Directors and officers who work for an animal shelter must have a unique skill set. There are many shelters that have suffered from the effects of poor leadership simply because the director had insufficient experience with animals. This not only results in poor leadership, but also gives the shelter a poor public image.

One of the most important qualities to look for in a shelter director is proven experience with animals. The ideal candidate should currently own or have owned animals in the past. Having a pet of your own provides experience that simple secondhand experience does not. When a job candidate has worked in a veterinary, kennel or shelter position in the past, this increases their level of credibility.

In addition to proven experience working with animals, a good director will also have excellent management skills. A college background in management or experience running a business will provide many of the needed skills for this sort of position. Former non-profit group directors and employees will make the easiest transition into this sort of job.

Directors and officers who work for a shelter will also need to posses certain skills that are essential for good public relations. A person in this position will have to interact with the public, as well as field questions from local reporters. It’s necessary for shelter staff to be able to patiently address any questions that members of the public may have.

Fundraising experience is an important part of managing an animal shelter. Because non-profit shelters depend on private donations and grants, it is essential to know how to keep a reasonable cash flow coming in. Job candidates who have a sense of creativity will do very well in this line of work.

Being comfortable with using the Internet, particularly social media, is another important skill to look for. A shelter director will need to perform many clerical tasks as part of their job. However, maintaining an updated website and interacting with the public and other shelters via social media is a vital part of running a successful shelter that many people overlook.

Does a business insurance policy cover wildlife rescue? The short answer is yes business liability insurances can cover wildlife rescue, you will need to check your policy as insurance cover varies. Policies may only give limited cover in limited situations. It is more common these days for organizations to seek out specialist wildlife rescue insurance cover to specifically cover wildlife rescue organizations and its volunteers and employees.


Summary of a typical insurance

A typical wildlife rescue insurance policy will cover any employee engaged in animal rescue on behalf the organization who holds the policy. The employee has a responsibility to act and behave in a responsible manner and take all due care.

Wildlife and rescue insurance will take into account, and in most cases, cover a member of the public who is asked by the insured to assist in the rescue of an animal. In this instance, the member of the public would be classified as one of the organizations volunteers, and therefore covered by the wildlife and rescue policy. Indeed anyone who helps your organization for a specific event will be classified as a volunteer and covered by the policy.


Common provisions

Members of the public who transport animals to a veterinarian are covered by the policy. A licensed care giver is covered by the policy. A marksman is covered by the policy providing that the marksman has a firearms license and a registered weapon. Only suitably qualified persons are covered by the policy to rescue snakes. Only persons vaccinated against lyssavirus can handle bats and be protected by wildlife rescue insurance policy. Health and safety regulations must be adhered to in relation to rescuers and the animals being rescued.

The above is only an example of what wildlife rescue insurance might cover and policies will vary from one company to another.

Animals in shelters are at greater risk of carrying zoonotic diseases because of many factors, often in part because animals enter shelters without having had vaccinations and consistent veterinary care.  Roaming on streets, contact with other infected animals, and lack of sanitary conditions all carry potential risks.  Training volunteers to notice and take action when they suspect that an animal is sick will decrease the risk of spreading these diseases to humans and other animals.

Shelters should include policies and procedures for volunteers to take notice of behaviors that may signal zoonotic diseases.  Making sure that volunteers understand what to look for and what to do about it will keep risks minimal to visitors, workers, and other animals.  Workers trained to notice scratching, skin lesions, open sores, loss of hair, and other skin-related problems may be able to detect problems such as sarcoptic mange and ringworm.  Parasites such as roundworm and giardia may be treated and the spread of the disease curbed dramatically if volunteers know to isolate an infected animal right away.  Quick treatment will prevent contamination of kennels, visitor rooms, and exam areas, and will alert other workers of the need for care in handling the infected animal before it becomes a threat to humans.

