Volunteer – Become a Barking Attendant!

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes an army to care for a bunch of dogs!
If you love dogs and want to feel great knowing you are helping to save lives, volunteer with us.

There are all kinds of ways to get involved at The Barking Lot. Check out how you can lend a hand by reading the descriptions below. If you’re looking for a true sense of reward and able to devote some time, please click on the appropriate form based on your interest, skill and time available. If you think you can help but don’t see a specific area that applies to you, email us!

Foster Parents

Foster parents are the determining factor in our ability to save lives.  Our recruits need “Temporary Barking” while we find them “Permanent Barking.” To apply to become a foster parent, visit our Foster A Dog page and fill out the Foster Application.

General Barking Attendants

We have a need for virtually every kind of volunteer! To become a Barking Attendant, fill out the Barking Attendant Application. For more information on the volunteering, check out some of the opportunities below.

Valet Barkers are responsible for taking our recruits on various adventures for socialization and exercise such as walks, hikes, runs, trips to the beach, to the dog park and to get baths. This requires some travel as you will need to pick up pooch, take to park (or trail, or beach) and then return pooch to his/her home base. Length of each excursion is dependent on the Valet Barker’s availability, but typically each outing will take between 1-3 hours.

Transporters – TBL rescues pups from all over Southern California and we must arrange travel for each pooch in order to get them to our facility. To do this, we coordinate transportation by either arranging “legs” with several transporters (for longer treks) or having one person drive round trip. Transporting requires a valid driver’s license and a chunk of time as it can take anywhere from 1-6 hours depending on the distance and traffic congestion. Transporting is very rewarding as you get to be the first contact the new “Temporary Barker” has on his/her journey to a “Permanent Barking” space!

Event Barkers – The Barking Lot is nothing if not social! We host many events during the course of the year for a variety of reasons: fundraising, adoption drives, raise awareness, and some for no other reason than to have fun. We need people to help at these events and responsibilities can range from selling raffle tickets, handling dogs, screening applications, manning the booth, etc. Events are throughout the year and typically require anywhere from 3-6 hours of your time.

Data Entry – For those of you who may be allergic to fur, fear not, we even have tasks that don’t involve dogs! TBL has a number of administrative tasks to attend to. One vital one is data entry. We need volunteers who are able to input information into our database. This can be done from any location (i.e. your home, office, local coffee shop) as our database can be accessed remotely.

Home Checkers – Home Checkers are responsible for surveying a potential adopter’s home to determine the suitability for a given pooch. We supply our home check volunteer with the guidelines to execute a home check. Home checks take place at various locations depending on the potential adopter’s whereabouts and require travel to that location. Each home check takes approximately 20-30 minutes.

Barking Space Attendants – One of our most important volunteer roles – Keeping the facility clean and sanitized for our pups. In addition to cleaning kennels, these volunteers will help with feeding, bathing, laundry, and the like. We wouldn’t be able to operate without these attendants!

Puppy Duty – For those who can’t get enough puppy love, this is the role for you! We need volunteers who focus entirely on the care of our young puppies. This includes feeding, bathing, cleaning and sanitizing their “barking spaces.” Of course, this role also requires showering tons of affection on our little furballs.

Writers – From newsletter articles, press releases, puppy profiles, and social media content, we can always use the talents of another good writer.

Barking Attendant Application

Please note, we do support volunteers who need to meet community service requirements of 25 hours or more, and will consider other community service requirements on a case-by-case basis.
Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old.

Volunteers first attend a 1/2 hour familiarization orientation at our facility in El Cajon followed by 3 hours of initial training.  Shortly after the orientation day, we will schedule a 3 hour “shadow shift” in which new volunteers work alongside a seasoned volunteer. After this, new volunteers are free to come volunteer as their schedule permits. We encourage volunteers to commit to at least 6 hours monthly for a minimum of 4 months.


Breaking News!

This week's #WhereAreTheyNow comes from Jason, who adopted Karma (pka Hillcrest) in May, 2014:

At the rescue, I didn't know what to expect or how to react. Karma pranced over to me with a crooked left ear, sloppy tongue, and instantly curled up into a furry ball in my lap. We became instant best friends!

In the beginning, things were really rough. Karma had severe separation anxiety and couldn't stay home alone. So he went to day care almost every day while I was at work. We saw several different dog trainers. It became a painstakingly slow process of behavior adjustment. It took weeks to get from seconds to minutes and months to get from minutes to hours. There were many moments of hopelessness where I felt like giving up because it was just too hard and expensive. I had to keep telling myself that I made a commitment to this furry beast. My dog is family.

Now it's been more than 2 years. Karma can stay home by himself. He is a bubble of compassion and continues to teach me so much about unconditional love, trust, and empathy. He continues to impact my life in the most incredible way. He'll stay by my side no matter how crazy life gets and I would do the same for him."

Thank you Jason for sharing! We LOVE hearing stories from committed adopters, that show exactly how training and perseverance can help a pup become the best family member ☺️ Have your own TBL alum to share with the world? Send your stories with pics to and your awesome pup may be featured next! #WhereAreTheyNowWednesdays #Vh1EatYourHeartOut #AdoptionStoriesAreTheBestStories

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