Welcome! We are so happy you are interested in volunteering at the ARL. The animals and staff will appreciate the time and energy you are willing to give us!
The first step to becoming an ARL volunteer is to attend a new volunteer orientation that also includes a "companion training" class. At new volunteer orientation, you will learn more about the ARL, its programs, and what you can do to help. Directly following new volunteer orientation, you will attend either the Dog Companion or Cat Companion training. Following that training, you'll all get your first volunteer experience as volunteer as a group for 30 minutes (or longer if you can!). Plan for this total on-boarding process to take 1.5-2 hours.
Before you attend orientation, you will need to:
- Register for Orientation and pay your one-time $25 volunteer fee. The $25 volunteer fee covers the cost of your ARL volunteer T-shirt and all volunteer-related classes and supplies. Check out our upcoming new volunteer orientations at right. Just click on a link and register! (please note cancellation policy below)
- Fill out a Volunteer Application. Everyone who wants to volunteer needs to complete this application. If you are a family or group, this application needs to be filled out for each individual. Fill out volunteer application >
- Arrive early. Make sure you have time to park and sign in before orientation is set to start. If you are late, we will ask you to reschedule your orientation.
- Come to the correct location. Orientations are held at ARL Main in Mapes Auditorium, located on the north side of the shelter at 5452 NE 22nd St. in Des Moines.
- If you're under 18, make sure you follow the age requirements. Volunteers who are 16-17 can volunteer without an adult, but nee to bring a parent or legal guardian signed liability waiver. Without a signed waiver, you will not be able to volunteer. Volunteers who are 10-15 can only volunteer with an adult. Adults must also be registered as a volunteer and must be in arms-reach during volunteering at all times.
Service Hours & Silvercord: A note for those seeking to complete service hours for school, religious programs, etc.: Because of the orientation and training process, we are unable to register volunteers wishing to commit fewer than 12 hours of service. For one-time or group opportunities, please click here.
Cancellation Policy: We know life happens, but because our classes typically sell out and there is a lot of time required to manage the logistics of cancellations, we are unable to offer refunds.