As a nonprofit animal shelter or rescue, you often times rely on volunteers to utilize their personal vehicles for transporting animals or running errands.  What many organizations do not realize is that they can still be named in a lawsuit if that volunteer is involved in a vehicle incident while doing volunteer work for the animal shelter or rescue. Since this is the case, it is important for the shelter or rescue to have proper procedures and protocols in place for volunteers using their personal vehicles.

What is The Volunteer’s Driving Record?

To understand and paint a picture of the type of driver your volunteer is, it is best get a motor vehicle record (mvr) on the driver. MVR’s will show you if they have had any past wrecks or speeding tickets and will help you identify high risk drivers.

Policy & Procedures

Proper policies and procedures will identify the do’s and don’ts of driving for the animal shelter or rescue as well include a place for the volunteer to sign that they agree to these policies and procedures.

Do’s of Driving for the Animal Shelter

1.    Always wear a seatbelt.
2.    Always follow traffic laws.
3.    Obey all traffic signs and lights.

Don’ts of Driving for the Animal Shelter

1.    Never drive recklessly.
2.    Never use a cell phone while operating the vehicle.
3.    Never transport individuals not associated with the shelter at the same time.

Is There Insurance for That?

It is true that organizations can still be named in a lawsuit if the volunteer is an accident while running shelter errands. Why? If the volunteers is transporting an animal and hits another vehicle, causing injury to the other parties, they can come back and find the organization to be at fault for those injuries. The good news is that you can add non-owned and hired auto liability insurance to your policies.  This coverage provides protection in excess of the volunteer’s personal coverage and helps protect the finances and assets of the organization.

Do you want to impact the lives of pets in your community? Local animal shelters are always in need of dedicated volunteers. There are a variety of ways individuals can get involved with an animal shelter. From hands-on experience, to behind-the-scenes administrative work, there is a spot for all types of volunteers. Whether you are interested in getting involved, or looking to bring more volunteers onto your team, these are five signs you should look for in a good animal shelter volunteer:
1. Love of animals: Volunteers for animal shelters need to be excited to be working with different types of furry friends. While working in a shelter, it is important to have volunteers who are passionate about helping each animal find a new home. Hands-on volunteers will experience long hours spent cleaning, feeding and playing with these animals. Administrative volunteers will also be working in close quarters with these animals.

2. Qualified: Qualifications of a certain role depend on the volunteer position. It is important to evaluate the physical, emotional and mental skills each potential volunteer has. AWOIP has a sample skill screening to help properly place volunteers in order to best benefit the individual and the organization.

3. Patient and kind personality: Many animals that come to shelters have had a difficult past. It is important volunteers are both patient and kind when handling the animals. Working with these types of animals can be a very emotional experience and it is important volunteers are able to be understanding and compassionate.

4. Energetic: Working in an animal shelter requires an upbeat and energetic personality. Volunteers should be excited to be doing something they love: working with animals. Some hands-on tasks can be very physical and some administrative tasks can be very time-consuming, so it is important each volunteer is full of energy.

5. Committed: Shelters are looking for volunteers that are dedicated to the organization and that can commit to spending time at the shelter. Shelters rely heavily on volunteers so it is important they are reliable.
Volunteering at an animal shelter can be a very rewarding experience. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities, contact AWOIP to find opportunities in your area. If you are a shelter looking to implement a Volunteer Program, make sure to also check out these tips from AWOIP.

Finding volunteers and foster parents for kitten and puppy season can help take pressure off shelters having to handle all the litters of cuteness on their own. If you are wondering, what ways you can help find volunteers and foster parents for the season the five tips below will help you get a head start.
1. Post Flyers
Before kitten and puppy season even starts up, post flyers about the season around your local area and request help. Make sure the flyers have contact numbers so when volunteers or possible foster parents want to provide help during this season, they can reach you.
2. Place Ads in Papers
Placing Ads in newspapers requesting volunteers and foster parents for your local shelter is another way to receive the extra help you need when kitten and puppy season approaches. Ads in the newspaper should include contact information such as phone numbers and your shelters local address so possible helpers can contact you with ease.
3. Hold an Open House
One of the best ways your shelter can help find volunteers and foster parents for kitten and puppies is by holding an open house and speaking about what the season is and why extra help is necessary. Make sure you serve refreshments and show your appreciate to those who come to the open house.
4. Have a Bake Sale Fundraiser
Holding a bake sale fundraiser to help raise money for kitten and puppy season weeks before it occurs is another great way to help get the word out that volunteers and foster parents are needed. You can place little labels or notes on the baked goods that even say, “Volunteers and Foster Parents are needed for Kitten and Puppy Season Call This Number.”
5. Send Out a Newsletter
Sending out newsletters to all the people in your local community is an outstanding way to bring in volunteers and foster parents to help take care of litters of kitten and puppies during the busy season. The newsletters should explain what kitten and puppy season is and the ways people can help during it to make it easier for your shelter to handle.
End Notes
These are only a handful of ways that can help you find volunteers and foster parents for kitten and puppy season. Other ways is just to speak about it as you do task in your local community or post posters.

