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GAWS would like to thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer.   We are a not for profit organisation and can only continue to run with the help of the public, including relying heavily on volunteers.  We appreciate all of the people who want to help out and would like to welcome you to the team.

While there are staff members at the shelter, GAWS likes to buddy them up with a volunteer to help relieve the pressure of looking after so many animals.  By doing this, we are able to offer our volunteers a real hands-on experience of working in the shelter.  We have a diverse range of opportunities, so no matter what you are interested in, you should be able to find a role that suits you.

Some of the roles available are below –

  • Cattery

This includes maintaining our cattery areas, including cleaning, feeding, and preparing the pens with cat toys and things to keep them entertained.

  •  Dog kennel

This includes maintaining our dog kennels, including cleaning, feeding, and preparing pens with dog toys and things to keep them entertained.

  •  Dog walking

All of our dogs are eager to get out and stretch their legs, so people who are capable handlers are encouraged to take the dogs out to an open enclosed area for regular exercise.  This helps the staff gain a better understanding of the dog’s behaviour and needs.

  • Animal Enrichment

All of the animals need to have things in their lives that keep them stimulated and free from boredom.  Volunteers are encouraged to work with the animals, play with them, train them, pat them, and offer toys and activities to keep their minds busy.  It is important for the animals to be socialised and have a full life while they stay at the shelter.

  • Grooming

Some of the animals that come in to the shelter can be in poor health and may need some grooming to improve their comfort.  We are always looking for volunteers who can bathe and groom the animals.

  • Gardening

GAWS is based on a large venue and have a lot of gardening to do.  Volunteers who are handy in the outdoors are always welcome to do the mowing, weeding, planting, and general yard tidy up.

  • Maintenance

Handy men and women are welcome to help with maintaining the premises, including general maintenance, fixing fences and pens, painting and decorating the site.  GAWS aim to hold some working bees as well as needing regular volunteers.

  • Sales assistant

GAWS have a pet supply store that is on site to help new owners prepare for taking home their pets.  Volunteers are needed to manage the store, including sales, stocktake, display, cash handling, and customer service.

  • Photography

All of the animals available for adoption are posted on our Website.  The best way to show the animals available is via photos and videos.  Volunteers are required to come on a regular basis to take photos/videos of the animals that are ready for their new homes.  This could also include uploading to the website, and working with a staff member to get that winning shot.

  • Laundry

This is not the most glamorous of jobs, but someone has to do it.  If you are one of those people who finds doing laundry relaxing, we have plenty here to do.  All of the animals in our care require clean bedding, so this can lead to a lot of laundry.  Even if you are considering doing other volunteer roles, maybe you could put on a few loads while you are here.

  • Administration

The administration requirements of such a large shelter are immense.  We are always looking for volunteers with administration skills to help us.  This can include photocopying, data entry, creating flyers and promotional items, and all other office based tasks.

  • Meet and greet ground crew

GAWS is a very busy shelter, and at times the staff members are all busy with other customers.  We would like to have some volunteers who know the shelter who can offer customer service to customers who are waiting.  Perhaps taking them around the shelter, offering assistance if needed, and explaining the adoption process.  This position would be most suited to weekends and public holidays.

  • Fundraising/events

Being a not for profit organisation, GAWS needs to raise funds whenever it can.  A team of dedicated fundraisers are tirelessly working towards developing events and activities that will assist in raising funds.  These have included Family Fun Days, off site adoptions, BBQs, and special events.  If this is your kind of thing, please feel free to join this group and bring along your creative flair.

  • Promotion

Volunteers are needed to help spread the word about the integral work that the staff at GAWS are doing.  This could be through word of mouth, letter box drops, putting up posters, or helping with our website or Petrescue profiles.  We also have tins and donation boxes around Geelong and need people to manage these for us.

  • Other

We know that people want to help, and we are more than happy for you to make suggestions about what YOU can do.  You may have a special skill that is not listed above, or you may be able to help out in a different way.  Please let our friendly volunteer coordinator know and we will see how this will fit.  Even if you cannot help out at the shelter, there are many other ways to help from home, work, or school.  For example, maybe you make dog beds or toys from home and would like to offer them to the animals in the shelter, or maybe you would like to fundraising activity at your sports club? The list is only limited by your imagination.

Sub committees will be developed for some of these roles, and GAWS are looking for leaders who are interested in managing one of these groups.  If you have a passion for animals, have some skills and experience, and a drive that will support you in this area, please let us know.  The leadership role will include managing other volunteers, liaising with GAWS staff, organising meetings, and some planning and operational tasks.

Volunteers can work different shifts to accommodate differing lifestyles.  To become a volunteer you will need to fill in an application form and once accepted, complete an induction of the shelter.  You will then be offered shifts in the roles you have chosen as your preference.

To  apply please fill in the application form and drop in to the shelter at

325 Portarlington Road,
Moolap, 3221


email to  You can find the application form on our website or in the office.

Download a Volunteer Application Form here