Good Customer Service for Animal Rescue Organizations

By Diane Robertson

I reblogged the full customer service article from Maddie’s Fund a little while back.  However, this is such an important subject, I wanted to quote from that article again. 

  • The first step in good customer service is to capitalize on the public’s enthusiasm for adopting by responding right away when initial contact is made.
    • Respond to email within 24 hours
    • Have someone available to answer the phone during business hours.
  • The second step is to make a potential adopter’s experience positive and helpful. Provide the kind of positive experience that helps compel potential adopters to take home a pet.

Warm, friendly, “live” interaction goes a long way to getting adopters in the door – and out the door with a new pet! Organizations that can build and train a welcoming staff and volunteer force that create receptive and responsive relationships with the community will see animals move more quickly through their facility, and word will get out that you have a top-notch operation.

The true meaning of rescue

This is a must read for anyone who loves animals or likes their dog or is involved with animal rescue.

Add These To Your Lexicon

Add These To Your Lexicon.

Maddie’s Fund – A Protocoled Response to Dog and Cat Diarrhea in a Shelter Setting.

Maddie’s Fund – A Protocoled Response to Dog and Cat Diarrhea in a Shelter Setting.

About Maddie’s Fund

Maddie’s Fund – About Us.

Pet Overpopulation Debunked

Pet Overpopulation Debunked.

Breaking It Down – Animal Rescue

By Diane Robertson

Following is a breakdown of the major steps involved in animal rescue.  Once an animal is rescued, there is another whole set of functions relating to fostering and getting those animals adopted.  So here we go….

  1. Identify High-Kill shelters in your area.  Talk to them, read their website and start a conversation with them about your organization and how you can help.
  2. Get on the approved rescue group list / alert list.  Most shelters evaluate rescue groups before placing them on their approved rescue group list.  Once approved, they may have an alert that goes out to their approved rescue groups regularly.  This alert often lists each of the animals nearing their PTS (Put to Sleep) date, a picture of the animal and a description.  If your shelter does not offer an email alert, find out more about their PTS schedule and how you can access records of animals in need of rescue (website, etc.).
  3. Based on the alerts and schedules of your shelters, routinely identify animals you would like to evaluate and get them evaluated (by yourself or use a trusted behavorist or shelter worker).  Remember that not every animal can be saved and that not every animal can be saved by you or your organization.   Some rescue  organizations specialize in certain breeds or categories of animals (horses, farm animals, pigs, dogs, pit bulls, cats, FeLV positive cats, senior dogs or cats, rats, birds, etc.).  Stay within your mission and budget when deciding on which animals to help.
  4. Obtain a commitment from foster parents or your shelter supervisor for the animals you will help.  Be sure to notify the county shelter/other organization which animals you will rescue and when you will arrive to pick up the animals.  Be sure you arrive on time, every time! If you will be late, be sure to call and let them know your new arrival time.
  5. Arrange for transportation.  This includes crates, cages, water bowls, etc and vehicles to transport the animals.  Be sure you have all the supplies you need for the rescue and that those animals and supplies will fit in the rescue vehicles.  If you have committed to a certain set of animals and you cannot take one or more of the animals due to your poor planning, the animal may be killed with no further rescue options.  For very long trips, be sure you plan for food, water, potty breaks and exercise breaks.
  6. Process the animals into your organization.  This includes data entry, microchipping, initial veterinary visit and possibly other activities.
  7. Assign animals to a foster parent or to your intake area .  Have the animals picked up/moved to the intake area.
  8. Medical Hold.  There is usually a 1-4 week waiting period where the animal is kept in quarantine to ensure that it is healthy or otherwise vetted, groomed, trained and allowed to relax into their new environment.  This waiting period ensures that when animals are moved to the “Available for Adoption” list, that they are in good physical shape, spayed or neutered if needed and ready for a new home.
  9. Place the animals on your Available for Adoption list /change the database to indicate their adoptable status.  Adoption processes can be very complex to simple, depending on your policies and procedures and the type of animals you are rescuing.

More to follow on policies and procedures for Rescue, Intake, Shelter and Adoption areas of a rescue organization.


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