become  a volunteer

Volunteer Opportunities

Dog Socializers

This position works directly with the dogs, providing them consistent touch, training, and basic needs fulfillment.  Volunteers will help dogs by walking them and providing human to canine socialization time.  Many volunteers will find they prefer to work with small/large dogs, shy/fearful dogs, high energy dogs, or dogs that are showing signs of stress at the shelter.

Cat Socializers

This position works directly with the cats, providing them consistent touch and basic needs fulfillment.  This volunteer role is also about keeping a clean, healthy environment in Cat Adoption.

Canine Care Team – On Paws

Volunteers help the Canine Care Team with a variety of tasks.  These include cleaning and sanitizing kennels, picking up and distributing blankets and toys, and providing food and water to dogs. These volunteers may also be asked to help get housebroken dogs out for potty breaks.

Feline Care Team  On Paws

Volunteers support the Feline Care Team with a variety of tasks. These include cleaning and sanitizing kennels, picking up and distributing blankets and toys, and providing food and water.

Follow-up LiaisonAs Needed

This is a customer service position contacting adopters via e-mail.  This rewarding position allows Wayside to get feedback about how animals are doing in their new homes, as well as learn more about the customers overall Wayside experience.

Humane Education Instructors – As Needed

This volunteer opportunity is specifically geared toward individuals who are interested in teaching groups of students in the classroom setting or facilitating tours and service learning programs at Wayside Waifs. This position will teach pet safety, the importance of treating animals humanly and leading service activities that directly benefit the animals.

Waif Runners As Needed

Waif Runners run with our dogs. This healthy exercise opportunity helps our adoptable dogs to release energy, reduce stress, improve health, and get much needed mental stimulation while at the shelter.

Special Event Volunteers As Needed

Volunteers are needed to help with several fundraising and community events throughout the year. Volunteers are especially critical to the success of our two signature events, Fur Ball and Strutt with your Mutt, helping to making sure each event runs smoothly and our guests have an enjoyable experience.

Vet Clinic As Needed

This position supports the Wayside Waifs Vet Clinic with non-medical needs.  Volunteers will be asked to return animals to the adoption area, clean kennels, complete support tasks that help free up Vet Techs to care for animals, and enter surgery information into Pet Point.  Volunteers are asked to make a strong six month commitment to the position and are interviewed before placement. 

Meet & Greet Specialist (Cats and Dogs) On Paws

This position works directly with the public. This is a scheduled position where volunteers help potential adopters meet Wayside animals.  Volunteers are on the floor as a resource to help the public select, meet, and become acquainted with potential new family members.

Confidence College On Paws

This position is an opportunity for volunteers to socialize shy and fearful dogs with the goal of increasing their confidence and adoptability.

Peace Academy On Paws

This position specializes in socializing and training high arousal, high energy, low inhibition, and possibly high stressed dogs.

TABBY (To Achieve Best Behavior Yet)On Paws

This position specializes in dealing with scared, shy, and unsocialized cats. Trained volunteers will work with cats that have been identified by staff. A running list of TABBY cats is maintained by the shelter to ensure they are getting the help they need.

Whiskers & Wags- On Paws

Volunteers will help adopters pick out items for their new pet, give basic advice on owning a new pet, and answer questions about crate and litter box training.  (All training on these subjects is provided.)

Animal Marketing Team As Needed

Animal marketing volunteers help highlight our large variety of adoptable animals. Volunteers on the animal marketing team assist with digital photography, visual storytelling, and writing animal biographies for the website, and other marketing collateral.

Waif WatchersOn Paws

Waif Watchers give our long-term Waifs extra one-on-one attention, help them have their moment in the spotlight, and hopefully get noticed by their forever family. They make an incredible impact on their Waif’s life by getting them adopted!

PlaygroupsOn Paws

Play is vitally important to our dogs’ mental and physical health. Playgroup volunteers lead play sessions between adoptable dogs, providing them an opportunity for social interaction and exercise, in the form of supervised play with other dogs.

Cat to Cat Introductions On Paws

Volunteers supervise the interactions between two healthy cats. This is a wonderful form of enrichment to cats that enjoy the company of other cats and helps to reduce stress. Observations during Cat to Cat interactions help us determine which cats like other cats, and could eventually be housed together to increase their adoptability.

Administrative SupportOn Paws

Administrative volunteers assist various departments (donor relations, volunteer, foster, and more) with a variety of administrative tasks to help strengthen our highly impactful programs and operations.

Volunteering FAQ

If you don’t find the information you’re looking for on this page, please call us 816-986-4431 or send us an email.

What times are available for me to volunteer?

Due to COVID-19, opportunities are changing weekly. To learn more about current needs and upcoming volunteer information sessions click here. 

What do volunteers do at Wayside? 

We have a variety of opportunities available. From office work to socializing animals, working in the vet clinic to our retail store – we have something for everyone.

I signed up for a session – what happens next? 

You will receive an email confirmation about the time and date of your session.  You will learn everything you need to know about next steps in the volunteer process at the information session.

Is the information session required?

Yes. We want to ensure all new volunteers are properly trained and oriented. Time is spent with each new valued volunteer to make sure they are getting the most out of their volunteer experience and signing up for volunteer jobs that are of value to the organization and to the animals. This process helps to maintain the quality of our volunteer program.

Will I have training before I start volunteering?

The amount of training required varies by volunteer position. If you move forward in the application process, you will be given instructions and information regarding the required training for the volunteer position of your choice. Some of our training is completed online. Volunteers who handle animals receive hands-on specialized training in working with the animals in our care.

What is the time commitment to volunteer?

Volunteers must sign up for a minimum of 3 months of 2hr weekly shifts.

How old do I have to be to volunteer?

Volunteers need to be at least 16 years old, or between the ages of 13-15 with a parent or adult.

ADOPTION HOURS: Monday: Closed
Tuesday - Friday: 11am-7pm
Saturday - Sunday: 10am-5pm

3901 Martha Truman Road, Kansas City, MO 64137
816-761-8151