For New Volunteers – Welcome
NOTE: this page is subject to further revision – last update was 01/08/2023
Welcome — from Bill Hyde, President, ECGRR
I want to extend a heartfelt thanks to you on behalf of ECGRR’s Board of Directors and myself for helping us with our mission of rescuing and placing these wonderful creatures in loving, forever homes.
You’ve taken the big step and are now an active volunteer with ECGRR. Now what?
Well, the first thing is to let all your friends and family know. Tell them about our website, our Facebook page, and what we do.
Secondly .. AND THIS IS REQUIRED … you need to complete/sign an ECGRR VOLUNTEER RELEASE form. CLICK HERE to download it. Please send us the completed form. Our mailing address is:
P.O. Box 535
Panama City, FL 32402
You can also scan the signed form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
This part of the website is designed for volunteers to keep up with the status of dogs in foster care, obtain copies of forms, and keep up with important volunteer news. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up for the Volunteer Newsletter. It is a separate publication from our regular newsletter with a focus on volunteer items.
You may come across several references in this area regarding teams,team leaders,etc. This information pertains to our past organizational system that is currently on hold due to restructuring and a change of personnel. It may be reinstated in the future.
The next step is to stay in touch with the volunteer coordinator. Keeping your contact information current is very important. If you are fostering, let the volunteer coordinator know any limits/restrictions you might have and don’t be afraid to say no to fostering a dog if it is a bad time or the dog does not fit in with your home environment. Our volunteer coordinator is (me!):
Phone (850) 896-3448
Below are a few items I think most new volunteers should know ….
Organization Structure: a quick overview
ECGRR is governed by a Board of Directors (BOD) operating under a set of by-laws.
Each active ECGRR volunteer is approved annually by the BOD.
One thing that makes a rescue like ours successful is a certain amount of discretion with information on where/who our dogs are surrendered by as well as who adopts our dogs. Our standing policy in regards to dogs taken into our program is:
NO DETAILS REGARDING WHO SURRENDERED A DOG TO US OR WHO ADOPTS A DOG FROM US WILL BE RELEASED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THE PRIVACY OF THOSE INVOLVED IS A PRIORITY IN HOW WE OPERATE.
I can’t stress this enough. Short of a valid legal request / court order this information will not be released outside of ECGRR control.
Some of the circumstances that people surrender their dogs can be heartbreaking and even embarrassing. For these people, knowing that we’ll respect their privacy provides helps ensure the dog gets into our rescue than simply being abandoned or dropped off at a kill shelter.
For those that adopt from ECGRR, there is a need to keep their details private since we do have instances where the individuals that have surrendered a dog suddenly decide they want to check on how the dog is doing after being adopted. ECGRR is more than happy to tell them that all is well, but we NEVER provide any details that might allow the adopter to be contacted by someone that surrendered a dog to us or other 3rd party.
As an ECGRR volunteer, should you find yourself in a situation where you are being questioned about the details regarding a dog you have handled for us (foster, transport, inspections, etc.), please refer them to one of our board members or directly to me (Bill Hyde (850) 896-3448 President ECGRR BOD).
Intakes – Dogs are taken in by ECGRR from a variety of sources, the two main ones being owner surrenders and animal control/shelter facilities. With a pure golden, the current policy is ECGRR will take it in. Exceptions might involve a serious health issue or aggression/bite cases. Golden mixes are taken in on a case-by case basis, but this needs to be coordinated and approved by the ECGRR BOD. ECGRR may not assume responsibility for mixes that have not been approved by the BOD.
3 very important steps in the intake process ….
1 – Contacting the ECGRR intake coordinator regarding the intake. The coordinator will review the dog’s eligibility to be taken in and arrange for BOD approval if needed. The intake coordinator will also assign an ECGRR number to the dog. ECGRR intakes are currently being handled by:
Phone (850) 896-3448
Phone (850) 322-5310
Phone (850) 814-4960
ECGRR WILL NOT ACCEPT A DOG IF THIS STEP IS NOT FOLLOWED. In other words, volunteers are not to accept a dog in the name of ECGRR and then get approval.
2 – Entering dog into our database for Foster Intakes. This is done through our SURRENDER FORM and then an ECGRR number will be assigned to the dog. The entry of data should be discussed with one of the ECGRR intake coordinators if the volunteer is entering on behalf of the dog owner/shelter/etc when performing step. If a dog is being surrendered by an individual, a signed Surrender of Ownership form will be obtained as well.
