Volunteer Program

Orange County Animal Services is welcoming new team members to its booming volunteer program! The program is best suited to individuals who enjoy interacting with both people and pets.

Volunteers are key in uniting homeless shelter pets with loving families, which is both exciting and rewarding.

There is a volunteer role for every person as there is always life-saving work to be accomplished. Volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Showing available dogs and cats to prospective adopters
  • Photographing shelter pets
  • Greeting visitors in the front lobby
  • Bathing shelter pets
  • Assisting clinic and kennel staff
  • Attending events to represent the shelter

Due to the need for well-trained and motivated volunteers, Animal Services requires interested people make a commitment to volunteer at least six hours per month for a minimum of six months.

Book Buddies Program

Our new "Book Buddies" reading program provides children and young adults the chance to read their favorite books to our shelter pets. We invite you to practice your reading skills in a positive, non-judgmental environment. Our pets are great listeners! Book Buddies also benefit the pets themselves, as our four-legged shelter guests find the rhythmic sound of reading to be comforting and soothing. Additionally, the more time these pets are able to spend with people and improve their socialization, the quicker they can land a new, loving home.

Ages: All ages are invited to participate! Parents must supervise their children at all times. Parents are required to attend with their child.

Details: Please bring a cozy blanket, pillow or mat to sit on. You will be reading on the outside of our pet kennels. Although participants won't be able to make direct contact with the pets, they will love hearing the sound of reading voices. We have a variety of books available to choose from. You are welcome to use ours or bring your own books to read. Register using the link below, space is limited.

Register Today

Frequently Asked Questions Related to "Book Buddies" Program

We encourage kids to bring their favorite books to share with the animals. However, we have a library filled with dozens of animal-themed books that children can choose to read from as well.
At OCAS we allow all ages to take part in the Book Buddies reading program. In order to best manage the number of readers present at any given time, we require participants to register online and set up an appointment. Readers and at least one parent are free to read to the dogs or cats during their scheduled reading time. Parent supervision is required at all times.
Our Book Buddies reading program is focused on nonphysical interactions, which is less intimidating for the animals and helps children practice their reading skills. Participants will not be able to make direct contact with the shelter pets. No food or treats should be brought into the kennel areas (this includes human and pet treats).
Tufts University has studied the benefits for children and pets and the effects of reading programs involving animals and found positive results. The good feelings associated with animals help children relax and enjoy the experience. Some of the findings included:
  • Pets often demonstrate a supportive atmosphere that encourages the reader.
  • Children on the Autism Spectrum demonstrated an increased use of language and improved social interactions when paired with an animal.
  • Children showed "sustained focus and maintained a higher state of awareness, as well as improved attitudes toward school".
  • Animals can be a "non-evaluative presence that can provide support and comfort to participants without judging them".
The ultimate goal of the program is for our pets to feel comfortable engaging with visitors, so they experience a shorter length of stay in the shelter before being adopted. Through their positive interactions with the readers, dogs become more willing to approach the front of the kennel to greet potential adopters. Quicker adoption is also better for their well-being.

Please email OCASvolunteers@ocfl.net if you have further questions.

Court-Ordered Community Service

Court ordered community service is available for individuals age 18 and up. This is a separate program and not considered volunteering. Walk-ins are not accepted.

Please email OCASVolunteers@ocfl.net to make an appointment. You must provide documentation with your charges, hours needed, P.O. information and show picture ID to register. There is no animal handling while completing court ordered hours.

Gain Hours for Donations

Animal Services is now providing volunteer hours for donations! This is ideal for students who cannot volunteer in person at the shelter. More information can be found in this packet.

Please email OCASVolunteers@ocfl.net for assistance beginning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteers ages 16 and 17 can join the team as “Junior Volunteers” and require the signed consent of a parent or guardian to begin. Adults ages 18 and older are always welcome.
Once orientation and training have been completed, new volunteers can sign up for shifts online via Volgistics. Training does not count toward volunteer hours. Shelter and volunteer hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. through 5 p.m.
The shelter does offer one day events for groups interested in volunteering together. These opportunities are geared toward community involvement rather than animal handling. Groups interested are encouraged to reach out to the Volunteer Coordinator at OCASVolunteers@ocfl.net to learn more.
Individuals under the age of 16, in need of volunteer or community service hours can complete a shelter project. People ages 15 and younger can complete a shelter project with a parent and signed waiver. Shelter projects include:
  • Adoption Awareness – Holding pre-made adoption signs in front of the shelter to drive traffic to the shelter.
  • Donation Drive – Host a donation drive to gather supplies for the shelter and its pets. Hours dedicated to drive will need to be documented.
  • Email the Volunteer Coordinator at OCASVolunteers@ocfl.net to learn more about these shelter projects.
Students pursuing community service hours are required to commit to a minimum of six hours per month for at least three months. To get started, click the volunteer Application button.


Gillian has been a volunteer with OCAS since 2018. She specializes in socializing our pups that need some extra TLC due to being abused or abandon. Many pets can be scared in a shelter environment and Gillian’s calm personality helps them decompress. They seem to be drawn to her and know she is there to comfort them. She helps with dog playgroups, adoptions and training new volunteers. She is often seen giving our dogs a medicated or oatmeal bath to sooth their itchy skin. Gillian is a perfect example of the community and shelter coming together to help shelter pets find a new home!

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