FLCAS is looking for volunteers wanting to help the cats, dogs and other animals picked up by the animal control officers in League City and looking for new forever homes. League City is the only city in our community that adopts out more animals than they euthanize and with League City growing, we need more volunteers to be able to continue this commitment to the animals. We have so many opportunities you can choose what “works for YOU”. Some people enjoy direct contact with the animals at the Shelter, while others prefer to contribute their time outside the shelter in the community. The Good News is we have plenty of opportunities for everyone.
Walking and Socializing Dogs
A dog’s personality can change for the worse the longer it is kept kenneled. Human interaction is essential to the dog’s mental well being. Therefore it means a lot for them to get out of the kennel, be walked on a leash, and be and handled. Prospective adopters want to know as much as possible about the dog’s behavior so, “walkers” are able to add valuable information to the animal’s record. Does the dog know sit, shake, stay or any other commands? If not, if we are able to teach them simple behavioral commands will enhance their chances of being chosen. Potential adopters want a well behaved dog that doesn’t pull or jump up on them so socializing them is much more than just getting them out of their kennel on a leash.
It helps the animal’s disposition if they are allowed out of their cages to play, socialize, and be handled. Prospective adopters want to know as much as possible about the cat’s behavior. Does it like to be held and loved, does it purr and rub against you, does it mind getting its claws trimmed, and does it get along with other cats? Is it playful? Does it like being combed? Volunteers are able to add valuable information to the animal’s record to help it being chosen for adoption. Cats tend to shed more in the shelter since it is a stressful environment. Combing the cats removes the loose hair keeping them from shedding on potential adopters.
Grooming Cats and Dogs
Freshly bathe groomed animals show better and might even feel better about them-selves. Weather permitting dogs can be bathed and brushed outside.
Off Site Adoptions
Use your imagination. Some of the animals can be taken to lots of different locations. We once set up outside of Kroger in League City. The animals shown were not adoptable at Kroger but it raised awareness that League City has an animal shelter, the quality of animals available at LCAS, and brought adopters to the Shelter. We participated in The Oak Tree Festival in League Park in September. We had five adoptions the weekend of the event and two more the following week. It also resulted in about 1,000 additional hits on Petfinder the following week. We showed cats in the lobby of a mortgage company, on the ground floor of an office building, and had excellent results with adoptions. The best week was 17 adoptions. WOW!
Posting Adoptable Dog & Cat Flyers
We have created flyers with photos of our adoptable dogs and cats flyers. These are sent via email to our distribution list. They are sent as a .jpg document so they can easily be uploaded to the person’s social media sites. We ask that they forward to their friends and/or post them wherever they can get access. They can be posted in business windows, at employers, churches schools etc. Volunteers can obtain email addresses of people and/or business that want to receive our flyers and will post them to help the animals. Volunteers might also find places that will allow us to put up flyers but not allow us to send it via email. We need to maintain a list of locations and deliver new flyers form time to time. The flyers really help attract potential adopters since sometimes people don’t know they are ready to adopt until they see an animal and it “speaks” to them. Those folks won’t come to the shelter to adopt because they didn’t know they were ready and they would not have seen the animal were it not for the flyer.
We have a lot of locations already that display our brochure. Those holders need to be restocked and at the same time seek out new locations.
Enter data into ACT or EXCEL so we can stay in touch. We enter people who have adopted and/or signed up to receive our information. Adoptions are done throughout the week so the Friends must go through the adoption contracts and collect and enter the adopter’s information. We protect the privacy of our distribution list by not sharing it with any other organization and sending each email out individually so no one can capture another person’s email address.
Photograph animals for the “adoptable” flyers and PetFinder. This requires keeping up with which animals have already been photographed and posted to Petfinder and which animals are new and needing to be posted. The volunteer would to the shelter during the week or on weekends during shelter business hours. During the week you can photograph the animals resident at the shelter. On the weekend the foster parents bring their animals to show for adoption. The foster animals need to be photographed on Saturday. All of the photos then need to be edited, cropped, compressed, and labeled with the animals ID# number, shelter name and any comments on the cage card so the person posting the animal can write something inviting. You can then do the posting to Petfinder or forward the photos to another volunteer for the posting to Petfinder.
