Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities

???????????????Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our organization! Because our staff is very lean, we rely on volunteers each and every day. Our dedicated volunteers do so many things–cuddle cats, walk dogs, counsel adopters, clean cages, transport animals, stuff envelopes, participate in “Friend”-raising and fundraising events.

Some of our most dedicated volunteers are students under the age of 18. These “Kid Crusaders” aren’t afraid to push up their sleeves and go to work. Plus, volunteering at our shelter is a great way to earn community-service hours for school or church.

Volunteers tirelessly give of their time and talents, and are always at the ready to lend a helping “paw.” The best rewards? Purrs, tail wags, and the glowing satisfaction of knowing they are “saving strays every day.”

Ways to Volunteer

Here is just a sample of the many volunteer opportunities to help inside the shelter, off-site, and fundraising.

In-Shelter Assistance

  • Help us care for the animals by walking dogs, brushing and petting cats, cleaning cages, and refreshing water bowls.
  • General daily cleaning duties including dishes, laundry, sweeping, etc.
  • Help us keep our grounds beautiful by watering, gardening, weeding.

Off-Site Adoption Events

  • Help us showcase our animals at various venues around town.
  • Be an ambassador for the Friends by interacting with the public.
  • Help spread the word about future Friends events.


  • Volunteer at one of our many yearly fundraisers.
  • Help recruit attendees to Black Tie & Tails.
  • Man a station at our Cool Cat Casino.
  • Help organize Mutt Strut.
  • Many, many more opportunities await our volunteers!

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

Special Note: Court-ordered community service hours are available through a separate program. Call the shelter during normal business hours for more information. 313-943-2697, then press 1.

Becoming a Volunteer

???????????????Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit. This is your chance to help homeless animals find permanent homes. You can meet other animal lovers like yourself who believe in our mission. Plus, volunteering is a rewarding and fun experience. We offer training, flexibility, and a variety of opportunities to match your interests.

For more information, please contact Katie Johnson, Volunteer Director, at 313-943-2697 x3555 or volunteers@metrodetroitanimals.org.

Get Started

Step 1: Apply

We require that all new volunteers complete a Volunteer Application and pre-register for a volunteer orientation. Complete the application and register for orientation using the links provided:

APPLICANTS AGES 12 – 17 ONLY: Your parent or guardian must also sign the Volunteer Release and Save Harmless Agreement. Print a copy and bring to the orientation. Copies will also be available at orientation. YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO VOLUNTEER UNTIL THE SIGNED FORM IS TURNED IN.

Step 2: Review the Handbook

Review the appropriate volunteer handbook. You need not print it, but might want to refer to it online from time-to-time.

Becoming a Foster Parent

The Friends depend on many volunteers to help care for the animals that come through our doors each year. One of the most honored volunteer roles is becoming a foster parent for our companion animals. These parents are our satellite heroes. Foster families provide temporary animal housing for a number of reasons: some animals need extra attention because they are very young; others need to learn human interaction skills; and, in some cases, we are simply overflowing at our facility.

How does fostering help the shelter?

It provides safe, loving homes for temporary care of animals who can be successfully adopted, but are not yet ready to move into the adoption process. Many times, young kittens or puppies are just too small for adoption. Other times a scared dog or cat who was stray or abandoned needs to learn to trust humans again before finding their forever homes. Finally, foster homes allow us to care for many more animals than our limited structure would allow each year, giving us the chance to save more animals.

Who can become a Foster Parent?

The Friends welcome all volunteers who want to open their home to help foster animals. All types and sizes of homes and family circumstances are needed. Sometimes it is important that there are other animals in the home, sometimes it is important that there are not. Many of our foster families have children, many do not. Each situation is examined uniquely and matched according to the best opportunity for success.

In addition to helping homeless animals, this is a great avenue for your family to determine if one day you and your family want to adopt into your home.

How can you become a Foster Parent?

Consider if you or your family is interested in helping animals by providing temporary loving shelter for them and helping them move on to succeed as companion animals in their forever homes.

Complete our foster application and a brief screening with shelter staff. Animals are placed with successful foster applicants according to their individual requirements and shelter capacity. Some foster situations last only days, others may span several months. It varies for each situation and animal need. All aspects are discussed carefully with you before placement.

The shelter assumes responsibility for the foster animal’s medical care and food. The foster family provides encouragement, guidance, and love.

Apply Today

Apply Online

Complete our Foster Volunteer Application today to start the process of becoming a foster parent.

