary care, food, litter and anything else the animal requires. The role of a foster home is not to provide financial support, but rather to provide the love, patience and attention the animal may need to regain their mental and physical health.

If you are thinking of becoming a foster parent, there are several things to consider before opening your home to a new friend. All members of your household should sit down together and discuss what fostering a pet would mean to everyone involved. If you have small children or other pets, you need to consider how it will affect them. Also, do you work long hours?  Do you live in an apartment and, if so, do you have your landlord’s consent? Do you have the time and patience necessary to care for a young or sick animal?

When you become an approved foster parent, you can decide which type of animal will work best in your home environment.

If it is a dog you are interested in, there may be opportunities to open your home to a young puppy or a dog with medical or behavioral issues that may benefit from a stable home environment and just needs some extra socialization and love in a home before they can be put up for adoption. Sometimes this is the biggest impact a foster home can provide in an animal’s life.  Dog fosters are needed occasionally for dogs recovering from illness or nursing moms with pups.

One of the most needed foster situations is mom cats with a litter of kittens. During the spring and summer months, the number of homeless cats and kittens flooding the shelter soars. The demand on shelter resources is made even greater since many of the kittens that come to the shelter are too young to be adopted. Keeping kittens at the shelter for up to 8 weeks before they are old enough to be adopted ties up kennel space, staff and resources. A foster home provides kittens with a quieter, less stressful environment where they can grow into healthy cats. Opening your home and heart as a foster parent to an abandoned animal is a rewarding way to become a volunteer! Fostering is a fantastic opportunity to make a hands-on contribution to saving animals’ lives.

We also need fosters to care for orphaned kittens that require bottle feeding. Depending on the age of the kittens they require feeding every 6 – 8 hours, kittens a bit older may only need supplemental bottle feeding once or twice a day.  We will provide training on bottle feeding techniques and all supplies are provided.  Bottle babies take up very little space in your home, but must be kept separate from other pets in your home.

Foster duration can last from 2 weeks up to 3 months depending on the animals individual situation.  The greatest need is for fosters for mom cats with kittens, but we also do need fosters for single cats/kittens, this is a great fit if you only have a small space.

Basic Requirements for Fostering Animals

  • Be at least 19 years of age.
  • Your own animals must be up to date with their vaccinations.
  • Have the consent of your Landlord (where applicable).
  • The support of all other household members involved in fostering.
  • A suitable room to isolate the foster animal(s) from other household pets.
  • Have access to a vehicle to transport animal(s).
  • Be able to provide three (3) references.
  • Have a stable life situation.
  • Be dependable and reliable in carrying out your commitment
  • Consent to a home visit from a Nova Scotia SPCA representative.

If you have any questions about becoming a foster home contact us. If you are ready to apply click here to apply online.

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