Volunteer with A.R.F.

A.R.F.-Animal Rescue Foundation is an all-volunteer organization, which means that every hour of your time contributes directly to helping save homeless dogs and cats. Without our volunteers A.R.F. wouldn’t be able to fulfill its mission to save nearly a thousand lives every year. 

There are many ways to get involved with saving animals – below are some of the opportunities that are available. Time commitments vary depending on the role. If you have a special talent that isn’t listed, we still need your help! To get started, fill out a volunteer interest form

Volunteer Requirements

In order to be a volunteer, you must meet these basic minimum requirements:

  • Have a passion for helping animals.
  • Be over 18 years of age. Children under 18 can volunteer when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Have an email address where we can contact you to coordinate activities. 
  • Commit to at least 6 hours of volunteer time per month (depending on role).*
  • Attend a new volunteer orientation in person at or office location:
    • One general volunteer orientation training
    • For fosters, a foster orientation
    • For PetSmart center volunteers, additional training during your first shift
  • For foster volunteers:
    • Be able to pick up pets and bring pets to the vet in Wheaton, IL.
    • Be able to attend adoption meetings in the central DuPage County area.
    • Current household pets must be spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccines (including rabies, distemper and bordetella for dogs; rabies and distemper for cats), and dogs must be heartworm tested and on heartworm and flea preventative.

* Unfortunately we can not accept court-ordered community service volunteers

How to Start Volunteering?

To become an A.R.F. animal rescue volunteer, fill out a volunteer interest form. We will review your application and schedule you for an orientation session.  

Animal Rescue Opportunities

Dog or Cat Fostering

Our homeless dogs and cats need temporary foster homes until they can heal then be adopted by their forever families. A.R.F. provides food, supplies, and pays for all approved medical expenses at one of our medical providers. You supply the roof over their head and lots of love! If you can’t commit to long-term fostering, A.R.F. has a need for “grandparent” fosters, to provide short-term care coverage.

Learn more about fostering.

Administrative/Operational Support

This position directly helps save homeless pets by providing the administrative support needed to place homeless dogs and cats in forever homes. Duties can include processing adoption applications, making phone calls to check references, keeping our available pet database up-to-date, etc. Good for people who want to help from the comfort of your own home.

Event Help

A.R.F. hosts adoption events around the DuPage county area, typically on weekends, and some special events evenings or during the week. We need volunteers to transport animals to the events, take care of them during events (aka “puppy wrangling”), setup and tear down equipment, and do paperwork for adoptions. Minimum one adoption event per month (typically 3 hours). Great for people who like talking to other people. 

Animal Transport

We need volunteers to pick up rescues from high-kill shelters in northern Illinois and transport them to pre-arranged drop off points, or transport pets to and from vet appointments in DuPage and Will counties. Requires access to a vehicle and availability during the day (typically 12-5 pm). Minimum one 5-hour shift per month, some longer duration runs occasionally available. Good for people who enjoy quiet drives. Or, not so quiet drives, depending on how happy your pup or felines passengers are to be going to the V-E-T.

Animal Triage and Intake

This position involves checking animals for issues before they can see a vet, pulling together treatment history and paperwork, and providing high-level medical treatment (administering vaccines, medication or flea treatment). No experience needed. Minimum one 3-hour shift per month. Perfect for people looking to become a vet, veterinary assistant, or enter the human medical field.

PetSmart Adoption Center

Hang out with the cats in the Wheaton PetSmart, Darien PetSmart, Aurora PetSmart, Oswego PetSmart, Naperville PetSmart, or Naperville Pet Supplies Plus Adoption Centers. Responsibilities include light cleaning, checking food and water, talking to potential adopters, and socializing (playing!) with the cats available for adoption. Schedules are flexible – come as much as you want during PetSmart business hours (minimum one shift per month). Perfect for the person who likes playing with animals and talking to people. 

See more of the scampy fun in the Adoption Centers on our YouTube playlist.

Marketing and Fundraising

Do you have a flair for all things creative? Do you like event planning or copy writing? Exercise your creative muscles while helping save pupper and fluffnugget lives (have we said we need a copywriter? 😹). Promote pets on social media, take pictures, screen fundraising opportunities, or plan events – all with a goal of increasing visibility, adoptions, and donations. Great for people with an artistic or inventive side. Time commitment varies and can be seasonal (busier over the summer).

Community or Group Volunteer Opportunities

We occasionally have volunteer opportunities for large groups like scout troops, company service days, or other community organizations. We are always in need of adoption blankets which is great for a scout troop service project and takes less than an hour to complete. Please contact us to discuss your group volunteer opportunity.

Ready to jump in to volunteering? Fill out a volunteer interest form and a coordinator will be in touch regarding next steps. We are excited to have you join the team!