A volunteer handbook is a key foundational risk management strategy. It will help to protect your volunteers, clients, and agency by providing guidelines for conduct, procedures, and policies. The handbook serves three major purposes: relaying crucial organizational information, establishing clear expectations, and emphasizing the importance of volunteers. By providing this information with your volunteers upfront, you welcome them to your agency and ensure that they understand their role and responsibilities.

Begin your handbook with a welcome letter. This is an opportunity to create an open environment and explain the essential role that your volunteers fulfill. Keep the letter brief and avoid using technical terminology, acronyms, or jargon. It is best to have the letter written by the Executive Director or a board member to relay how very important the volunteers are to your organization.

Once you have welcomed your volunteers, create a section in your handbook to relay important organizational information. Utilize this segment to briefly explain the background and history of the organization and your plans for the future. Include your vision and mission statements so that your volunteers understand the core values of the agency. This will help your volunteers to take ownership of your mission and goals. It is also necessary to explain your expectations for your volunteers and what they can expect from their involvement with the organization. This is a great space to provide a list of the rights and responsibilities of a volunteer so that they are clear on what their involvement with your organization will entail.

No handbook would be complete without a section for policies and procedures. It can include everything from legal concerns to best practices. However, make certain that only those regulations and processes that have been approved and implemented by your organization are included. This area may contain different things for different agencies, but it is essential to utilize this section to explain things like eligibility requirements, background checks, confidentiality policy, codes of conduct, and any other policy that your organization has in place. Additional areas that you may want to cover in this section include safety and emergency procedures, media relation procedures, grievance or dispute procedures, attendance, dress code, conflicts of interest, photo release, and social media policies. A complete policy and procedures section allows your organization to lay out the expectations for your volunteers, as well as, manage your risk by having your volunteers sign an acknowledgement of receipt of these policies.

Volunteer handbooks relay all the information that your helpers will need to be successful. So if you have additional information such as a glossary of terms, commonly used acronyms, contact information, maps, calendar of events, and answers to frequently asked question consider adding these as well. Make the handbook your own by including whatever information is important to your organization and your volunteers. As long as you have covered the information that was mentioned above, you will have a functional guide for how to successfully volunteer in your organization.

Part of proper dog grooming is keeping their nails clipped.  This tends to be one of the most challenging tasks for dog owners, but it doesn’t have to be.  Think of clipping your dog’s nails as a part of the training process.

Getting started:

  • Touch and pet your dogs feet and toes often.  Rub their tummy, scratch their neck and work your way down to their feet, gently massaging and separating their toes.  Keep repeating if your dog is not comfortable with touching their feet.
  • Keep the hair trimmed around your dog’s toes, so when you start the nail grooming, you can see the nail clearly and what you’re clipping.
  • Use nail clippers that you’re most comfortable with;
    • scissor type – snips the tip of the nail
    • guillotine type clipper – has a hole to insert the dog’s nail to snip off
    • grinder type – instead of snipping the tip, the nail is filed down using an electric or battery operated hand held grinder
  • Practice the clipping “process” with your dog.  Put your dog up on a counter or table where you’ll be doing the real trimming later.  Hold your dog’s toes and nails, gently moving them around and giving your dog a small treat every few minutes.  The point is to get your dog “more” focused on the coming treat than what you’re doing to their toes.  This is a good time to introduce the clippers, letting them sniff and check them out. Turn a grinder on and off, so the dog is used to the sound.  Repeat the process every day for a while.
  • Have a styptic or clotting powder before you start the real clipping session.  Always snip small sections of the dogs nail tip until you establish where the quick is within the nail.  Cutting the nail too short will cause bleeding and discomfort to your dog.
  • Stay clam and talk softly to your dog the entire clipping session.  If you’re calm, your dog is more likely to stay clam.

Additional information:

Know where your dog’s dewclaws are located.  Some dogs have dangling dewclaws that are difficult to trim, these may best be left to your vet. Dogs with aggressive behavior or high anxiety, may need to have their nails trimmed at your vet. Grooming your dog’s nails is important in keeping your dog healthy.  Trimming keeps the nails from breaking or cracking, which would cause your dog pain.

Grooming your dog’s nails is important in keeping your dog healthy.  Trimming keeps the nails from breaking or cracking, which would cause your dog pain.

Tick Prevention

June 10, 2015

After the long and harsh winter that hit many parts of the country last year, it’s highly likely your dogs are already feeling bored are restless. Playing outdoors under the spring sun is a good way for them to release some pent-up energy.

