Nursery, Laura J. Niles Early Learning Center, and Hawkins Canine Center Volunteers

Volunteer support is critical to building a solid foundation for the dogs' service dog training.

On-Campus Opportunities


If you are interested in other on-campus opportunities, please check back at a later time. Thank you for your understanding.

Buckley on the NEADS campus

Hawkins Canine Center Volunteers

Volunteers provide valuable one-on-one (1:1) time to NEADS service dogs in training while they are on campus in the Hawkins Canine Center (HCC).

In the Canine Center, Service Dogs in Training are on campus for a variety of reasons. Volunteers give the NEADS dogs love and attention, take dogs for short walks around campus, play with individual dogs, and provide other enrichment activities. Volunteers also help with facility daily operations, which include doing laundry, cleaning, various kitchen duties, and assisting with occasional projects.

Canine Center volunteers commit to:

  • Handling, reinforcing training of, and interacting with NEADS dogs according to NEADS methods and policies
  • Following sanitation policies and procedures of the NEADS campus, for the health of humans and dogs
  • Communicating effectively and appropriately with NEADS staff, volunteers, clients, and other campus visitors
  • Volunteering each week for a regularly scheduled 2-4 hour shift, for at least 6 months, which equals a minimum of 55-105 hours of volunteering

Reasons why people choose to become Canine Center volunteers:

  • Love that they are part of and contributing to the NEADS mission
  • Really enjoy dogs
  • Want to have a fun and active volunteer experience

Canine Center Volunteer FAQs

A: In addition to the commitments in the role description section of this document, all volunteers must:

  • Be 16 years of age or older
  • Have a great work ethic and an enthusiastic attitude; be willing to assist staff in any area or for any project that may come up, which may include cleaning tasks projects, or being shifted to the other facility (Breeding Kennel or Nursery)
  • Work independently and be able to follow instructions, including reading posted signage
  • Be able to lift up to 30 lbs easily; bend, kneel, stoop, stand for 2-3 hours at a time, as this is an active volunteer role physically engaging with dogs
  • Perform cleaning tasks with approved chemical cleaners, some of which have strong odors.

Additionally, ideal volunteer applicants live within a 45 minute one-way commute of NEADS. Previous experience indicates that volunteers living outside this radius are unable to sustain the commute long term (due to expense, traffic patterns, or long periods of adverse weather), and thus become unable to complete their 6 month commitment to NEADS.