To train staff, volunteers and focus on our community, especially at-risk youth. To assist with the training of the animals in the care of AACL Johannesburg. This gives the animals a better chance of being adopted, while providing life skills to people in a safe setting. Holistically, we need to focus on the community we serve and their needs and how through their animals we can make a positive change in their lives.


Short term: 

  • Teaching dogs at AACL-JHB basic obedience skills, making them more adoptable.
  • Teaching kennel staff basic handling and breed identification skills.
  • Teach AACL-JHB Volunteers basic Handling skills for dogs and cats.
  • Teach and inspire the community youth in dog handling and respect for animals and people.

Long term:
Part of our long term vision is to work with the youth in at-risk communities

To teach skills of how to handle difficult dogs, basic animals behaviour and also dog bite prevention to at risk youth in the communities, local schools, and in the communities AACL-Jhb services through our mobile clinic with primary animal health care.

Short term
Volunteer Training

Volunteers completing their basic dog handling and breed identification course

Staff Training



Paw Pals:  9-14 years
Literacy programme:

Learning to read takes discipline, patience and practice. Sometimes the most difficult part of the process is reading out loud to an audience. But when the audience has four legs and wagging tails – it’s an entirely different story.

The Literacy programme pairs children between the ages of 9 and 14 and rescue animals waiting to be adopted, bringing primary school students and AACL-JHB animals together.

PAW READERS is a programme that pairs children learning to read and rescue animals waiting for adoption, bringing primary school students and AACL-JHB animals together.

Learning to read takes discipline, patience, and practice. Sometimes the most difficult part of that process is reading out loud to an audience. But when the audience has four legs and a wagging tail – it’s an entirely different story.

Reading aloud forms a special bond between students and pets. It provides enrichment and positive socialization for the animal, it boosts confidence in children, and it gives students a safe space to build a positive association with reading. One of the best ways for children to learn empathy and compassion is for them to interact with animals in one form or another, and reading is one.

Students that join the programme will have access to reading materials from our library or can bring through their school allocated reader and will receive reading guidance from a Pawcademy Mentor. As part of this programme, once a month we will hold a 20 min animal specific talk with the children i.e. dog bite prevention/ responsible pet ownership.

Programme times:

Students must be registered to read with the animals and will be required to attend the orientation program before being allowed to read to the animals.

Students must be, accompanied by their parents/teachers, are welcome to stop by to read to the animals during any of the Paw Reader sessions:

  • Wednesday between 2pm and 3.30pm
  • Saturdays between 9am – 11am

A Pawcademy Mentor will work with the readers explaining to them how to approach the animals and decide which animals might enjoy a story. The animals will benefit too, they get a calm, positive interaction with children while they are at the shelter, and for some animals, this alone is therapeutic.

Safety is the top priority – the kids learn basic animal body language, so they know which animals are open to being approached and read to. Paw Readers brings together animals waiting to be adopted, and students wanting a chance to practice their reading, in a calm and relaxed environment.

School Groups:

Schools wishing to take part in this program to assist children who are struggling to read or as an alternative outing for their students, can book or obtain more information through the Pawcademy. Contact Carren at jhb@aacl-jhbnb.co.za or 011 435 0672

Holiday Programme: 9-14 years

Do you love animals and want to learn more about them? Our holiday program offers animal lovers aged between 9 and 14 years a chance to get up close and personal with the dogs and cats in our kennels.

Our holiday programme is geared towards kids that are unable to volunteer during the school term. The kids will have fun with the animals whilst learning about interesting topics and activities.

ANIMAL ANTICS is a one-day school holiday program for children. The program offers a range of

Animal-related activities that are designed to be fun and hands-on while also teaching children about Responsible Pet Ownership and respect for animals.

This is a perfect opportunity for children to meet well natured dogs, and kind cats. There will be plenty of animal interaction and animal inspired art and craft activities.

All participants will receive a certificate of attendance and a ‘take-home’ pack at the end of the day that includes a sticker, colouring sheets and magazines.

Participants will need to bring a morning snack and packed lunch (that does not require heating).

Hats, Sunscreen and comfortable clothing and takkies.

Program times:

10:00pm – 14:30pm (select days only)

Doors open 10 mins prior to commencement/finish times

COST: R150.00 per child per day.

Bookings are essential and numbers are limited.

Animal Care Team: 15 – 18 years

The Animal Care Team are a group of teenagers who love animals and want to learn more about the challenges of being a Responsible Pet Owner and the caring for animals in a welfare shelter. Students will gain valuable life skills and animal care skills in a fun and rewarding environment.

CARE stands for Creating Animal Respect and Empathy

The Animal Care Team are a group of teenagers who love animals and want to learn more about the challenges of being a Responsible Pet Owner and caring for animals in an animal shelter.

The students gain valuable life skills and animal care skills in fun and rewarding activities.

Knowledge and skills in the areas of companion animal care include understanding the needs of dogs and cats in an animal welfare facility.

Students will work on a range of hands-on components and learning skills to include animal behaviour, providing enrichment and preventative health care.

  • Basic grooming
  • Walking of the well-mannered dogs
  • General cleaning of feed prep areas, storerooms etc.

Once training has been completed and a specified number of sessions completed a Certificate of competency can be offered.

