How can you be a great animal shelter volunteer?  Follow these five steps and you will become one.

1) You must be dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals you take care of in the shelter by giving them your love and kindness, showing them you care by taking care of them when they are sick and feeling left out, being their friend when they have lost their friend.

2) Make sure that they are fed and watered as per the instruction for the animal.  If an animal requires a special diet make sure that they only get the food that is recommended for that animal.

3) Take the time to play and walk with the animals.  Some animals require more vigorous work outs to keep them happy, others only require some petting and attention.  Take the time to know the animals you work with.

4) Once you know the animals read what other volunteers have said about the animals in their write-ups.  Keep track of what you notice about the animals and add your own information about each and every one.  Some of the items you can keep track of are:

  • How well they respond to voice command while playing
  • How well they walk around people and other animals
  • How well they play with other animals
  • Weather or not they adapt to having animals of other species around them (cat and dogs)
  • Weather or not they are approachable by other people

5) You must always be there at your appointed time because the animals depend upon you to be there.  An exceptional volunteer will also make time in their holidays to make sure that the animals are well taken care of.

So if you are thinking of becoming an animal shelter volunteer then the five items above will give you a clear idea of what is needed.  This is really what any animal needs weather or not it is at a shelter, in the home, or a stray.  They all need love and attention.

 

Animal shelters and rescues have the weight of the helpless animal population on their shoulders.  They find ways and methods to accomplish their significant missions and visions with minimal funding and resources. Animal shelters and rescues rely heavily on the support of donors who provide needed items as well as financial donations.  The last thing they need to add to their daily worries is the risk of a cyber attack that compromises their donor’s confidential information. According to a recent study released by The Global State of Information Security, security incidents increased by 38% and theft of “hard” information rose by 56% in 2015 when compared to 2014.  With the threat of cyber attacks on the rise, it is a real concern for many nonprofit animal shelters and rescues. Implement a cyber security program to protect your donors and your animal shelter or rescue.

Here are eight items to include in your program:

  1. Backup your data. Create a backup of information stored on your computers and server daily. Hackers have the power to compromise your electronic information, making it inaccessible. A backup provides you with an up to date list of your donors and their contact information, simplifying the notification process (a little at least).
  2. Secure physical data. Store physical donor files and confidential information in a locked, fireproof filing cabinet. Allow access to this information on an as-needed basis.  The fewer hands that physically touch the files, the smaller chance they can be misplaced.
  3. Limit the information you collect. A great rule of thumb to implement immediately is “if you don’t need it, don’t ask for it.” The less data you collect from donors, the less information a hacker gains during a breach.
  4. Purge unneeded information. If you have years of donor information stored in a back room at your animal shelter or on discs, it may be time to purge it. Keep only information you need. Often times, older files are stored and forgotten about. Holding onto donor files and information increases your chance of suffering from a breach.
  5. Update computers and software. Update computers and software programs on a consistent basis. Companies release updates and patches to help protect their customers from data breaches.  If updates are left unattended, your risk for a breach increases.  If you are not technology savvy, hire a local IT company to help keep your system up to date and secure.
  6. Use encryption. Use a data or donor collection service that encrypts the information your donors enter. Encryption encodes the information making it only accessible by those authorized to view it.
  7. Train your volunteer staff. Volunteers are a significant help to animal shelters and rescues. They can also be a great risk.  If your volunteer team is not internet or computer intelligent, they may unknowingly download malware or spyware.  Educate them on what is an acceptable use of the organization’s computers and emails.  Make it mandatory that downloads are not acceptable and should be approved by the director.  Phishing schemes are a common hacker specialty. Train your team on these to protect your shelter or rescue.
  8. Purchase cyber liability insurance. Cyber liability insurance is beneficial if it is purchased prior to a cyber breach or theft.  Cyber liability insurance protects your nonprofit animal shelter at the time of the breach by paying defense and settlement costs. The best cyber insurance policies take care of the state required notifications, which can be a long and treacherous task.

Cyber breaches are a serious threat to nonprofits like animal shelters and rescues.  The unfortunate news is hackers are becoming more creative in their schemes, making it difficult for companies to keep information secure.  Implement a cyber security program outlined here to protect your nonprofit animal shelter or rescue.

 

Matching fur babies with their family members is a day that will change the lives of both forever. This day can come even sooner if you publicize the animal as much as possible. You can increase animal adoptions in easy, simple ways.

Online Viewing

Animal adoptions have proven to skyrocket once people can put a face to an animal and fall in love. Put each pet on your website so people can browse through and find the type of animals that interest them. Offer fun personality traits and any background information. Write attention catching, fun copy to draw people into each pet. Make sure the pet looks snazzy and that the picture showcases their personality. Besides you own website, register with PetFinder.com. This website helps thousands of pets find their soulmates each year.

Mobile Adoption Events
Getting pets in front of hundreds of hands waiting to pet them will help your adoption rates. You can set up these adoption events at any city gathering or festival to increase exposure. Hand out education material about adopting pets so people can see the benefits. Many people simply cannot resist petting a cute animal and just leaving the animal there watching as they walk away. It’s hard to turn down puppy dog eyes and a sweet kitty cat purr!

