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Volunteering at Lort Smith

Lort Smith is fortunate to have the support of over 400 amazing volunteers who come from every possible background and share a love of animals and a desire to help.

We offer a range of rewarding volunteer opportunities. If you have a few spare hours a week, love of animals and want to support your local community, Lort Smith might be the place for you!

Please be aware that volunteering at Lort Smith is very popular and we recruit based on the need of the organisation. If you are interested in a specific role that we are not currently recruiting for, you will need to wait until places become available.

Please note that all prospective volunteers are required to be a minimum of 18-years-old, attend an information session at Lort Smith, have an interview and undergo a police check.

The Volunteer roles we offer at Lort Smith include:

Lort Smith Pet Therapy

Lort Smith Pet Therapy (previously known as PALS) has been running for over 25 years and is a free community service provided by Lort Smith.

The program coordinates visits to hospitals, aged care facilities, disability services and other centres by volunteers accompanied by their own assessed and approved dogs.  The program's aim is to improve the wellbeing of patients/residents through positive contact with visiting volunteers and their dogs. 

Find out more about our Pet Therapy program

Foster Carers

Volunteer Foster Carers take on the responsibility for general care and socialisation of dogs and cats in their own homes until they are ready to be adopted. This usually includes bringing the animals to the hospital for a weekly health check. Lort Smith provides food, bedding, litter trays, bowls and toys for all cats and dogs, plus unlimited advice, support and veterinary care.

All new foster carers are required to have a home visit by a Lort Smith Adoption Centre staff member before commencing fostering to ensure their home environment is suitable. To view the FAQs on being a Foster Carer, click here.

Find out how to become a Foster Carer

Administration/office support

We often require office support in various departments. This can be either a regular administrative role or a short term position supporting our permanent office staff during peak times. Volunteers are required to have some administrative and computer skills.


Volunteers assist in the Cattery and Kennels seven days a week and provide much needed enrichment for the animals. Our dedicated volunteers assist with a variety of duties, ranging from cleaning cages and feeding animals to providing the animals with some TLC. This is a very popular area for volunteers and the demand is high. 

Companion Animal Loss Support Group

In December 2012 Lort Smith partnered with the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement to form a Companion Animal Loss Support Group. A small group of Lort Smith volunteers completed training and work with Lort Smith's Chaplain to provide group participants with a comforting environment to share their stories, support each other and reduce their isolation. 


We currently have adoption centres at four Petbarn stores in Victoria; volunteer drivers assist by transporting dogs and cats between Lort Smith and these centres. This program allows us to connect with more people looking to provide homes for shelter animals and also creates space in the Lort Smith Adoption Centre, enabling us to accommodate and assist more animals in need.


The role of the laundry volunteer helps provide a safe environment and sustainable services to the Hospital and Adoption Centre. Laundry volunteers provide the Hospital and the Adoption Centre with laundered animal bedding and surgical scrubs.

Find out how to become a Laundry volunteer here

Work Experience

Vet student clinical placements

Lort Smith provides 2-3 week clinical placements for vet students undertaking a veterinary science course. For more information, click here.

Secondary school work experience

Lort Smith provides one-week work experience placements for secondary students aged 15 years and over. Our work experience program for 2016 is booked out and we are no longer taking applications. 


Volunteer Portal

Caring for animals is a great healer

Read about Florisa and how volunteering helped her through some dark times.

"I couldn't think of a better way to spend my Saturday afternoons"

Sean, Volunteer

Lort Smith Contact Details