Student must wear long pants and closed shoes

Adults: 18 years upwards

If you are passionate about animals and would like to make a difference in the lives of the dogs and cats that AACL-JHB rescues and cares for, consider becoming a regular volunteer at the shelter.

Adult Volunteering: 18 years upwards

If you are passionate about animals and would like to make a difference in the lives of the dogs and cats that AACL-JHB rescues and cares for, consider becoming a regular volunteer at AACL-JHB.

You will also make lots of new friends by volunteering – and not just the four-legged kind. A love for animals and a commitment to improving their lives can forge lifelong friendships between people.

There are various ways in which volunteers can get involved. Our dogs enjoy regular walks, exercise and basic training. Our cats love being played with and groomed. Through interaction and socializing the animals they are given a better chance of being adopted, whilst providing life skills to our volunteers in a safe environment.

We also have a number of tasks that we always need help with – cleaning and sorting out our food store, blanket room and charity shop stores.

Volunteers willing to work on an as-needed basis before and during fundraising events. Assistance in preparation for events, on event day, duties include set-up, decorating, photography, registration, ticket sales, serving, etc.

Trained Volunteers assist the Volunteer Program Manager in educating the new volunteer groups at orientation and training.

All First-time volunteers are required to attend an orientation training.

Community Service Programme – 13 – 18 years

You do not have to be an expert to make a difference!

Students that are required to perform community service as part of their curriculum are also accommodated through our Pawcademy volunteer programme.

Community Service Programme: 13 – 18 years

Community service plays an important role in our organisation by helping spend time with the animals that are looking for new homes. Time spent with the animals is mutually beneficial as outside people are exposed to our work and the role that our organisation plays in the greater community. Many students also grow in confidence as they are able to conquer any anxieties or fears they may have had about animals but still be part of the team.

We have devised two ways to complete your community service with AACL-JHB:

  1. On site visit for completion of hours

4 scheduled dates per year – Saturdays only 08:00 -11:00
Groups of a minimum of 10 students – bookings essential

Your time will be filled with a discussion on Responsible Pet Ownership and the challenges of animal welfare in our community.

  • Basic Dog training
  • Washing or socializing with the animals
  • Cleaning of storerooms
  1. Offsite fundraising

Students are required to hold a fundraiser to assist with items on our wish list.

Once completion of the fundraiser, students are welcome to book a time to visit AACL-JHB where a tour of the facility and discussions on Responsible Pet Ownership and the challenges of animal welfare in our community.

Students are responsible for keeping record of their own hours and can be signed off by the Volunteer coordinator at the end of your volunteer session.

Although Community Service hours are minimal, we hope that even once your community service is complete, you will be happy to come and continue your work here at AACL-JHB as a Volunteer.

All students under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Corporate Volunteering

Corporate Volunteering is a great way for your company to give back to the community by engaging in exciting, meaningful projects at the shelter. Team building with colleagues can boost morale, whilst you spend time out of the office.

Our programme has been designed as an additional feature to compliment the work that we do. It helps to introduce the animals in our care to everyday objects and tasks that they would not otherwise encounter during their stay. We respect your time and skills and strive to make your experience with us productive, rewarding and FUN!

Corporate Volunteering – Booking essential

Due to the demanding nature of the job and the dynamics of the kennels due to the steady stream of animals in and out through the doors, basic socialization of animals is often difficult. Although during the week dogs go out into the exercise runs, there is minimal other “hands-on” socialization.

The Animal Anti-Cruelty League Johannesburg through our Pawcademy has implemented a volunteering event for corporate and groups. It not only benefits the animals in our care, but also the corporate visitors as they see firsthand there is more to a welfare organisation than the negative side, by helping in a unique way to improve the lot of the animals in the organisation.

We also acknowledge that your staff have different expectations when it comes to welfare and animals, by understanding that some staff that visit us do not wish to interact with dogs or are allergic to cats.

While each project can vary depending on the animals at the shelter and our current needs, typical corporate volunteer activities include:

Close encounter!

Our freedom village is a unique area where +/- 20 cats who are available for adoption live. This is the area where our children’s literacy programme is centered. A programme where youth are encouraged to read to the cats in a safe environment whilst learning about Responsible Pet Ownership.

Staff interaction with these cats will include grooming and the making of toys for the animals. A close encounter with the cats is inevitable!

It’s a workout!

The Pawcademy is our learning facility where we are able to upskill staff, educate at risk youth and train our volunteers, on Responsible Pet Ownership and basic training for the dog in our care.

Our staff will demo and explain how we prepare our dogs for adoption, with the option of volunteers assisting in the training of some of these dogs. A guaranteed exercise workout!

Wet  and soapy!

Our grooming room allows for the grooming of the dogs as and when it is required, especially when they first arrive as strays. Time will be spent assisting in the bathing and basic grooming of the dogs.

Are you already involved with At-risk youth groups?

Is your organisation already committed to a school or group of at-risk youth?

Education of our community on Responsible Pet Owner is very important to us at AACL-JHB.

We are able to adapt our programme to involve them in your time spent at AACL-JHB and encourage you to bring them along!

Literacy program

Children who are not interested in working with dogs can be used within the our Freedom cat village  to interact with the cats and reading to them, or  having a story read to them as part of a literacy program.

Animal Anti-Cruelty League Johannesburg
59 Alice Street, Regents Park
011 435 0672

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