But before you let your dogs out the door, you need to protect them from tick infestation with these practical animal health tips:

  • Check your dogs for ticks whenever they come in from the outside. It takes hard work, but it’s worth the effort because it means preventing a tick infection before it even starts.
  • Remove all ticks you find. Ticks multiply fast, so the sooner you get rid of them, the lower the chances of an infection from happening. Use tweezers with a fine end for easy captures.
  • Bring your dogs to the vet for a regular checkup. The trained eye of a professional may be able to catch ticks that you didn’t know were lurking there.
  • Chat with your vet about the dangers of ticks and the preventive measures you can take. These doctors are experts in their field, so it’s best to listen when they’ve got something to say about your dogs.
  • Ask specifically about Lyme vaccine and whether or not your dogs need it. If Lyme disease is prevalent in your area, your dogs may be at a higher risk of contracting it if they’re not adequately protected.
  • Use anti-tick products like sprays and other forms of repellants when your dogs are scheduled to go outside. These products add a layer of protection against ticks.
  • Wash your dogs with tick shampoo. A thorough bath gets rid of whatever ticks that are still hanging in there after manual inspections.
  • Put a tick collar around your dogs’ necks. These accessories are both fashionable and functional; they come in many colors and designs, and they can also protect animals from ticks for weeks or months.
  • Improve tick-prone areas in your home. Ticks flourish in moist and dark areas, so if you have such spaces in your home, make them as tick-unfrlendly as you can.

No one else suffers as much as your dogs when they get tick infection, so in the case of animal health, the old adage still rings true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Preventing ticks and fleas in your pets will also keep you and your family safe and healthy. When you promote animal health by preventing your furry friend from catching these blood-sucking bugs, you avoid catching the critters yourself and contracting the diseases they carry. While Fido and Fluffy are at less risk of picking up nuisance pests such as tapeworm and avoid the itchy misery of flea bites or even the Flea Bite Anemia caused by large infestations, it is not just animal health at risk from the bites. Flea prevention also guards you and your family from human illnesses. Pet pests usually carried by dogs and cats like fleas cause human diseases like tick paralysis, ehrlichia, Lyme Disease, anaplasmosis, as well as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Luckily there are plenty of solutions on the market, ranging from oral doses to wearable flea-preventing collars and spot-on topical solutions. All of these solutions for flea prevention in your pet take into consideration different life cycles of the flea and target the adult, larvae and egg stages. This is why it is important to maintain the doses of flea prevention. For the very young or the very old cat or dog, a flea comb can be used to check their fur regularly. While in today’s hectic world giving flea prevention medication seems like one more chore to do by taking care of your animal, you are also looking after the health of your human companions.

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

Disasters can happen at anytime anywhere. Disasters can range from major earthquakes, flooding, and fires to storms such as tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms. Having a disaster plan in place at your local animal shelter is extremely important. It helps protect the animals and your staff in the event a disaster occurs. If you do not have one, it is time to sit down with everyone who works at your local animal shelter and come up with one. If your unsure of what the disaster plan should include the tips below will help, you begin creating a plan now.
1. Evacuation Location: In the event a horrible disaster occurs that involves an evacuation, you should have a second location you can safely bring the animals and staff. The second location should be spacious, safe and bring the necessary tools and equipment to take care of the animals such as food, water, crates, blankets, first aid animal’s kits and necessary medicines to treat animals that need particular care. It’s also wise to figure out how your going to transport all the animals safely to the second location if need.
2. Fire Escape Plan: Fires can happen at anytime anywhere. If one breaks out in your shelter have a plan that involves getting all the animals and staff out safely through exits. This includes making sure the exits to the shelter are free and clear from boxes and any other objects that might be in the way. It’s also important to have fire extinguishers placed in easy to access location throughout the shelter and ideas on where to place the animals that have been evacuated from the burning building in the event of a fire.
3. List of Emergency Volunteers: In the event of any kind of disaster that requires extra sets of hands for helping, it is wise to have a list of volunteers that would be able to help the shelter out in the event of an emergency situation. Having volunteers can help make handing a disastrous situation easier as well as the recovery process.
4. Back up Generator: During cold winter months, snow and ice storms can knock the power out. This leaves the animals in the shelter without heat to keep warm. It’s essential to have a back up generator to keep heat flowing through the building in the even the power does go out so the animals stay warm and healthy.

Facebook is one of the world’s most popular social networks today. Due to this fact, many businesses have adopted its use in marketing and selling their products and services. But just how do you market your Animal Shelter on Facebook?