Write inviting, personal, comical, comments for posting the animals to PetFinder.com. Write articles for local newspapers and other publications about responsible pet ownership and the need to sterilize owned pets.
Jenny Montgomery with the Houston Chronicle posts one of our animals to the Clear Lake Section weekly. Stacy Fox posts them on KHOU.com Animal Attraction frequently. Several subdivisions community newsletters are published monthly by one company. We submit an animal and their story and it appears in several subdivision newsletters. These photos work best if they haven’t been compressed and the more interesting the story the greater interest. We submitted a dog needing heartworm treatment and received more than $200 donations. We submitted a cat that had been there more than 3 months and received four inquiries in the first week. A volunteer set us up a FACEBOOK page. Our posts need to be regular to keep Fan’s interest. We need to encourage others to become a Fan of the Friends. Find High profile people/affluent people who are animal lovers and encourage them to become a Fan. Gather email addresses to be added to our database so we can communicate with them regularly.
Youth Group PODS
We have a lot of interest in Jr. Volunteers (under 18) which require parental supervision. If we could get 5-6 parents w/juniors in a group, the parents could rotate weeks among themselves. This would meet the requirement for parental supervision, not place a hardship on any one parent to volunteer every week and get the juniors involved.
Finding Speaking opportunities with clubs and organizations and/or be able to speak at the events.
We want to educate the community about the shelter, our adoption program, out volunteer programs, items needed, how they can help, and the importance and benefits of spaying and neutering their animals to diminish the overpopulation and resulting euthanasia.
Kittens and puppies have an immature immune system so we try to get them into foster care in a private home, and away from the germs in shelter, as quick as possible. These young animals are too young to have received any vaccinations and can easily become sick and die. Fostering means you take the animal into your home and care for it as you would your own. It’s best if they can be kept away from your resident pets since the resident pet seldom see the humor in a “new” temporary animal and the stress of an unknown animal can cause the fosters to become stressed and sick.
The animal control officers do a great job of cleaning and sanitizing but with this many animals in one place there are always some animals spreading germs and sickness. Some of the animals that come in have been properly vaccinated and are not affected. Far too many times the animals have not been vaccinated and so they either come in sick or quickly become sick from the airborne and surface germs.
So other than the puppies and kittens we frequently look for foster homes for injured or sick adults requiring minor medicating and time away from the germs of the shelter to heal and be vaccinated. Not to worry, we match the animal’s needs to your skill level and don’t ask more than you can give. Although we have no way of knowing the foster animal’s overall health, if you resident pet is properly vaccinated they shouldn’t contract any illnesses from your foster. The animal can be kept in a wire crate suitable for its size as long as it is in a temperature controlled environment. We can probably help with the necessary supplies in the beginning while you see if this is something you want to continue.
If you are unable to foster animals in your own home, you can assist another foster by caring for their foster animals in their home when they need “time off”. This means you would go to their home to feed and care for the animals, like pet sitting, only volunteer. You might also assist them on Saturdays by taking the animals to the shelter to show for adoption and returning them to their foster’s house at the end of the day if not adopted.
Saturday Adoptions at the Shelter
Saturday the volunteers bring their adoptable foster animals to the shelter to show for adoption. This is a major undertaking and requires a lot of effort so the foster animals can hopefully find their forever home.
- Wire crates to show the animals must be assembled and put in the foster showing room with bedding and litter boxes 9AM-11AM
- Pet carriers unloaded from the foster’s vehicle, carried into the shelter, animals unloaded and placed in the wire crates, and carriers stored 4PM-6PM
Then this is all done in reverse at the end of the day. The “in and out” process is 30 min to 1 hr. Typically there are about 10-15 carriers with animals that come in Saturday so you can see how much work this can be. The foster parent has already loaded all of their animals from their home, into carriers, into their vehicle, and brought them to the shelter. So you can see how much this help would mean for the foster parents. The shelter opens for adoptions at 10AM and adoptions end at 4:30PM so this is done just before and after those times. If you have only a few hours to volunteer on a Saturday consider doing it at the beginning or end of the day so you can help with this function and socialize the cats or dogs for a little while before or after helping with the foster showing process.
From time to time there are projects like hanging a bulletin board or repairing a cat climbing tree. We cleaned up the back yard at the shelter and it could use some more improvement. We want to get chain link fencing donated or sponsored and will then need volunteers to install the poles and fencing. It would be nice to have a “few good men” to call on when projects like this arise.