Proper sanitation and cleanliness are difficult in a shelter.  Being sure that workers are especially sensitive to animals that are sick will go a long way limiting the number of humans who handle the animal, as well as the exposure of healthy animals to the illness.  Protective clothing can keep sick animals from scratching workers, and protect the worker’s skin from infected lesions and parasites.  A procedure to notify other workers of the sick animal’s status will also help volunteers understand the need for cleanliness and isolation until the animal is properly treated and cleared.  Clearly no animal shelter wants to adopt out a sick animal, or expose an adopting family to an illness  It’s well worth the time and effort to have safety procedures in place.


Choosing a volunteer for animal shelters is very important. Many simply don’t realize the vitally important role that groups of caring, dedicated volunteers play in advocating for shelter animals. Good candidates will give the tasks associated with volunteering at a shelter their full attention and work to make things better for the animals they are in charge of. Finding the right volunteers is very important, because it takes the right attitude and a genuine sense of care to make a difference.

People who are willing to donate their time to helping shelter animals are found in many different settings. Many existing pet owners are more than willing to spend some time making a difference for animals in a shelter. Local veterinary hospitals, groomers and boarding kennels may be a good way to reach caring pet owners who might be interested.

Local breed clubs and groups that organize dog events may also be a good resource. Most of them publish their own newsletters or magazines that are supported partially by advertising. If your shelter receives large numbers of certain breeds or types, a breed club member may be able to play a major role in reaching out to potential adoptive families.

Many college students are enthusiastic about volunteering in a shelter. This is especially true of students who need an activity over the summer or who want extra credit for college. Advertising in student papers or on job sites that are geared towards students will help reach capable volunteers.

Don’t forget about the importance of advertising online. Announce that you’re looking for a volunteer for animal shelters on your website, as well as your shelter’s social media pages. Online classified ad sites are also beneficial, as well as job sites that post volunteer opportunities. An advantage of finding volunteers online is that you’re likely to find tech-savvy candidates who will be able to help your outreach efforts.

5 Summer Fundraisers

April 23, 2013

Summer is the perfect time to get everyone out in the sunshine to help homeless pets and enjoy time outside. A pet fundraiser should not only be about raising money, but about having fun! You can get the community involved by hosting exciting events for every age and gender.

Sponsor a Walk for Pets
Sponsor a walk for pets in need of a home. You can show off the pets, get some exercise and raise money all in one bang. You can ask local businesses to post flyers about the walk and tell people how to get involved. Use volunteers to lead the walk and get everyone involved in the fun.

Hold Classes for Conduct
Pet owners love to enroll their animals in classes to improve their way of life. Conduct classes can include training, photography and other fun activities. Volunteers can lead the classes so you don’t spend money on hiring anyone. Instead of paying a certain fee, those coming to the classes can give donations instead. Bring homeless pets to the events to get them more face time and show off their great conduct. Pets learn new tricks; homeless pets get more donations and everyone wins!

Team Up
Team up with local events like parades and Farmer’s Markets. You can set up an area at events to connect with the crowd. Bring out the pets and ask for donations. You can even sell items to pet owners for donations. Many people of all ages come to parades and Farmer’s Markets because there is entertainment and an array of things to purchase. The pets will have fun and meet some new faces as the donations roll in.

Have A Cook off
Host a cook off for donations for the pets. People of all ages love food. You can grill burgers, taste chili or judge the best pies to tickle the taste buds. Bring the pets to the event and let them roam around with the food judges to get exposure and enjoy a day in the sunshine.

Garage Sale Time
Get many volunteers involved by hosting a garage sale fundraiser. Everyone has things they just don’t need or want anymore. This junk to you will be treasure for someone else. Items will fly off the shelves as you smile and the pets get all the glory. Kick back and love on the animals as people scour for their new treasure.

Tips to Avoid Dog Bites

April 22, 2013

Like any animal, even humans, dogs naturally have an instinct to defend themselves from attackers. It can be just looking like a threat, barking, or even biting. However, a dog bite is completely avoidable if you know how to go about it.