Shelters are homes to many animals seeking their forever home. However, before animals are ever adopted out of the shelter adoptive parents should be offered a human education program offered by your shelter. This type of program can help new future pet parents be the best that they can be to their new furry soon to be pals. However, humane educations program should also be offered to schools to by shelters to help educate children at young ages about the equal rights all living creatures on this earth deserve.
The Benefits of Shelters Offering Humane Education Programs
1. Humane education programs teach pet parents to care for their companions in a responsible manner.
2. The program can help people understand the consequences of being irresponsible when it comes to their pets.
3. Humane Education programs can encourage the value of all living things in people who need to develop a more humane nature towards living being.
4. The program can teach people how animals can be motivational tools to help teach others how to grow in life.
5. Helps teach people how to care for abused animals properly.
6. Can educate people on how to stop and prevent animal abuse from occurring.
7. Teaches people the services animals can provide to the ill and disabled.
8. Offering a humane education program can teach people how to be loving, caring and respectful to all creatures upon the planet.
9. Programs such as this can help teach people empathy as well as how to socialize with living beings in a proper manner.
End Notes for the Benefits of Offering Humane Education Programs to People
The benefits of offering a humane education program are countless and necessary for developing pet owners and human beings, that are more kind, respectful and loving to all living creatures upon the planet. Without programs such as these, people who do not understand how to be towards other living beings could potentially develop a behavior that is cold and senseless towards other upon this planet.
In fact, people who never develop skills on how to be humane are more capable of developing abusive behaviors and becoming criminals. If offering humane education programs through shelters and at schools creates more humane human beings than these types of classes should not just be offered, but should be mandatory to help all humans develop a more humane nature so our planet can be a happier peaceful place to live upon.

Backyard breeding is a phrase used to describe human beings that breed animals in their backyards without a license to do so in order to earn a profit for them. This kind of breeding is not humane and causes pet overpopulation, which occurs from backyard breeders tossing unwanted animals they are unable to sell onto the streets. Educating others about backyard breeding can prevent the overpopulation of pets and help stop animals from being used in ways that are not humane. Animals are living beings that deserve proper respect, treatment and love as humans do.
How can educating your community about backyard breeding help animals?
Educating your community on backyard breeding can help animals by stopping the overpopulation of pets on the street and in shelters. It can also help prevent animals from being euthanized for no reason. Speaking about backyard breeding to provide an education to others on the topic can help prevent it from even occurring as well as teach people what to do if they suspect someone is doing backyard breeding in their local neighborhood to meet their own selfish purposes.
What should be done is backyard breeding is suspected?
Teaching people what to do about backyard breeding if it is suspected, is an outstanding way to catch and stop backyard breeders. If backyard breeding is suspected in your local area, it is wise to call animal patrol to help the animals being abused receive rescuing and eventually safety.
However, in some cases animals that are rescued from these situations have to be euthanized since they have serious behavioral or medicinal conditions that cannot be treated successfully in order for the animals to live healthy lives.
What are signs of backyard breeders?
Teaching people the signs of backyard breeders can also help prevent it from occurring. Some of the signs are:
1. Sudden Puppy Mills Opening
2. “Free to Good Home” ads in Local Newspapers
3. Selling of Kittens or Puppies on the Side of the Road or in Parking Lots
4. Receiving an Overwhelming Amount of Liters in Your Shelter from the Same Person
5. Someone Earning a Living from Dog Fights
End Notes for Educating the Community on Backyard Breeders
Educating your community through flyers and classes offered from a local shelter can help your community control and prevent backyard breeding from occurring. Without the knowledge of the topic, your community won’t be able to help stop this inhumane situation.

What is Backyard Breeding?