You can alternatively download and complete this PDF version of our Foster Volunteer Application. Once you have filled out the PDF application, submit it via:

Fax: 313-943-2262,
Attn: Heather Mehi

Email: Heather Mehi,

Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit
Attn: Heather Mehi
2661 Greenfield Rd
Dearborn, MI 48120

Drop it off:
At the above address
Attn: Heather Mehi


What is iFoster?

iFoster-screen-captureA virtual campaign to help find homes for our adoptable pets. You agree to iFoster and we assign you a pet. Share about that pet in any of your virtual communications, email, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, even talking to friends at a party, anywhere you post or go.  We also have business cards and flyer templates you can print off for your iFoster.

Let your circle of friends know about our adoptables. When the pet gets adopted, we contact you and ask if you will help us with another one. iFoster as long as you want and as often as you want.

Just think of it, if 20 people choose to iFoster and they each know 200 people, and they in turn each know 200 people, each animal’s possibility of getting adopted just increased 40,000 times. You really can make a difference.

Browse our Adoptable Animals to get started! Look for this button:  iFoster Me

Get Started!

  • Browse our Adoptable Animals and click on the one you want to iFoster. There’s a purple button that says iFoster. Click on that to sign up to iFoster that animal.
  • You will have access to clickable tools that will allow you to share about your iFoster on social media and email.
  • Personalize your messages, make them fun, so they sound like you and ask people to adopt or share your message. Include hashtag #ifosteranimals in every social media post so we can track the volume of iFoster activity.
  • When the pet is adopted, you will receive an email update from us and asking if you will iFoster another pet.
  • Say yes as often as you want.
  • You are also welcome to iFoster more than one pet at a time.

Pit Crew: Our Dog’s Best Friends

pit crewThe Friends for Animals of Metro Detroits Pit Crew is a specially trained team of volunteers who work with all of our shelter dogs in order to enrich their lives while under our care, help increase their adoptability, and teach them new skills to stay in their forever homes. This includes special work with our adoptable “bully-breed” dogs as part of our Recycl-A-Bullz program, to create a positive image of these dogs in the community.

Pit Crew volunteers help our dogs:

  • Stay physically and mentally healthy while they wait at the shelter for a forever home.
  • Socialize with people and other dogs so they succeed at being great family companions.
  • Attain Canine Good Citizenship (CGC) certification.

Activities with the dogs include:

  • Weekly dog training class
  • Sporting Dog Club twice a month
  • Social events in the community and put on by the shelter

If you are interested in joining the Pit Crew, contact Linda Thomas at lthomas@metrodetroitanimals.org or 313-943-2697.

Our Partners

kenneth a scott pedigree foundationHappyHowies_webOur Pit Crew training is fueled by Happy Howie’s.PrintPit Crew volunteer gear is provided by Carhartt.

What does Pit Crew stand for?

“PIT Crew” stands for the areas in which the dogs are trained:

P = postures (body language)
I = impulse control
T = training/tricks
C = community
R = reactions
E = equipment/environment
W = walking

Cat Coaches

2013_cat_coach_workCat coaches are specially trained volunteers who help our cats adjust to shelter life and get them ready for their forever homes. One rescue at a time, these hardworking volunteers increase each cat’s chances for adoption.

Cat Coaches assist by:

  • Providing cuddle time for our kitties
  • Teaching our felines new behaviors like “sit” and “wave”
  • Helping our kitties accept being handled, so they become accustomed to such things as regular nail trimming
  • Discovering a cat’s “inner personality,” which helps place the right cat with just the right family

If you are interested in joining the Cat Coaches, contact Linda Thomas at lthomas@metrodetroitanimals.org or 313-943-2697.

Our Partners

purinalogo_webOur Cat Coach training is fueled by Purina.

Other Ways to Help

ABT 1st graders 2You can be an important part of the Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit even without becoming a volunteer.  Below are some ideas:

Fido Bakery (Homemade Dog Treats)

Calling all bakers!  You can be a part of raising funds for the shelter by baking dog treats to be sold at special events and the Dearborn Farmer’s and Artisans Market.  Contact Jennifer Dickey at fidobakery@gmail.com for more information.

Kitty Comforters

If you are crafty, download the directions to make Kitty Comforters. You make ’em, the cats love ’em.

Dog Toys

Water Bottle Enrichment Toy – This feeder keeps our dogs challenged and using their brains. Nothing better than a little delayed gratification.

Dog Pull Toy – Find out how easy it is to weave a fleece rope dog toy and make one of our dogs a happy camper.

Group Projects

Existing groups that help us out: Howe School students, Mixter School, Services to Enhance Potential, and Jewish Vocational Services.

Share your ideas with:
Volunteer Director
Katie Johnson
313-943-2697 ext. #3555.

Enter the Volunteer Information Center (VicNet) to sign up for shifts, log your hours, check your schedule or change your contact information.

Please Note:  Your Login Name is the e-mail address which we have on file.

If you are new to using VicNet you may want to view a short video that provides an overview of the system.