  • Never pet a strange dog without their owner saying it is okay. You never know if that dog is violent or nervous, and either one could end in a painful dog bite.
  • Avoid dogs that are tied up or running around. Dogs can be very territorial and if they think you’re invading their space, they will defend themselves.
  • That said, never turn and run from a dog when it’s about to attack. Back away slowly, facing the dog.
  • Be gentle when you’re playing. While rough play might be fun on occasion, it’s important to remember that when dogs play rough, they bite, scratch and pounce.
  • Teach kids how to act around dogs.  Kids, especially young kids, may not necessarily know that dogs don’t like to play all the time. And when a dog feels like they’re being harassed, they will lash out.
  • Watch out if you’re moving an injured dog. An injured dog doesn’t know that you have good intentions and want to help them. For all a dog knows, you’re moving your hand to hurt them further.
  • Don’t wake the dog up. Think of how annoyed you are if someone interrupts your sleep. Also leave them alone if they’re eating or taking care of their puppies.
  • Be careful around fighting dogs. In fact, the less you physically touch them, the better. Spray them with a hose or even some kind of breath spray (dogs hate it, and its non-toxic). If you absolutely HAVE to physically separate them, get the dogs by the hind legs, and get one inside a room, or a car, or even a fenced yard.
  • Keep your dogs shots up to date. A dog with rabies is aggressive no matter what.
  • Socialize your dog as early as possible. The simplest way to avoid a dog bite is to make them comfortable around people and other dogs. And if it’s not a comfortable situation for your dog, keep them out of it.

While anyone with a dog will inevitably be bitten at least once, it’s fairly easy to make it happen as little as possible, and keep your friends and family safe.

Volunteers in animal shelters should be over the age of 18, and there are a number of very good reasons why:

Animals are unpredictable:

And so are children. This mix can be dangerous. The unfortunate fact is that many animals who find their way into a shelter will have been mistreated, neglected, or abused. Others may simply be untrained and therefore, highly unpredictable. If you add children into this mix, who may not have matured fully enough to understand how to behave around animals, the result could be tragic.

You’re dealing with live beings – that need a special level of care:

If you’re thinking about volunteering at an animal shelter, remember that these cute and cuddly creatures are live beings that need to be handled in a specific way.

Points to consider may include:

– How you approach a nervous animal
– The correct way to pick up small animals
– Which foods are safe for certain species
– How to protect yourself when around a potentially dangerous animal

Although all of the above can be taught, it is not fair, either on the child or the animals, to expect an adolescent to understand and implement all of these practices correctly.

The role can test emotions:

Arguably the biggest downfall to volunteering at an animal shelter is the emotions involved. As well as regularly interacting with animals that may have been maltreated and are distressed or in pain, there is a very real possibility that those who work or volunteer at an animal shelter will be forced to deal with the death of an animal they have come to love.

Dealing with death is difficult at any age, but can prove much harder for those who have not fully matured emotionally or have limited experience in coping with loss.

The fact is that while a child may be perfectly capable of caring for the family pet, this does not mean they are ready to cope with animals that may be hurt, ill, abused, or mentally unstable. The fact is that it simply isn’t fair on either the animal or the child to put them in this position of responsibility.

Every day, animal shelters rescue hundreds – if not, thousands – of animals who are strays, lost, abused or abandoned. Shelters are mostly privately-funded organizations and majority of them rely on volunteers to help out in various ways, from assisting during rescues and processing documents to taking care of the animals and making calls on behalf of the shelter. Many volunteers are even responsible for getting in touch with suppliers, professionals, the media, donors, patrons and other potential volunteers for assistance. If you love animals and want to volunteer for animal shelters, find out how to find the right shelter for you. Here are some of the most important things to look for:

You should consider the proximity of the animal shelter to home especially if you will be volunteering on your free time and have other obligations to meet. Consider an animal shelter that is a quick drive from your place. That way you do not have to waste time commuting and have more to spend with the animals.

Type and Breed of Animal
Not every animal shelter will take in every type of two- or four-legged, fur- or feather-covered friend. Some are dedicated towards sheltering and protecting specific breeds or types. Some shelters, for example, only take in domesticated animals such as dogs and cats while others may focus more on wilder species. Some shelters may also specialize in animals that are feral or have known behavioral problems. Although there are professional trainers who will directly handle these animals, you might want to volunteer someplace else if you feel uncomfortable in this type of environment.

