Animal Training and Enrichment Intern at Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP)

Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP) 

Humane Animal Rescue Northside
1101 Western Ave.
Pittsburgh PA 15233

Humane Animal Rescue East End
6926 Hamilton Ave.
Pittsburgh PA 15208

Contact Person: Zee Altherr, 412.345.7300 x214,

Areas of Interest: Animal Behavior, Behavior Modification 

Who we are: Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh (HARP) is one of the largest animal welfare organizations in Pennsylvania, caring for tens of thousands of animals each year at our two shelters and wildlife rehabilitation center. We provide enhanced services to domestic and wild animals alike, while bringing greater efficiency in animal care processes, staff training, and cutting-edge practices to one cohesive organization.

The Training and Enrichment Department works at HARP’s two domestic animal adoption centers, one located on the East End, and the other located on the Northside. We evaluate the behavior of animals throughout their time in HARP’s care to identify needs and provide behavior modification for individual animals, in-kennel and out-of-kennel enrichment, and we train and coach volunteers and staff on modern, humane animal handling.

Description: The intern in this position will get a close up look at the impact of behavioral interventions, humane handling techniques, and environmental enrichment on the health, wellbeing, and adoptability of companion animals in the shelter environment. The intern will also be exposed to the practical workings of an animal shelter and current concepts and procedures in animal welfare. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in staff, volunteer, and department trainings on a variety of topics when they occur during their time with us.  To get the most out of this position the intern should be inquisitive and willing to try new things while also being a great representative of HARP Rules of Conduct. Creative ideas are welcomed and encouraged.

Duties of Intern:

  • Schedule, prepare and distribute enrichment items and activities appropriate for each animal
  • Assist in conducting canine playgroups using HARP procedures
  • Assist specialists to train and conduct behavior modification for cats and dogs
  • Collect data on animal behavior as needed
  • Communicate cheerfully and appropriately with volunteers, staff, and members of the community
  • Adhere to the methods and practices of HARP and the Behavior Services Dept
  • Work cooperatively under the guidance of the Behavior Specialists, Manager, and Director


  • Ability to spend the majority of work hours on your feet
  • Willingness and physical ability to work with both dogs and cats
  • Attend a staff meeting each Wednesday at the Northside shelter whether you work on the East End or Northside (preferred). 
  • Show responsiblity for necessary actions and conditions related to internship such as being aware when documentation is due
  • Intern hours will be scheduled between Monday and Saturday based on openings. Daily hours will be determined based on student and department needs.

General Information: 

  • The intern will interview through the Training and Enrichment Department
  • This is an unpaid internship and will be offered for credit. 
  • A two term commitment is possible. 
  • Regretfully Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh must occasionally euthanize animals due to severe suffering of medical or behavioral causes, or when the animal presents a danger to HARP personnel or the community.  Should this take place during your shift or with an animal you worked with you will have the opportunity to talk through the event with a trained professional.

Terms Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer

Number of Students: Fall: 2, Spring: 2, Summer: 4

Applications: Send your current resume with a cover letter expressing why you are interested in an internship with us and why you’re the right person for the job to:

Selected applicants will be scheduled for an interview. Successful interviewees will be directed to fill out a volunteer application and complete the volunteer onboarding process. When that is complete, the intern will report to the Director of Training and Enrichment.