February 15, 2015

It is common these days to see more and more backyard breeding. This type of breeding causes puppy mills to exist and the population of animals on the streets and in shelters to grow. Putting a stop against backyard breeding is the only way to control these unnecessary situations for animals.
What exactly is backyard breeding?
Backyard breeding is a term used to describe humans who breed animals without the legal license to do so. The reason it is done is to create animals, which can be sold off to earn and income, or to create an animal with a certain temperament for dog fighting purposes. However, when animals cannot be sold off they are released onto the streets or into the wild to make more room for the next rounds of backyard breeds.
What kinds of animals are used in backyard breeding?
Horses: All types of horse breeds are used in backyard breeding to create horses for slaughtering purposes. Backyard breeders that can turn out a lot of horse meat will sell it off in hopes of earning an extremely large sum of money for living purposes or continuing on with the breeding.
Dogs: Pitbulls are some of the most common dogs breed with other dogs by backyard breeders to create pups with temperaments that are easy to train for fighting purposes. However, other dog breeds are used in backyard breeding as well just to create puppies, which can easily be sold off in puppy mills or the side of the street simply to make an income.
Cats: All types of cats are used in backyard breeding to create kitten litters, which are sold off easily due to cuteness to earn some extra money. Most cats breed in backyards end up with all kinds of horrible health conditions and tend to be put onto the street if they cannot be sold off in time before the next breeding season begins.
Rabbits: All kinds of rabbits are breed often in backyards to produce tons of kit litters, which are sold off during the Easter holiday with ease, or for meat selling purposes.
End Notes for Backyard Breeding
All animals desire respect and kindness, which means backyard-breeding needs to stop. If you know of backyard breeding going on, report it immediately to animal patrol and prevent more animals from becoming homeless, abused and used for other purposes other than sharing love.


Dates are not just for humans. Dates are for furry friends as well since after all, they do provide a kind of love that never dies. If you have some furry friends in your life that need a bit of tender love and care, it is time to schedule a date with them today. If you do not, it is time to make a date with some at your local shelter who could use a bit of extra loving. If you are wondering what types of things, you can do on your furry friend date the ideas below should help.
1) Dinner for Two
Dinner for two is not just for a romantic relationship between humans, it can also be for two pals wanting to spend time together such as with the furry kind. If your feline or canine loves meat, cook up some oven-roasted chicken for you and your pal and serve it up to them and yourself for a tasty dinner for two. Just make sure you add a side dish or two to yours.
2) Have a Play Date with Friends
If the furry pal in your life, loves playing with other kitties and doggies, make a play date with other pet owners who have kitties and doggies that love playing with their own kind as well. Play dates can be had at parks, pet friendly beaches, or simply at home indoors or in the backyard. Play dates help your furry pals have a bit of fun and help them get a bit of exercise.
3) Make a Trip to the Pet Store or Bakery
Taking your furry pal to the pet store or pet bakery in your local area is an amazing way to spend a date day or evening with your pet. This is especially true if your furry pal loves going for rides in the car or truck. Best of all, furry pals are always allowed to go with you to pet stores and bakeries specifically for pets to pick out new toys, bedding, food, treats and grooming supplies.
End Notes for Save a Date with Some Furry Friends
Again, if you don’t have furry friends, save a date to go spend some time with ones in the shelter that could use a bit of extra tender love and care. It will help you feel good and help the animals there feel good too.

Shelters are the home of the animals that need new homes. Keeping proper upkeep is essential to attracting new visitors, which could possibly end up being new adoptive parents to some of the animals in your facility. It is always wise to have an active plan in place to improve your shelter to be the best it can possibly be. If you are not sure what to put in your shelters action plan to help keep your shelter running in top notch the tips below will help get you started.
#1 Keep the Shelter Clean and Tidy
If your shelter appears rough on the outside and the inside it is time to make it clean and tidy so it appears well kept. This means putting fresh paint up on the walls, laying down new flooring when necessary, planting some flowers outdoors, creating a new shelter sign outdoors that is inviting and organizing clutter. It is also wise to replace pet beds, furniture and toys that are overly used to show that you do care for the pets in your shelter by providing them with all they need to stay happy and feel well loved during their stay there until their forever homes are found. This means keeping the doggie kennels clean too.
#2 Make Sure a Grooming Schedule is in Place
Keeping the animals at the shelter well groomed can help keep your shelter as being the best. Well-groomed animals have better chances at finding their forever home. This means having a grooming schedule in place that ensures all animals get pampers. The grooming plan should include baths, nail and claw clippings, haircuts when necessary and lots of brushing to capture loose hairs to prevent hairballs in cats.
#3 Always have a Passionate Staff
If your staff is lacking a passion for working at the shelter it is time to find a new staff that is happy being at the shelter and caring for the animals in away that they deserve. Having a happy friendly staff also ensure that possible adoptive pet parents feel welcome and free to ask questions about all the animals at your shelter, which could help increase the number of animals in your shelter being adopted. After all, it is the small things you do that keeps your shelter improving and being the best it can possibly be for the animals their in need of homes.

