Happy Paws Rescue Inc. is run entirely by volunteers. We have dedicated volunteers who come from all walks of life; each one contributes something important to our work in rescuing animals. We are ALWAYS looking for more volunteers. If you have a skill (and we’re sure you do!), then we can use it! If you are interested in volunteer with and/or fostering dogs, cats, puppies or kittens for Happy Paws Rescue Inc., please complete a VOLUNTEER / FOSTER APPLICATION today! Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. We invite kids, teens, youth or other groups to contact us if you would like to do fundraising projects on behalf of the rescue. 


Here are some of the ways you can volunteer:

Adoption Days: PLEASE NOTE: We are not holding public, in-person Adoption Days at this time due to COVID-19. These events are held at the Petco in Piscataway, NJ. Volunteers help handle the animals, collect donations, and answer questions. (You don’t need to be available all day, every Sunday. You can pick dates and times that fit into your schedule.)

Special Events and Fundraisers: We attend community events, such as street fairs and farmer’s markets, as well asplan fundraising events throughout the year. We need people to organize these affairs, as well as volunteers to help out on the day of the events.

Transport: Many of our dogs are pulled from high-kill shelters in the South. The dogs are brought up to New Jersey using an all-volunteer transport system. Volunteers are needed to drive one-hour legs of the trip. We also need volunteers to transport animals to and from local vet appointments.

Foster: We saved the best for last. Foster volunteers are critically important; we can only save as many animals as foster homes we have available. Foster care volunteers provide temporary care in their homes for animals. By offering your time, energy, and home to an animal in need, you prepare the animal for adoption into a permanent home. Most of the orphaned animals we are able to help through the foster care program would otherwise be euthanized if they could not be placed into temporary foster homes. As a foster volunteer, you literally save the life of an animal that you foster.

Here’s How Foster Care Works:

1. Foster homes are contacted. If you are called to foster an animal and cannot do it for any reason, we will find another foster home and call you the next time.

2. The animal goes to the foster home until adoption. You may need to bring the animal to the vet to get checked periodically, to adoption days, or to visit with potential adopters.

3. All prospective adopters go through the adoption process set up by the Happy Paws Rescue Inc. board of directors. Fosters may recommend what the best home for their pet may be.

Foster Volunteer Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How long will I have the animal for?

A: It depends. Some animals spend only a week in foster care. Others are with us for months. (We often pull animals from kill-shelters that we feel will do well in foster care and will be adopted in a reasonable amount of time.)

Q: Other than taking care of the animal in my home, what else do I have to do?

A: We ask that volunteers bring the animals to adoption days on Sundays. It’s important that the animals are at adoption days so potential adopters can meet them.  Some fosters stay at adoption days, while others drop off the animals.

Q: What do I need to provide?

A: Happy Paws Rescue Inc. will provide everything you need, including food and veterinary care, but anything that you’d like to provide is greatly appreciated. (It helps to have food and water bowls, newspapers, cleaning products, toys, and treats on hand.)

Q: What do I do if an animal is sick?

A: If you notice any signs of illness or worsening of symptoms, we ask that you contact us immediately. We have vets that work with us for a discount. With the exception of a dire life or death emergency, no animal should be taken anywhere but our vets. If the animal needs medical attention, we will make an appointment with our veterinarian. We ask that you transport the animal there for care.

Q: Should I keep my own companion animals separate from my foster animals?

A: It is always a health risk to expose your animals to other animals, so to be on the safe side, you should keep them separate for the first few weeks at the least. A separate room or enclosed area with no carpet will work best.

Q: What if I want to adopt one of the animals I foster?

A: This happens sometimes. We call it “failed fostering.” We ask that you fill out an adoption application just like any other applicant.

Q: How can you say goodbye to the animals once they are placed in homes?

A: It’s not easy to say goodbye to an animal to whom you have dedicated so much time and care. But take comfort in knowing that the animal has found a loving, permanent home because of you. Plus, once on animal is placed, you can open up your home to helping another deserving animal. Some of our foster volunteers individually save the lives of dozens of animals each year.