To Apply

Download and print Volunteer Application (PDF)
Fill out our online Volunteer Application (Link)

For Court Ordered Community Service, please call the ALI Thrift Shop at 515-288-7197

To discuss group volunteer opportunities or to schedule a group tour, please message us.

EFFECTIVE 3/1/19: All volunteers must be 18 years-old & be their own legal guardian to volunteer.
For information on how individuals under 18 years-old can get involved, please
message us for information.

Volunteer Opportunities

Much of the work necessary to keep the Shelter operating and the animals well cared for is done by dedicated volunteers. Please join the other wonderful compassionate animal-loving volunteers and help us care for our special animals. If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the online application or print, complete and return the application to the Shelter during adoption hours.

All volunteers are interviewed after submitting their application and assigned to a specific volunteer opportunity and shift as available.

Opportunities Include:


Direct Animal Care

If you love animals and would like hands-on time caring for them, this is the area for you! ALI prioritizes special-needs animals. Animals without owners who are sick, injured, pregnant, nursing, orphaned babies or handicapped.

Description: Duties include, but are not limited to; cleaning, feeding, medical care, socializing, walking, bathing, and grooming. You can select dogs, cats or both. There is nothing as rewarding as seeing a dog or cat recover and find a forever loving home!

Direct Animal Care Volunteer Shifts: 
Sunday - Saturday (7 days a week, 365 days a year)
7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Based on availability

Location: The shelter

Shelter Laundry & Dishes

Description: A lot of laundry and dishes are done to ensure the Shelter remains clean. Extra hands are always welcome!

Shelter Laundry & Dishes Volunteer Shift:
Sunday - Saturday (7 days a week, 365 days a year)
8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Location: The shelter

Socializing the Animals

If you love animals and would like to help them with their social skills, this is the opportunity for you.

Description: Duties include; walking, playing and brushing the dogs/puppies and playing and brushing the cats/kittens.

Socializing Volunteer Hours:
Tuesday - Friday: 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Based on availability

Location: The shelter

Office Help/Telephones

Description: Office help is needed for answering the phones to data entry.

Volunteer Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
We have a high priority need for volunteers who can answer phones and complete general office duties Monday – Friday during the mornings (approximately 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.).

Location: The shelter

Thrift Shop

Description: Volunteers are needed to assist customers, place new merchandise on sales’ floor, and cleaning.

Thrift Shop Volunteer Hours:
Monday - Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Shifts are available to meet each individual's availability.

Location: Animal Lifeline Thrift Shop: 3304 SW 9th (SW 9th and Park Ave), Des Moines


Informational and Awareness Tables/Events

Description: Volunteers are needed to help at information and awareness events.

Volunteer Hours: Informational/awareness opportunities are held on various days and time. Many are held in the evenings or during the weekend and last only a couple of hours. Opportunities include, but are not limited to Petco Adoption Events (monthly), Great Iowa Pet Expo, Dog/Cat Shows, Drake University’s Beautiful Bulldog Contest, and community parades.

Location: Varies - Des Moines Metro locations

Fundraising Events

Description: Volunteers are needed to help with fundraising events such as serving on ALI’s annual Paws & Claws Benefit Auction (fall) committee, assisting with ALI’s Pints for Paws Pub Crawl & Scavenger Hunt (June), and ALI’s Dog Wash (July).

Volunteer Hours: Most of the fundraising opportunities are held during the weekend.

Location: Varies - Des Moines Metro locations


This is a great opportunity for someone to help the animals but can't get to the shelter!

Description: ALI needs volunteers that can bake and donate ALI dog biscuits to be sold at ALI fundraisers & information booths throughout the year. We also need volunteers who can bake and donate tasty treats for humans (cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, bars, candy, snack mix, etc…) for the Bake Sales at the ALI Thrift Shop we host throughout the year.

Volunteer Hours: Hours Vary

Location: This project can be done from your home.

Animal Lifeline of Iowa Best Dog Biscuits
- Wheat Garlic Crisps

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons garlic powder
6 tablespoons corn oil
2/3 cup warm water
'Dog Bone' cookie cutter

Roll out dough to 1/4" thickness. Cut with dog bone cutter (or cut into 1 x 2in. strips) and place on foil-lined cookie sheets. Use scraps to make new ball; roll and cut as above.

Bake 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack at least 24 hours. Biscuits must be completely dry before packaging.

Dogs Love These!!!

See more of our recipes here

Publication & Graphic Design

Description: We are in need of volunteers that have graphic design and/or publication design background.

Volunteer Hours: Varies by project

Location: Majority of the work could be done from your home or office.