Best Friends volunteer opportunities help save more lives in city shelter system.
Start spreading the news: Best Friends volunteer opportunities help save more lives in city shelter system.
By: on September 15, 2014

Attention New Yorkers. Interested in directly impacting the number of lives saved in New York City Animal Care Centers? For those wishing there were something they could do to help — here’s your opportunity.

Best Friends–New York has launched a foster program designed to quickly move pets out of the shelter and into homes. Since the program began in July, dozens of animals have been helped into new families. “People have told me many times — if there was only something they could do to help save more shelter animals,” says Tammy Heeber, Best Friends Animal Society–New York volunteer and outreach coordinator. “We have some great volunteer positions for average New Yorkers who want to directly impact on the amount of lives saved out of New York City Animal Care Centers.” To learn more about this foster program, click here.

While foster homes are the mainstay of the program’s success, there are other ways to support the foster program without actually taking in a dog or cat.  

Social media team

Many people aren’t in a position to welcome another animal into their apartment or residence, but may know of friends or acquaintances who can. “Many of our most helpful volunteers are actually foster home recruiters,” says Tammy. “They’re on the frontlines of helping spread our mission and mobilizing the community.”

Animal lovers all over the Tri-State area can get onboard to help save more shelter animals by helping spread the word about the program. “To help save more lives, having tech-savvy people cross-post our animals available for fostering (using the pictures and bios we provide) is huge,” says Tammy. “Our New York social media team is making a real difference, and it’s something that doesn’t take a lot of time but produces results.”

Out and about

For busy New Yorkers bustling to their next appointment, or running errands, Best Friends–New York has outreach volunteer roles that fit in perfectly with the average multi-tasking schedule. In fact, the busier people are, the better, when they’ve signed up as foster home distribution ambassadors.

Foster home distribution ambassadors physically distribute promotional flyers as they go about their daily routine. Whether it’s the dry cleaners or local haunts, most businesses have an area where public notices can be posted. Many pet-friendly apartment buildings also have public areas with bulletin boards where flyers can be shared. Best Friends supplies the printable flyer files to the ambassadors, who utilize their polite, outgoing personalities to secure a spot for the flyers around town. It’s easy, both for folks who have been in their neighborhood for years and for those new to an area because it’s about having a dialogue with neighbors and business associates. 

“We really want people to claim their neighborhood,” says Tammy. “People can sign up to target SoHo or Hell’s Kitchen, wherever they live, and make inroads that will ultimately save more pets in the New York City shelter system and help the community.”

“We’re also encouraging Best Friends–New York supporters to do some tabling,” she says. “It’s quite simple. Our volunteers have the flyers and engage their coworkers and colleagues during lunch, at a mall or perhaps a pet supply store, where they explain about the volunteer and foster opportunities at Best Friends. It’s volunteer recruitment at the most basic, grassroots level.”

Volunteers can even schedule a talk at their local library about how people can help Best Friends save lives. “Really anyone, almost anywhere can help us save more lives by taking the time to help spread the word,” says Tammy.

Get involved

Learn more about the Best Friends–New York volunteer positions. Click here.

To register to volunteer, go to