When you think of volunteering at animal rescues and shelters, usually a few tasks come to mind: walking dogs, socializing with cats and helping out around the shelter. However, most local organizations offer out-of-the-box opportunities for volunteers looking to be photographers and designers, chaffers to transport pets to and from adoption events, foster families and more.

Here are four Nashville-area animal organizations for finding your next volunteer opportunity or furry family member:

1. Nashville Humane Association

One of the oldest service organizations in Nashville, the Humane Association was incorporated in 1946 to help protect animals in Davidson County. NHA finds responsible homes, controls pet overpopulation and promotes the humane treatment of animals through adoptions, community outreach events, and volunteer and foster programs.

More than 4,000 animals are placed into permanent homes annually, according to the organization. And its mobile vet service, ROVER, offers spay and neuter services, vaccinations, flea and tick treatments, and nail trimming.

Upcoming events:

Pinot & Pups

When: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 4-7 p.m.

Where: Nashville Urban Winery, 715 Main Street

Volunteer opportunities:

NHA relies on volunteers and offers opportunities such as dog walking, cat socializing, foster care and clerical tasks. Before serving, you must attend the organization's new member orientation and one animal walking or socialization training class. An annual $25 fee covers access to the volunteer portal software system, a t-shirt required at all off-site events and more. Online applications can be submitted [email protected]

Check out:

213 Oceola Ave., Nashville

(615) 352-1010


2. Noah’s Ark Society

Founded in 2011 by Lori Elam, Noah’s Ark Society is a non-profit animal rescue that offers care through sheltering at Noah's Ark Sanctuary (its long-term foster program); large- and small-scale animal rescues; spay, neuter and vaccination education; wildlife rehabilitation and reintroduction; and other services.Noah’s Ark Society also operates a retail center in Green Hills.

Upcoming events:

Pet Trick-o-Treat in Green Hills

When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: Noah's Ark Society Center, 4012 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville

Volunteer opportunities:

Volunteer activities include socializing, walking, feeding, grooming and assisting with the cleaning of the animal areas. After a mandatory orientation, volunteers can explore these opportunities or even take animals on outings around town. You can access volunteer forms atnoahsarksociety.org/volunteer.

Check out:

4012 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville



3. Agape Animal Rescue

Agape helps abandoned and displaced dogs by providing stable foster homes while searching for forever families. The organization is dedicated to finding permanent homes, but they also: host events and fundraisers; educate the public to be more responsible pet owners; and, teach dogs basic obedience skills, such as proper leash manners and friendly house manners.

Upcoming events:

Kendra Scott Gives Back Pawty in Green Hills

When: Friday, Oct. 19, 5-8 p.m.

Where: 4025 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville

SmArt Supplies Meet and Greet

When: Saturday, Oct. 27, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Where: 2416 Music Valley Drive, Nashville


Agape is looking for help transporting pets to adoption events, veterinary appointments and meet and greets;. They also need event committee volunteers, designers and content writers, and more. You can also sign up for its foster program and become involved in the emotional rehabilitation process for dogs waiting to be placed into homes. Visit .agaperescue.org/volunteer for more information.

Check out:



4. Nashville Cat Rescue

Nashville Cat Rescue is dedicated to rescuing cats and kittens from high-kill shelters and the streets. The organization operates through a network of foster homes, and also showcases adoptable pets at Petsmart locations throughout Middle Tennessee. Each cat or kitten receives veterinary care and placement in foster homes until adoption.


The organization’s biggest needs include new foster homes, chauffeurs to transport cats to vet appointments and administrative help. Those who volunteer at its PetSmart adoption centers will visit locations to clean cages, socialize, monitor health and provide adoption counseling. If interested in volunteering, visitnashvillecatrescue.org/contact-us.

Check out:

Rescue cats can be adopted from PetSmart locations in 100 Oaks and Hermitage, as well as the Pet Supermarket locations in Donelson and Bellevue.