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Best Volunteer Opportunities For Animal Lovers In The South Bay And Peninsula

(credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


Volunteer opportunities abound for animal lovers in the South Bay and Peninsula areas. For those looking to give back to animals in need, hands-on volunteers are needed to help with everything from furry four-legged to feathered friends. Volunteers can help with animal rescue, rehabilitation and public education. Here are five of the best volunteer opportunities for animal lovers in the South Bay and on the Peninsula.

Pandemonium Aviaries
Los Altos, CA 94024
(650) 948-7008

Based in Los Altos, Pandemonium Aviaries is a bird sanctuary devoted to conservation of and education about threatened bird species. Originally begun in 1996 as solely a sanctuary, the organization has grown into its current focus on species preservation, and is currently home to 40 different bird species. In order to combat extinction, the aviary has a breeding program, protects exotic species found within the United States and provides forever homes for rescued birds. Volunteers are needed to help with everything from fundraising and expanding the aviary's social networking presence to carpentry and administrative help.

Copper's Dream Animal Rescue
675 Georgia Ave.
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
(415) 779-5474

Started by two sisters, Copper's Dream Animal Rescue is an all-breed dog rescue that saves adoptable shelter dogs that are otherwise at risk of euthanasia. With a Sunnyvale, San Francisco and North Bay chapter, the non-profit rescues dogs from a number of shelters throughout the state of California and welcomes volunteers from all around the Bay Area. Since it is a no-kill rescue, the organization is in constant need of volunteer foster families. Volunteers can also help with doggy taxi services to vet appointments, as well as things like fundraising, graphic design and online pet profile listings.

Peninsula Cat Works
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 329-9570

Peninsula Cat Works is an all-volunteer-run non-profit that does kitten and cat rescue and rehabilitation to place felines in forever homes. Cat lovers can help out in numerous ways, as the organization manages several feral cat colonies. Volunteers can provide hands-on help by fostering cats and litters of kittens, socializing cats and assisting with the feral colonies and adoption events. Also needed is assistance with legal advice, mailings, bookkeeping and marketing. As with most rescue organizations, Peninsula Cat Works always warmly welcomes donations that help with supplies like cat food, litter and vet expenses.

Marine Science Institute
500 Discovery Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 364-2760

Founded in 1970 as a way to bring young students in contact with the bay ecosystem, the Marine Science Institute is devoted to fostering a life-long curiosity about and sense of responsibility for the local marine environment. Marine animal lovers can further the Institute's goals by assisting in a manner of educational opportunities ranging from volunteering at the Marine Camp to conducting tours for the roughly 50,000 annual visitors. Volunteers are also needed for aquarium assistance, marketing and fish data collection.

Hidden Villa
26870 Moody Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
(650) 949-8650

Hidden Villa is a 1,600-acre sustainable agriculture farm nestled in the foothills. The non-profit is dedicated to environmental education. There are plenty of hands-on volunteer opportunities for animal lovers to do everything from feeding the resident cows, sheep and chickens, to teaching visitors about animal husbandry and sustainable farming. The farm can also use volunteers to support with IT, administrative assistance, carpentry, trail maintenance and event planning.

Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on


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