Television
Many local television networks offer spots about adoptable pets. Dress a few of the pets up in a cute “Adopt Me” attire and parade them on television. If you’ve ever seen any of the late night talk show’s animal spots, you know they are some of the most fun and popular segments. People can see the personality of the animals and connect which leads them to coming in to visit the pet for potential adoption.

Flyers

Take adorable pictures of the adoptable pets and print them on cardstock along with a playful biography. You can place these at the organization when people come to visit or you can pass the flyers out when you are out with the pets on a walk or playing outside. Ask local businesses if you can stick some of the cards in their windows or at the cashier counter so the pets get utmost exposure.

 

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.

Seeing a  pet that was once homeless, frightened and sad happily going home with their new family is a very rewarding experience.   A successful adoption can make all the hard work of animal rescue seem worthwhile.

While adoptions are a continuous goal of rescue groups, hosting adoption events is a great way not only to encourage adoptions but to promote animal rescue.  Involving other rescue groups can somewhat lesson the workload of  running adoption events, but can draw more people to see the pets.

If your rescue would like to organize an adoption event, there are some suggestions you may want to consider.

Location, Location, Location

Choosing a venue is one of the first things to do when planning an adoption event.  If you would like to have the pets at the event, make sure they would be welcome at the location.  There should be space for dog walking and the venue should be easily located.   This may encourage those passing by the venue to visit and hopefully, consider adoption.

Get the Word Out

People need to learn about the adoption event.  Place posters in places of high foot traffic.   Radio stations may do “local event” announcements for non-profit groups.  Use social media to announce and promote the adoption event. Place photographs of some of the available pets on your advertising materials.

All Hands on Deck

Adoption events require a lot of work.   Recruit as many volunteers as possible and provide them with information about the pets needing homes and your group’s adoption process so they can inform visitors.   Volunteers will also be needed to walk dogs, ensure water is available for animals present.   If cats are part of the event, volunteers can engage them in play to showcase this aspect of their personalities.

A Common Goal

If several different rescue group are participating in event, each organization may have different adoption fees, procedures and requirements. Do not allow these differences to interfere with the ultimate goal of adoption events, placing homeless pets into loving homes.

More Then Adoption

An adoption event is a great opportunity to educate the public about the plight of homeless animals, the benefits of adopting adult pets and how adoption saves lives.

Many people are confused when it comes to animal shelters and animal rescues. While they are similar, there are also differences between the two.

Animal shelters are a place where people can take their animals when they can no longer care for them. Most animal shelters are funded either by the state or the government. These agencies help to pay for the building where the animals are housed, their food and water, and their day to day care as well as care by a licensed veterinarian. Most animal shelters will take in all animals that come to their door. Some shelters even have a drop area to leave animals when there are no staff on duty to check the animal in. Because most animal are accepted at shelters, the amount of animals that are up for adoption is great. Families who are looking for a new family pet have a wide variety of pets to choose from. The adoption process at shelters is usually very quick and easy. In many cases, families looking for a new pet can go home with the pet the very same day. Animal shelter are also the place that lost animals are taken to wait for their owners to come and claim them.

There are two types of shelters, no kill shelters and kill shelters. No kill shelters do not euthanize animals regardless of the amount of animals already in the shelter. A kill shelter will allow an animal to stay at the shelter for a specific period of time. If the animal was not adopted during that period, they will be euthanized in order to keep the population in the shelter down.

Animal rescues are more like foster homes for pets. Typically, animal rescues cater to specific breeds of dogs. Many dogs who are in animal rescues have problems. Some have been taken from abusive homes and have behavior problems, while others have medical problems or are very old. Because animal rescues house animals with problems, the adoption process is much more difficult. Most rescues require a long application process and require home visits so that they can see the environment where the animal will be living. The animal rescue needs to be sure that the animal will be happy and thrive in the environment in which they are placed. Also, all animal rescues are no kill rescues. If a pet does not get adopted, he will live out his days with the other animals at the rescue.

If you are looking for a pet, checking out both your local animal shelter and rescue is a good idea. Between the two, you are bound to find your new best friend.

How can you be a great animal shelter volunteer?  Follow these five steps and you will become one.

1) You must be dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals you take care of in the shelter by giving them your love and kindness, showing them you care by taking care of them when they are sick and feeling left out, being their friend when they have lost their friend.

2) Make sure that they are fed and watered as per the instruction for the animal.  If an animal requires a special diet make sure that they only get the food that is recommended for that animal.

3) Take the time to play and walk with the animals.  Some animals require more vigorous work outs to keep them happy, others only require some petting and attention.  Take the time to know the animals you work with.

4) Once you know the animals read what other volunteers have said about the animals in their write-ups.  Keep track of what you notice about the animals and add your own information about each and every one.  Some of the items you can keep track of are:

  • How well they respond to voice command while playing
  • How well they walk around people and other animals
  • How well they play with other animals
  • Weather or not they adapt to having animals of other species around them (cat and dogs)
  • Weather or not they are approachable by other people

5) You must always be there at your appointed time because the animals depend upon you to be there.  An exceptional volunteer will also make time in their holidays to make sure that the animals are well taken care of.