Not all volunteers are asked to foster animals but if you like opening your home to a little one who needs personal care, volunteer for animal shelters that allow fostering. If you become a foster parent to a dog or cat, for example, you will be in charge of their care until they find a new home.

Care and Practices
Many animal shelters keep rescued animals and provide them with food, shelter and medical attention for the rest of their lives or until after they are adopted. However, there are some that may perform euthanasia as part of their practice. If you oppose this, volunteer for animal shelters with no-kill policies instead. You will be more comfortable in knowing that all the animals you will interact with will have a good chance to live out their lives.

 5 More Summertime Fundraisers


There are a number of ways to help raise money for your animal shelter, including summer time fundraisers. Here are five fundraiser ideas to get people outside and raising money.


Sponsor a 5K

While it will be work, setting up a 5K event will help to get people’s attention. You can make it a dog friendly event to help emphasize the purpose of the event. For a fee, participants will be able to get some exercise while earning money for the shelter. If you make it an annual event, it is likely to gain in popularity and grow every year.


Hold a Silent Auction

This one will require you to first gain donations from local businesses or sponsors, but it will be more of an investment of time than money. You can add a meal or snacks to the event to make it last a little longer, giving participants a little more time to increase their bids. Holding the auction outside is ideal so that people can bring their pets to mingle as they browse.


Torture the Boss

Create a short list of “tortures” for the shelter owner (or a willing substitute), like dying the boss’s hair or cleaning after the animals for a day. Then anyone who pays a set amount will be allowed to vote on what type of torture they would like to see. This is an easy way to do fundraising with minimal cost, except to the boss. Once the votes are tallied, the crowd watches as the boss gets a shaved head or begins painting the shelter. Coupled with a 5K, this could help attract a larger crowd.


Setup a Garage Sale

Ask for donations of gently used clothes, bikes, furniture, books, or whatever people are willing to donate, and then hold a garage sale. If you have the time to invest in a garage sale, it is probably one of the easiest ways to maximize the returns on your fundraiser.


Create an Obstacle Course

Much like the 5K, you can create an obstacle course. Participants can raise money from their sponsors to join the event. This is an excellent way to get outside and get dirty, but it will require some time to consider safety, as well as money to create the course. You will probably need waivers for the participants.


5 Signs a Dog May Attack

April 15, 2013

Dogs do not attack without warning.  The warning signs, however, must be recognized by humans if they do not want to be victims of a dog bite.  Knowing what to look for will help you avoid being bit.  Keep reading for the top five signs to watch for; knowing them can save you a lot of pain and suffering in the long run.


A dog that feels threatened will emit a deep growl as warning.  This growl will seem to come from deep within and is his way of telling you to stay back.  A growling dog is one that feels threatened and will bite if pushed.

Raised fur

When a dog is feeling threatened, the hair on its back, from the base of his tail to the back of his neck, will stand up.  You can see what looks like a line going up the center of his back.  If this happens and you proceed to approach, a dog bite is almost a certainty.

Teeth showing

Along with a growl, a dog getting ready to bite may roll his upper lip back so you can see his teeth.  It may look like he is smiling, but his message is more along the lines of “See what I have for a weapon.” than “I’m happy to see you.”

Whites of eyes are visible

If you can see the whites of a dog’s eyes; a dog bite is very close.  Dogs that feel threatened will lower their heads in preparation of an attack.  At the same time, they will keep their gaze on their target.  This combination of slightly lowered head and steady gaze position the eye where the whites are visible.

Stiff stance

A dog preparing to attack will stiffen his entire body.  His tail will be raised and stiff, his ears laid back and his legs ready to spring forward.  His head may be lowered slightly, giving the impression of a bull about to charge.

Not every dog will show all five of the above signs but each is an indicator that the dog is feeling threatened and could attack at any moment.  In order to avoid a dog bite, do not approach any dog exhibiting even one of these signs.  Walk slowly away and give him a chance to calm himself.