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You’ve always wanted a pet, but your lifestyle or living situation doesn't allow it?
Or have you always secretly wanted to work with animals, but never had the chance?

If so, volunteering at the Berlin Animal Shelter might be just the thing for you to do in your free time. Berlin’s animal shelter is the largest in Europe and while most of it is financed by donations, it couldn’t survive without the help of volunteers. No matter if dogs, cats, rodents, small animals, exotics, and farm animals - they all need individual care to thrive This is why the shelter is always looking for volunteers to support them. 

How can I volunteer and what are the requirements?

To volunteer, you need to fill out a form on the website and send it to the volunteer office.

We recommend going there only when you already reached the B1 or B2 level because not all animal caretakers and shelter staff speak English. At the same time, volunteering is also a great way to expand your vocabulary and meet new people.

First, you choose which animals you want to work with and which parts of the shelter you’d like to support. You can work with dogs, cats, or small animals, help in the shelter café, give guided tours, or teach children how to treat animals properly.

Additionally, you choose the amount of time you want to invest in your work as a volunteer. When you fill out the form, you can specify how often you want to help. The minimum is 2 times a month. So even if you don’t have a lot of free time, this might be feasible.

Now it gets serious

As soon as you have submitted your form, you will receive a Zoom invitation to join an info session. In the session, you’ll receive more information on how volunteering work works. After that, you can decide if you really want to do it. Of course, you can always pause or stop completely. After that, you get a link to a Google Doc, where you enter for the coming month when you want to help.

Our teacher and office staff member Laura has been working at the shelter with the dogs for a few months now. This means that she already has a pretty good idea of what the job involves and what you have to bring to the table. The working hours for the dogs and cats are usually between 9:00-12:00. If possible, you can basically come every day. First, you will clean the kennels of the dogs with other volunteers, which usually takes 2 ½ hours. The dogs are outside until then. After that, you can go for a walk with the doggos until 16h.

Coming 2 times for cleaning is mandatory, after that you can come the whole month just to walk the dogs, but you have to tell your dog house before.

Sounds great? Here are a couple of more impressions of Laura's work with the dogs: 


The shelter is in Ahrensfelde and surrounded by fields and apple trees. A really nice place to spend time with the dogs and also get some fresh air. The work with the the cats also consists of cleaning and then cuddling and playing with the cats. It's nice to do that for free, isn't it?

If you don't have time to volunteer, the shelter also always needs donations in kind (old towels, blankets, food or toys) or you can become a sponsor for an animal and cover its food and vet costs. There are many possibilities!

We hope this little introduction has sparked your interest. If so, sign up now upgrade both your live and the lives of some doggos or kitties <3