So if you are thinking of becoming an animal shelter volunteer then the five items above will give you a clear idea of what is needed.  This is really what any animal needs weather or not it is at a shelter, in the home, or a stray.  They all need love and attention.

Follow these 5 steps to be a great animal shelter volunteer:

1) You must be dedicated to the health and welfare of the animals you take care of in the shelter by giving them your love and kindness, showing them you care by taking care of them when they are sick and feeling left out, being their friend when they have lost their friend.

2) Make sure that they are fed and watered as per the instruction for the animal.  If an animal requires a special diet make sure that they only get the food that is recommended for that animal.

3) Take the time to play and walk with the animals.  Some animals require more vigorous work outs to keep them happy, others only require some petting and attention.  Take the time to know the animals you work with.

4) Once you know the animals, read what other volunteers have said about the animals in their write-ups.  Keep track of what you notice about the animals and add your own information about each and every one.  Some of the items you can keep track of are:

  • How well they respond to voice command while playing
  • How well they walk around people and other animals
  • How well they play with other animals
  • Weather or not they adapt to having animals of other species around them (cat and dogs)
  • Weather or not they are approachable by other people

5) You must always be there at your appointed time because the animals depend upon you to be there.  An exceptional volunteer will also make time in their holidays to make sure that the animals are well taken care of.

If you are thinking of becoming an animal shelter volunteer then the five items above will give you a clear idea of what is needed.  This is really what any animal needs weather or not it is at a shelter, in the home, or a stray.  They all need love and attention.

 

There is much joy to be had while running an animal shelter. Finding animals forever homes on a regular basis can be hard work, but is very rewarding. However, for all the things that can go right in your shelter, there are many others that can go wrong. That is when a liability waiver comes in handy. Liability waivers can save you a lot of headache and financial hardships. Here are a few examples of what a liability waiver can protect you and your shelter from.

1. Dog Bites.

Dogs are the most sought after animal in a shelter, and the majority of visitors in your shelter will likely be looking to add one to their family. When perusing the dogs, the visitors may put their hands in the dogs cage to initiate contact. While many dogs will be docile and friendly, others may perceive this as a threat and bite the stranger’s hand. This can be problematic because injury or disease can happen as a result. If that visitor signed a liability waiver though, then you are clear of any blame.

2. Cat Scratches.

Cats are another animal that is highly sought after in a shelter, and chances are your shelter houses many. One of the cats in your shelter may come into contact with many visitors in a day, and may scratch them. While a cat scratch, or bite may seem harmless at first, it can have lasting consequences. A cat scratch can lead to a nasty bacterial infection known as cat scratch fever. A visitor who contracts cat scratch fever from one of your shelter cats may hold you liable. However, a liability waiver would say different.

3. Slips, Falls. Etc…

Even if your shelter animals are well contained and on their best behavior, there is still many things that can go wrong. A dog may urinate on the ground, and someone could slip in it. The puddle may have gone unnoticed by the shelter staff until this accident occurred, so a wet floor sign didn’t get put out. Liability waivers can include a clause for this situation, and any other non animal related incident.

Zoonotic diseases, those that can be transferred from animals to humans, should always be kept in mind when working with animals.  Although there aren’t many of them, some can be life threatening if not recognized in time.

Perhaps the most feared zoonotic disease is rabies.  In animals the symptoms include changes in personality (ie a wild animal appears to want affection, or a domestic animal, usually very docile suddenly becomes aggressive), lack of fear, inability to swallow.  It is 100% fatal if not treated in time. If there is any question as to whether an animal you encountered was rabid, seek medical treatment immediately.

Most other zoonotic diseases are parasitic in nature.  These include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Worms – these intestinal parasites are transmitted through feces or contact with soil or other items that have come in contact with infected feces. There are several types of worms, including hookworms and roundworms that are common in both domestic and wild species.  All contact with fecal matter should be avoided.
  • Cryptosporidiosis – this is a parasite that lives in water.  It is most often contracted by exposure to water that has been soiled by fecal matter. The symptoms of a cryptosporidiosis include frequent bouts of watery diarrhea, stomach cramping and if untreated, life threatening dehydration
  • Lyme disease – although the organism that causes this disease is not a parasite, the means of transmission is. Lyme disease is carried by ticks that infect their host when they bite them. Symptoms of Lyme Disease in humans include fever, general malaise and a rash at the site of infection.  Sometimes the symptoms are minimal, but chronic, untreated Lyme Disease can lead to organ damage.
  • Toxoplasmosis – this disease is not parasitic. It is most often associated with the handling of cat litter, but the fact is that any warm blooded animal can carry it and the handling of raw meat has been known to transmit it.  In most cases of human infection the disease is almost asymptomatic, however, pregnant women need to be especially careful when handling animal feces as the disease can cause great damage to a developing fetus.

If you suspect you are suffering from an illness contracted through contact with animals be sure to inform your doctor when seeking treatment.  Zoonotic diseases may not be their first thought and being unaware may lead to misdiagnoses or delay in receiving proper treatment.