Thank you for your interest in volunteering for Puppies Behind Bars. You must be at least 18 years old and must live in New York City or within 45 minutes of one of our correctional facilities in New York or New Jersey to participate as a “puppy sitter.”

Please note the following considerations:

It is important that our prospective volunteers understand that this is a serious commitment to a challenging and, at times, exhausting volunteer program. Since we trust our volunteers with a living being, we expect that you uphold your commitment to the program, meaning you “puppy sit” for at least one overnight or two day-trips per month for one year. If you do not follow through you will become inactive and may no longer puppy sit. We are very strict with this guideline, so please take this into consideration before committing to the program.

Many of our puppies are energetic and very strong. They pull on lead, they may bark during the night, they could have an “accident” on your living room rug—it is not always easy! This is a rewarding opportunity, but you must understand the less glamorous details before you commit your time. Give serious consideration before committing, so Puppies Behind Bars and you as a volunteer are both satisfied.

No one under the age of 18 may come to prison, walk one of our puppies or be given primary responsibility for one of our puppies at any time. Children are allowed to interact with the puppies while supervised and in the comfort of your home only.

Please be aware that our dogs are not allowed in homes with:

  • More than one dog or an aggressive dog. A NYC resident with a dog at home may not volunteer as a weekend sitter, but may volunteer as a Paws & Reflect sitter.
  • Certain breeds of dogs, which we will discuss with you on an individual basis. If you have dogs, or any other animals, please mention them when you email us.

If you live in a home where any of the above applies, you may participate in the day-sitting program only (excluding NYC residents) and must agree not to bring the puppy back to your home—no exceptions.

Please review the complete guidelines here: (click here to see complete volunteer guidelines).

For more information or to apply to become a volunteer, please contact Tito Tyson, Director of Volunteers, at 212.680.9562 or tito@puppiesbehindbars.com.