New Volunteers

There are few things as rewarding as helping a homeless animal find a new home. When you volunteer at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, you make a difference for homeless animals AND the people choosing to adopt them — and we are very grateful for your support.

Choose to change the world for homeless pets though a variety of volunteer opportunities at the ARL. You can choose to help the Community Outreach program spread awareness in the community, provide enrichment and socialization for an animal, and even train other volunteers how to support our mission; volunteer team members give their time and talent to change the lives of thousands of pets each year. We could not do what we do without you, and we have unmet needs waiting for more talented volunteers to help us fulfill our mission!

Our Volunteer Requirements

  • A weekly commitment to fill one volunteer shift per week for a minimum of 6 months.
  • Must be able to commit to and complete the on-boarding process.
  • Must have a working email address
  • All oncoming volunteers will be reviewed through Iowa Courts Online
  • Age requirements
    • 10-15: must consistently volunteer with a guardian 
    • 16-17: legal guardian must sign the volunteer waiver 
    • 18+: no parental requirements  

How to Become a Volunteer

  1. Register for and attend a Volunteer Information Session
    • Volunteer Information Sessions are held on the first Tuesday of every month (excluding October, which will be taking place on Tuesday, October 13)

      Find the next Information Session
  2. After attending the Information Session, you'll fill out your application, and pay a one-time volunteer fee
  3. Watch the required volunteer orientation and animal behavior videos
  4. Sign up for and attend an interview with Volunteer Coordinator
  5. Sign up for your position specific training

Types of Volunteer Opportunities

You will learn about the different facets of the organization at the Volunteer Information Session.


  • General Administrative Help
  • Photographer
  • Videographer 
  • Animal Biography Writer
  • Donation Bank Assistant


  • Cat Animal Care Assistant
  • Dog Animal Care Assistant
  • Front Desk Greeter
  • Retail Assistant
  • Dog Walker
  • Dog Cuddler
  • Cat Cuddler

Animal Care & Control Center
1615 SE 14th Street, Des Moines, IA 50320

  • Community Animal Response Team  
  • Community Outreach
  • Dog Walker

ARL PetSmart in Ankeny
1715 Delaware Avenue, Ankeny, IA 50021

  • PetSmart Cat Assistant 

ARL West in West Des Moines
Inside Iowa Pet Foods & Seascapes, 1500 22nd Street, West Des Moines, IA 50265

  • ARL West Cat and Small Animal Assistant 


  • Event Volunteer
  • Event Committee Volunteer 

Foster Department

  • Home Visit Volunteer

Second Chance Ranch 

  • Barn Assistant

Training Center

  • Behavior Calls 
  • Canine Behavior Modification Squad
  • Canine Behavioral Assessment 
  • Equine Behavior Modification Squad 
  • Feline Behavior Modification Squad 

Treatment and Enrichment Center 

  • Afternoon Kennel Spot Cleaner
  • Animal Inventory Volunteer
  • Cat Kennel Cleaning Assistant
  • Dog Kennel Cleaning Assistant 
  • Dog Walker
  • General Cleaning Assistant
  • Grooming Assistant
  • Surgery Kennel Cleaning Assistant
  • Transport Trooper