Here are 7 Facebook marketing tips to employ.
1. Define your goals- Success in online marketing starts with you having clear set goals and objectives. When you have clear goals, you will work to make sure that everything you will be doing on the platform would be for the purposes of accomplishing your set goals.
2. Build a foundation for your Facebook audience- If you are first starting out on Facebook, you can send email to the people in your contact lists asking them to like your page and share it with friends. This gives your supporters the knowledge that you are on Facebook and will also offer you a great head start in terms of building your presence on Facebook.
3. Try and show the personality of the organization- As a Animal Shelter, it is vital to make sure you show the human perspective of your organization. You can post photos of staff members in the office, volunteer work going on or even share videos of people with the animals and why they love working with the animals.
4. Try and reach out to people individually- Speaking out to people directly helps you to effectively grab their attention. They will be getting notifications whenever you do so and thus your communication will be much better. This also shows that you value the people in your circles.
5. Optimize your Facebook posts- If you are posting any information on your Facebook page, you need to make sure it is well optimized. For instance, if you want to post a blog link or an article, be sure that the thumbnail image appears clearly.
6. Post large images with links in the descriptions- The tiny images that appear when you post a link on your facebook page will not do much in terms of attracting attention. Rather than having to post a status update, you can upload a large high quality photo and then include a link in its description.
7. Turn on the similar pages suggestions- When a user likes your Facebook page, Facebook might suggest other similar pages. In order for your page to be included in these suggestions, you will have to edit the settings.

Your business provides you and your love ones with the income you need to support every day life essentials. Being a strong leader at work is necessary in order for that business to thrive. After all, you want your employees to love who they are working for and provide the best service and care to your business so it can expand and succeed.

Five Tips on Being a Better Leader

1. Structure Leaders must provide structure by creating a plan that keeps the business working properly and the employees working together. This means creating a schedule that works best for you and your employees. Sitting down for a meeting each week with your employees and coming up with a work schedule together ensures everyone has the opportunity to choose the hours and days they wish to put in so when they do come to work they can work more effectively.

2. Compassion Having compassion for your employees goes along way to being a strong leader. Compassion shows that you are human just like your employees and that mistakes happen and emergencies come up that can easily be understood and handled properly. However, this doesn’t mean being a doormat and excusing a particular employee for calling out of work constantly or coming into to work late. When this occurs warnings need to be given and consequences need to occur. This ensures that the company has function so it can run properly.

3. Stay Calm When mishaps happen in the work place as a leader it is important to stay calm, think things through and handle the situation that came up in a manner that does not add more chaos. Remember, chaos only causes more problems and makes matters worse.

4. Respectfulness Having respect for each individual working for you is essential for gaining respect back and having a team of employees that is willing to work with you.

5. Listen To be a strong leader you must listen to your employees concerns and thoughts. Then you must address them in away that is beneficial to all of you and your business. After all, listening to each other is apart of teamwork and teamwork is needed in a business to thrive and grow.

If you are running a shelter for animals, you need to have a humane approach for the animals that are under your care. Shelters are full of animals, usually pet cats and dogs that have been relinquished by their owners, rescued from streets or simply lost and brought to the shelter. They may even have a large population of strays. Animal Control is in charge of all work related to animals, whether these are accident cases, abused animals or infectious animals. It is also empowered to check on documentation of pets.

Your shelter needs to follow all the regulations in force as well as make sure that you have sufficient staff and infrastructure to handle the animals in your care. It is best that you get the right insurance policy that will cover you against any unforeseen eventuality.

The Animal Welfare Organization Insurance Program provides you with the right insurance solutions that are tailored to your needs, while keeping your shelter, your animals and your workers protected, according the rules of Animal Control.  As there are many different insurance programs that will cover you against damages, you may require coverage under various categories, whether it is general or professional liability or property or worker’s compensation insurance. If you are not certain about what kind of insurance you need, get in touch with Animal Welfare Organization Insurance Program immediately.

Millions of animals are euthanized each year before they even have a chance to find a loving home. Giving these animals a second chance combined with the smile and love they will bring to the new owner’s home simply warms the heart. Holding pet adoption events could be the gateway to a whole new life for these animals. The best thing is that adoption events aren’t too costly and can be held in many locations. Choosing a great location is essential to the success of your adoption event.


Petco is often flooded with excited potential pet owners each weekend as they visit adoptable pets. Petco partners with many foundations and companies to host these types of events. They offer a large area to your adoptable pets so people can meet the animals and find the perfect fit. You can offer infromation about each pet and even give education material provided by Petco to potential new family members of the pets. All you have to do is become an Approved Adoption Partner by completing an online application.

Local Parades and Events

A great place to bring together animals and their future owners is at a local parade or local event. Basically anywhere in your city that brings together many people in one place is a perfect place to host an adoption. People can spend time with the animals while enjoying the event at the same time. The best way to set this up is to contact the coordinators of the local event. They will usually give you a perfect location and let you take the reigns from there. Who can resist a little kid at a parade begging his/her parents for a cute, cuddly new pet?!

PetSmart – National Adoption Weekends

Petsmart is one of the best places to find wagging tails and purring kitty cats during adoption events. It’s is not only a great location to hold a classic pet adoption event, but gives you ultimate exposure on Petsmart’s National Adoption Weekends. PetSmart holds these events four times a year featuring several adoption organizations each weekend. On average the weekends help over 17,000 pets find their soulmate.