Do you love animals? St. Louis offers opportunities for exotic animal and horse lovers as well as those whose hearts go out to dogs and cats in need. If you can spare a few hours a week to volunteer, or open your home as a foster home for dogs and cats awaiting adoption, you will be a hero to these local organizations.


St. Louis Zoo

1 Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 781-0900 Ext. 4670

If you want to work with animals, why not go big? St. Louis Zoo welcomes volunteers who are willing to do a little free onsite training. What does a zoo volunteer do? If you like talking to people, you could be a Zoo Ambassodor and give out information on the Zoo grounds. Or take Docent training and you could conduct educational tours. If you have limited time available, you can volunteer for specific events. Those who want to work directly with animals and have some college coursework or experience can be considered for an “externship” (no college enrollment necessary) or an internship (college students in the field). There are several other opportunities available, see the website for a full list. 


Missouri Humane Society
1201 Macklind Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 647-8800

When it comes to dogs and cats, the Humane Society is the grandaddy of volunteer opportunities. The Missouri Humane Society accepts volunteer applicants who are 18 years old and willing to make a six-month commitment. Trainees attend a one-hour orientation and then work one on one with a mentor to train for their specific position. Volunteer position availability varies seasonally and by location, but might include fostering, walking, kennel enrichment, adoption ambassador or even educational assignments. 

Related: Pet Lovers – Check Out The Y98 Pet Page!


Therapeutic Horsemanship
332 Stable Lane
Wentzville, MO 63385
(636) 332-4940

Unusual opportunities abound for horse lovers at Therapeutic Horsemanship. The program is one of the top-ranked riding therapy programs in the country, and serves a three-county area. Most of the clients are under 18, so it’s best if you love kids and teens as well as horses. Volunteers can work directly with horses and clients as side-walkers, leaders or horse handlers. Administrative, barn and fundraising volunteers are needed as well, along with professional services of all types. If you are a horse lover, visit the website to read about all opportunities and to apply. 

Related: A Guide To The St. Louis Zoo


St. Louis Pet Rescue
St. Louis, MO
(314) 827-5543

What is “pet rescue?” It’s a service that swoops in to save pets from animal control facilities and neglect situations. St. Louis Pet Rescue also strives to prevent pet neglect by educating people about spaying/neutering, training and responsible breeding. St. Louis Pet Rescue does not have a facility. All pets are housed with foster families who care for them until permanent homes can be found. Even if you can’t foster animals in your home, there are plenty of ways you can serve. Volunteers are needed to transport the animals to vet appointments, hold donation drives, pull pets out of animal control facilities and work at fundraising and adoption events. 


Hope Animal Rescues
Alton, IL 
(618) 979-1908

On the Illinois side, pet rescues are handled by Hope Rescues in the Alton/Godfrey area. The group physically removes animals from shelters on the day before they are scheduled for euthanasia, offering them an eleventh-hour second chance. The number of animals that can be saved from termination is determined by the number of foster homes available, so there is no question that opening your home to fosters will save pet lives. 

Related: Top Dog Walking Trails In St. Louis

Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at