Volunteering & Fostering

If you're not ready to adopt, you can still help by volunteering at the shelter, fostering a pet in need of a temporary home, or taking a dog out on a date.

Volunteering at the Shelter

Want to walk dogs? Cuddle cats? We'd love to have you join our dedicated team of volunteers!

Here's how to get involved:

  1. Register as a volunteer with the City of Pasadena.
  2. Attend one of two monthly volunteer orientation sessions at the shelter.
  3. Put in five hours of general service at the shelter.
  4. Participate in five hours of supervised/mentored work with animals.
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Fostering an Animal

Have you heard? We’ve removed restrictions to make it easier for people to participate in our foster program. Live more than 25 miles away? No problem. Rent your home? Not an issue. 

Guess what else? We provide a lot of the supplies. Food? Check. Leash? Check. Puppy pads? Check.

Link to pet adoption application

Fosters are critical to saving lives--now more than ever. We’re regularly transporting cats and dogs to shelters and rescues in other areas of the country, where they’ll find forever homes more quickly. Once we have pets selected for these transports, we need to get them out of the shelter for a week or two. Being in a home environment allows the cats and dogs to decompress and frees up critical kennel space. Moreover, some of our rescue partners actually require that a dog or cat be in a foster home for a certain number of days before leaving on a transport. 

Whether you foster for a few days or a few months, having a shelter pet as your house guest is a rewarding, unique experience that provides a commitment-free taste of pet ownership.

Dog sleeping on couch


To foster, you need to:

  • Be 18 years old or older
  • Have your personal pets vaccinated
  • Not be (currently) fostering for any other shelters or rescues

Our Needs

We’re often in need of fosters for:

  • Pets leaving on transport: Once a pet is selected for a transport, we need to get them out of the shelter for a short time ranging from a few days to a couple weeks.
  • Pets identified as "at risk": When the shelter is critically full, we need fosters to care for some of our longer-term residents.
  • Pets with behavioral needs: Some pets have never experienced kindness. They often need a few weeks with a gentle foster to learn that being with people can be a positive thing. Other pets become stressed at the shelter, and a foster home can provide a much-needed break.
  • Sick and injured pets: Pasadena Animal Shelter is an open admissions, municipal shelter, so we often take in animals that are too ill to go up for adoption. Some of them need a quiet place to recover.
  • Young pets: We often receive mama cats and dogs and their litters of kittens and puppies. The shelter environment is too challenging for such babies and their fragile immune systems. Sometimes babies just need a couple of weeks to grow, while others may need a few months.

Learn More & Apply

Find more information about fostering in our Foster Handbook (PDF). If you feel ready to foster an animal in need, apply online or download the Foster Application (PDF)

Apply for Doggie Date! 

Dog with Rose in his Mouth

What is Doggie Date?

Think of it as a short-term foster--only better. 

Doggie Date allows you to interact with deserving shelter dogs in an environment of your choice. Plan an afternoon, an overnight, a weekend, or even a holiday full of fun, and we’ll hook you up with the perfect canine companion. There’s no cost or commitment, only good times—and potentially, a few kisses—ahead.  

Link to pet adoption application

Why Doggie Date?

In addition to shaking up your routine with a unique experience, Doggie Date offers a host of benefits for all those involved: the dogs, the shelter, and the participants.

The Dogs

  • Shelters are stressful places, but dates give dogs a chance to enjoy new surroundings, exercise, socialize, and unwind. Dogs return to the shelter less stressed, which means they’ll be more likely to find happily-ever-after with a special someone.
  • When out on the town, our dogs meet a whole new crowd of potential adopters. Then they reach even more people through those adorable selfies you snap. So hashtag that #doggiedate, and our highly eligible canines will benefit from the social media #love and exposure.

The Shelter

  • Dates allow us to find out how a dog will behave in a home setting—something that improves our marketing efforts. (Does he beg dramatically, yet politely? Resist the urge to drink out of toilets? Climb stairs with ease? Details transform an ordinary shelter dog into a pup that someone has to meet.) Moreover, we can give future owners a heads up about a dog’s quirks.
  • Having dogs out, even for an overnight, reduces the burden on shelter staff who normally clean between 150 and 200 kennels per day. Imagine that.

The Participants

  • Pets provide more health benefits than the latest fad diet and a stress ball combined. But what if you can’t own a pet? Have no fear, even limited time spent with a pet makes a difference in your overall well-being. Since Doggie Date encourages you to do something active and social where you can exercise and interact with others in real life, it’s extra beneficial to your health.
  • With its low barrier to entry and minimal time commitment, this program also allows you to do something good on your schedule. You can make a difference on days when your other plans fall through. And you can make a difference while doing something you love, like hiking or watching football—it’ll just be with a furry friend at your side.
  • Finally, Doggie Date allows you to see if you have chemistry with a potential partner before committing to forevermore. After a few dates—or an extended date—it will become clear if a dog is “the one.” If adoption is your ultimate goal, think of this program as a low-risk, first step.

Your First Date

Complete an application either at the shelter or online. While it make take up to two weeks to process your application, you only need to apply one time. Once approved, you can come to the Shelter, fill us in on your date plans, and meet your match or potential matches. Unless a specific dog has stolen your heart already, we’ll select the dog or dogs for you based on your experience, intended activities, and date length.

We will provide you with the essentials—a collar, leash, and waste bags, plus food and a bowl, if needed. We’ll also provide you with basic instructions and ensure you’re comfortable with your date. Then you'll simply sign a liability waiver, show valid identification, and take off. You’ll need to return your date by “curfew”—a clearly-specified time.