3 – A veterinary exam is conducted and dog is current on all vaccinations. The intake coordinator can advise you of the vets we use. A dog should not enter a foster home without an exam. In some cases, especially with a foster homes that have other dogs, it might be best for the intake dog to spend time an “overnight” at a vet facility for observation. The volunteer doing the intake should note any obvious health issues (coughing, watery eyes, diarrhea, etc.) or strange behavior that may need to be addressed or brought to the attention of the foster. The intake coordinator will advise on how to proceed with the intake and direct/approve any veterinary services.
Fosters – This is the backbone of our rescue. Foster homes not only provide a safe place for the dogs we take in, but provide the needed information regarding behavior of the dog for the proper adoption.
Foster input/notes should be part of the discussion in our forum area. If you are fostering, please let us know of any situations that might impact your ability to foster (upcoming vacations/travel, family issues) so we can make appropriate arrangements for the foster dog. I also highly recommend all fosters read Successful Foster Parent Tips as well as Fostering a Golden. The ECGRR foster program is jointly administered by the ECGRR Volunteer coordinator and the ECGRR Intake coordinator.
Adoptions – This is what it is all about. The focus is placing the dog in the home that is the best fit. As a volunteer with us you may find yourself in a position of having a friend or family member asking you to find them that “perfect dog”. There’s nothing wrong with keeping an eye out, but never promise a particular dog to someone. Our adoption coordinator oversees the adoptions of ECGRR dogs. The process involves coordinating with other volunteers with homechecks, receiving input from the foster family and working with the ECGRR BOD in matching a home from our pool of applicants. If you are approached by family/friends, tell them to submit an application through our website, mentioning the dog they are interested in.
As a foster you may find yourself really attached to one of the dogs you are fostering for ECGRR. It’s normal. Sometimes the mindset of knowing that as your foster is placed in a loving forever home, you can now help save another helps. There is always the possibility that you’ll join the ranks of being a “failed foster” (I’m one, twice over) … you end up adopting your ECGRR foster. It does happen. All we ask is that you let us know IMMEDIATELY if you are considering adopting your foster. That way we can handle the case as a “foster to adopt” and make sure the dog is not actively being promoted on the website.
Once we have a dog in our program, and any health issues are addressed, it’s time to find the best forever home. With a good write-up for the website, quality pictures can’t be stressed enough. They are what potential adopters see first. You don’t have to be a professional to take attractive pictures … just a little bit of creativity and avoiding some common mistakes:
♦ Try to take them outdoors in natural light.
♦ Don’t shoot from up high, looking down at the dog – take pictures close to the dog’s level
♦ Golden’s love to “smile”! Time your picture accordingly. Sitting is good, but try to get some side shots as well.
♦ Use props. A ball … another animal .. a child. Having the dog wear a simple bandanna works wonders.
♦ Have treats handy to get the dog’s attention.
♦ With digital pictures just keep shooting and shooting during a session and pick the best ones out of the group.
So what size should the pictures be? Good question. With most digital cameras and phones, the normal picture taken is usually way too big (height/width and file size) to post on the website without being reduced. When you reduce them, the size should be at least 275 pixels wide by 275 pixels tall. Larger is fine, but you are wasting space if over 800 pixels wide. A picture that is more wider than tall is fine.
If you have a handy image utility to reduce the size of a picture, that’s great. If not, and you use a Windows based computer, Fotosizer.com is a very easy utility that will reduce the dimensions and file size of the pictures you take- and in batches. The free version works great. If you have an Apple Mac, VISIT THIS LINK for information on how to reduce images.
If a serious incident occurs that is related to your ECGRR volunteer activities please let us know ASAP. Some examples include, but are not limited to:
♦ Dogs bites (dog on person/dog on dog)
♦ Accidents while traveling/transporting for ECGRR
♦ Foster dogs with emergency medical issues
♦ Runaway fosters
Bill Hyde (850) 896-3448 President ECGRR BOD
Bob Teer (850) 814-4960 ECGRR BOD Volunteer Coordinator
Tracey Hyde (850) 814-7476 – ECGRR BOD Treasurer
Kerri Barloga (850) 322-5310 – ECGRR BOD
Bottom line, if in doubt, then please call!
Thank you again for taking the time to be part of ECGRR. Should you have any questions or concerns about how we operate, please feel free to give me a call at (850) 896-3448. If I’m unable to take the call, leave a message and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible.