Contact
New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
610-444-5800
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Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA
Emergencies:
215-746-8911
Appointments:
215-746-8387
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Volunteer at the Center


The Penn Vet Working Dog Center serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs. Our dogs are trained to find victims of disasters, identify explosive and illicit drug threats, apprehend criminals, detect ovarian cancer and other infections. These dogs literally save lives.

Volunteer with the Working Dog Center

Learn About Volunteering Opportunities

Volunteers are a valuable asset to the Working Dog Center. We are eager for you to be part of our team! It is fun and rewarding.

There are a lot of ways to help beyond the daily care and training of our dogs. Below are just a few ideas. If you have a special talent or resource you would like to share, please contact Judi Berke, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, at berkej@vet.upenn.edu or call 215-898-2200.

 Share Your Special Talents

  • Computer Skills
  • Handyperson
  • Creative Writing
  • Video Archiving
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Data Entry
  • Graphic Design
  • Organizing

Volunteer FAQs

  • Is there an age limit for volunteers?

    Volunteers must be at least 18 years old.  Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome!

  • Can I volunteer on weekends?

    The Working Dog Center is not open on weekends.  Volunteers can come anytime Monday through Friday, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm.

  • Is there a dress code?

    We ask everyone to wear long pants (khakis or jeans; note, no leggings, tights, sweatpants, shorts, capris, or scrubs are allowed) and flat, closed toe shoes. Dress for weather. Long hair should be pulled back and up.
    Do I need to commit to a regular schedule in order to volunteer?
    Volunteers do not need to commit to a schedule.  You can come as your schedule allows.  However, we suggest planning to commit to at least 2 hours when you volunteer.

  • How do I begin?

    The first step is to attend a Tour & Volunteer Information Session. They are held twice a month at 2:00 pm on a Tuesday or at 10:00 am on a Thursday.
    Check our website or contact the center at 215-898-2200 for the schedule and to register. Tours fill-up quickly so call in advance.

  • How do I schedule volunteer time at the center?

    After the Tour & Volunteer Information Session, you will schedule your first day with the Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator. Thereafter, your email will be added to our Doodle account which is sent out every Monday. This is where you choose your days and hours to volunteer for the following week.  You always have the option to change or delete your entries at any time.

  • How can I help?

    Let us know if you have a special talent or resource you would like to    share.  Here are just a few ideas: computer skills, handyman, data entry, photography, painting.

  • What other opportunities are available to volunteers?

    Volunteers support the center and the trainers in many ways. Each volunteer is assigned to a trainer and his/her team of dogs. Volunteers can video tape the training, collect data, help set up for training session, and organize videos.

  • What are some general ‘go to’ tasks that volunteers can do?

    Here are some examples:  Refill treat bins, cut up cheese and hot dogs, make copies, scan files, load and run dishwasher, laundry, fill water bowls, refill spray bottles, vacuum, prepare folders, label and organize videos.

  • Can volunteers walk dogs?

    This depends on the individual and the dog. Anyone interested in walking dogs must be trained, assessed and cleared by their assigned trainer. This can be done over a period of time that is comfortable for the volunteer. There is no time limit.

  • What about transportation?

    Check your Septa Service for bus routes. If you are a Penn employee or Penn student, call the Penn Shuttle Service at 215-898-7433.  If you drive, free parking is available at the Pennovation Works campus at 3401 Grays Ferry Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19146


Become a Working Dog Foster

Working Dog PuppyDuring the day puppies will be in foundation training at the Center, but we need local families to share their evenings and weekends with their foster puppy to provide a warm, comfortable, social home environment. After approximately 12 months of fostering, your puppy will go on to his job at his permanent home…and you’ll get a new puppy if you’d like to continue fostering.

Interested in being considered to be a full-time or temporary foster for one of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center puppies?


Want to Volunteer?

Contact Judi Berke, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator, at berkej@upenn.edu or 215-898-2200.

First Things First: Sign Up for a Tour

Learn more about our mission and discover the best way for you to contribute by scheduling a tour of the Working Dog Center. You'll learn about our Puppy Foundation Program, witness a search-and-rescue demonstration, discover how dogs can scent out ovarian cancer, and meet our team.

Schedule your tour...