Thank you for your interest in volunteering at ARK. Your help will be much appreciated and you will find your experience challenging and rewarding with lots of fun for you and the animals here at ARK.
What will the work involve? If it’s too hard, maybe it’s a little beyond me…
Helping out as much as you are able is plenty. Roughly speaking, 60% of the work involves dog walking, 20% playing with dogs and cats, and 20% cleaning, but we are able to tailor that to a certain extent to suit individual needs. We have volunteers who come every week to mostly play with cats, for example. And as far as dog walking is concerned, there is no problem if you do so at your own pace, taking breaks as you need to. You may also cancel your visit on the day you were due to come should there be rain or snow.
Around how many volunteers are there, all together?
There are around 50 volunteers who come to help us out on a regular basis. Of those, around ten come along every week on set days. Apart from volunteers, there are 30 or so staff, of whom every day 15 to 18 are at work and responsible for looking after the animals.
What are the volunteers’ hours?
Most volunteers help us out for a time frame that suits them between 9am and 5pm. Many attend from 10am until 4pm. As we are notified of attendance hours by phone or email, we plan in advance how to divide the work up between volunteers. A lunch break of 30 minutes to an hour is always included. Each time you come to volunteer, we ask that you notify us beforehand, preferably a few days in advance. If you just turn up on the day, it is difficult for us to divide up the work to suit everyone’s needs.
How many times do I have to come? Can I come once and see how it goes?
Some people are extremely keen and come to help once a week on set days, but the vast majority of volunteers come once or twice a month whenever they can. Of course, we are grateful if you are able to come more often, but once a month is fine. You are more than welcome to try us out once for starters. If you had fun and would like to continue, please do come again.
Do I get any training beforehand?
The first time you come, we will give you some simple guidance. After a 15 minute video and 20 minute guided tour, you will be ready to start walking dogs and helping us with other work. From your second visit, after leaving your bags in the office and getting your volunteer card stamped, you will be informed of which section you have been assigned to that day. You may head over there and start helping out right away.
What kind of clothes should I wear? Do I need to bring anything with me?
Please wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and are comfortable, and suitable for working outdoors. Clothes with dangly decorations, skirts, shorts, sandals and high heels are dangerous, and should not be worn. Do bring a raincoat in case it rains. Also, please make sure you bring a packed lunch. There are no shops within walking distance of ARK. Even by car, the nearest shop is considerably far.
How do I apply to volunteer again?
Once you have chosen the date and time you wish to return, please contact the office. Please telephone or email us a few days in advance. In particular, if you wish to come on a weekend or public holiday, we recommend you let us know at least a week beforehand. If too many people apply to volunteer on the same day, we may have no option but turn some away.
I live in Tokyo. Can I still help out?
There is no shelter in Tokyo, so all our animals are in foster care in the Kanto region. We sometimes need the help of kitten socializers, but are always in need of foster families for dogs, cats and rabbits, and often need help setting up, running and clearing away after adoption fairs, which we run twice per month.
Volunteering at ARK
Many animals at ARK may have difficulty finding a home due to age, health or temperament problems. We want to give them as much comfort and love as they would get in a home. Young healthy animals that will soon be going to a new home need basic training as well as play time, brushing and lots of exercise.
Help us clean the animals’ enclosures.This ensures our animals stay healthy and stops the spread of disease.
The most important and fun part of the day for everyone! Take our dogs out for a nice long walk in the countryside.
Playing with kittens and puppies gives them the vital socialization they need in order to be easy to handle as adults.
Help our groomers wash, brush and trim our animals.
Help us set up booths, create sign boards and recruit new ARK members and sponsors by becoming involved in fundraising events.
Other ways to help
Contribute your special skills in photography, writing (translation and editing) and illustrating.
Accommodation at ARK
Animal Refuge Kansai provides free accommodation for those who come and volunteer for more than a day. However, space is limited (especially during holiday periods). Please contact us in advance to let us know when you are coming. All basic kitchen items are provided but we request that you bring sheets, enough food for your stay plus all-weather footwear and clothing. There are no convenience stores within walking distance of ARK.
Please see the PDF file for accommodation at ARK * Please help us keep costs down by saving water and electricity.