There are hundreds upon hundreds of animal shelters across the country. While big name animal shelters often get a great deal of notice, there are many shelters that continue to operate under the radar, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways for animal shelters to get noticed quickly, and we’ve collected 7 easy ways to do just that.
1. Use Social Media
Social media is a quick, easy and often free way to get your shelter noticed. Starting a Twitter feed and building a circle of followers can be great advertising for an animal shelter. Facebook and Instagram are great options, too.
2. Offer Promotions
Adoption promotions are a great way to boost adoption rates and garner attention for your animal shelter. Slashing adoption fees, offering special “dog days” and “cat days” can get the community off their couch and into the center.
3. Pick a Spokesdog
Several animal shelters have gained significant awareness by promoting their shelter with a spokesdog. An animal shelter in Milwaukee gained significant awareness by taking their spokesdog, Gracie, to iconic areas around the city and handing out informational packets to passersby.
4. Create Videos
YouTube is a great medium for animal shelters. Take videos of the day-to-day activities at the shelter. Social transparency is a huge theme in business in 2015, and It translates well to animal shelters, too. YouTube can also be integrated into Facebook and other social media sites with great ease.
5. Interact and Engage
Once you have your social media sites set, you’ll need to engage with your audiences. Ask questions, run “cutest pet” contests and offer interesting content. The goal is to get users to engage with your sites and share your content so you can garner more followers.
6. The Newspaper
While print media has largely fallen out of favor with many people, the medium is still a great place to advertise special animal shelter events. Many newspapers offer both print and digital ad campaigns.
7. Talk to the TV Stations
Local news stations often look for “feel good” segments, so keep in contact with producers. This can help you garner your 15 minutes of fame on local media outlets, which can lead to a huge influx of community member coming into the animal shelter.
Exposure can make or break an animal shelter. While many shelters operate with a limited budget, getting the name out there needn’t be

Whether your dog is small or large, getting into stuff is their specialty and that includes chocolate, but what do you do if your dog gets into chocolate? Well, immediate medical treatment is usually required since chocolate contains a toxin known as theobromine, which is a stimulant beneficial to humans, but not to dogs. In fact, if chocolate gets into your pup’s system side effects could occur almost immediately.
Side Effects that Occur in Dogs that Have Eaten Chocolate
• Heart Rhythm Problems
• Central Nervous System Failure
• Muscle Tremors
• Seizures
• Coma
• Diarrhea
• Vomiting
• Excessive Urinating
• Hyperactivity
• Balance Problems
• Increased Thirst due to Dehydration
• Inflammation of the Pancreatic
• Possible Death
What amounts of chocolate are consider toxicity levels for dogs?
The amounts of chocolate needed to cause toxicity in dogs is around three milk chocolate bars, but chocolate bars made from pure dark chocolate are even more poisonous to pups. In fact, baking cocoa and bars contain 70% more theobromine that a milk chocolate bar, which makes it deadly to dogs who consume even an ounce. If you suspect your pup has gotten into a considerable about of chocolate it is wise to call your vet for immediate help.
Treatments Prescribed to Help with Chocolate Poisoning in Dogs
The treatments prescribed by a veterinarian to help aid in chocolate poisoning are simple. The doctor will prescribe a pill that induces vomiting or use an IV to provide fluids to flush the toxin out of the dogs body. Sometimes charcoal medications are prescribes if large amounts of chocolate have been in your dogs system for more than two hours to help relief a racing heart and to prevent seizures and other possible side effects from occurring or worsening.
Chocolate Foods to Keep Out of Your Dogs Reach
• Chocolate Bars
• Hershey Kisses
• Chocolate Ice Cream
• Chocolate Cakes
• Chocolate Milk
• Chocolate Frosting
• Hot Cocoa
• Chocolate Chips
• Baking Chips
• Chocolate Pies
• Fudges
• Homemade Fudge
• Chocolate Sauces
• Hot Fudge
• Chocolate Chip Pancakes
• Cocoa Based Cereals
• Cocoa Powder
End Notes for Dogs Consuming Chocolate
The best way to prevent your pup from ever consuming chocolate is to keep it up and out of the way. If your eating it and drop some on the floor, pick it up immediately. Remember, large amounts of chocolate can cause deaths in dogs so if you suspect your dog has chocolate poisoning the best thing to do is seek veterinarian help immediately.