- Write up application for Combined Federal Campaign. This is a program for federal employees and is about the same as writing a grant.
- All major corporations do some type of community support. They each have specific causes they support. Once we know what they support we can determine if there is a way to “dovetail” what we do into one of their causes. Call those corporations to find out what types of “causes” they support and request their grant proposal package and ask when their deadline for submission. Many corporations offer a program like “Chevron Humankind.” A Chevron employee documents their volunteer hours with our group and Chevron make a cash donation to us for 20 hours and more when they reach 40 hours worked. When asking about grant request ask if they have a program like this.
- Identify corporations that have matching donation programs so we can be sure we receive funds when their employee donates to us.
- Identify business owners who are animal lovers and willing to help us. An example would be a sign company that made us signs at their cost. Another sign company did the wrap for our trailer and of course Monica Millican, Star Toyota and Expertox donated funds for the trailer purchase.
- Create an “Animal Friendly Businesses” page on our website for businesses that help us. This can be vets, feed store, apartments, retail stores, groomers, restaurants that donate gift cards for fund raising, etc.
- File for approval the first of May annually for the KROGER Neighbor to Neighbor program. Once approved get it out to our partners so they can link their Kroger Plus Shoppers Card to us and we get a percentage of the $1million Kroger gives away. This must be done annually
- Randal’s affinity card has been filed for and we need to get the word out once approved. This is important since Continental Airlines recently quit being one of the partners so anyone who had linked their card to Continental will probably be looking for a new affinity.
- Find a way to promote our cell phone fundraising
- Find ways to promote “Just Give.org”
- Research setting up ACH transfers for donors to be able to make monthly scheduled donations.
- Finish approval process for Better Business Bureau Charity approval.
- Identify opportunities for Funding Grants and/or write grant applications.
- Finish setting up the ability to receive donations from our website through Pay Pal
- Attend networking groups, talk up our group, hand out our business cards and/or brochures. Create speaking opportunities for us to share our mission
- Develop a promotional program to get all of our Friends to talk to their personal veterinarian about donating any dollar amount of in kind services to us each year. If we could get 10 veterinarians to each donate $500 per year in kind that would give us $5000 of veterinarian services for our animals.
- Build a database of all area veterinarians with what (if any) services they offer for adopter’s of our animals, their phone & fax number or email address. Ask if they will allow us to send them our adoptable animal flyers via email or fax.
- Build a database of outlets for press releases, articles, and photos of adoptable animals. It would be good to have their name, phone, fax, and email. You might just submit the photos w/write up and articles and see if they run them or call and get a person’s name, process to submit and deadlines. Publications are always looking for filler and if ours is there they will run it when they have the space. Examples would be South Shore News, News One, Citizen, Green Sheet, Wired In website. We have posted animals to Craig’s List before but you have to be careful here.
- Expand our current database of other animal rescue organizations in our area. That would enable us to invite them to participate in events we were putting on. The more groups represented the bigger the crowds will be. When we did the first boutique sale, with one day notice, Camp Bow Wow and the Great Dane Rescue were able to be there and Great Dane got an adoption out of the event. Several other groups said they wished they could be there but it wasn’t enough notice. It’s easy to get their addresses and websites but a phone number and email address are more difficult. Rescue groups are hit on to take animals so much they want to limit their accessibility. If you contact them and tell them our purpose is to open up opportunities for them they might be willing to give us their information. We might also be able to email them our adoptable dogs and cats in case they know someone looking for something we have or if they are interested in pulling a specific dog from us to their rescue.
- We need an EBay expert. We still have lots of inventory from the Pet Boutique to sell. We might want to sell some items there if someone has some expertise with EBay.
- Chronicle in photos and narrative each of the events we participate in so we can post them to our website.
- Make frequent postings to our Facebook Page
- Identify High Profile community leaders that are animal lovers. (That’s how we got the multipurpose trailer) Track their name and the pet type and pet name. This will enable us to approach them for a style show or other fund raiser.
- Come up with more ideas for us
As you can see there are lots of ways to get involved, the possibilities are endless. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing these loving animals find forever loving homes.
For more information contact Monica Millican c/o PrimeLending at 281-332-2808 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has” -Margaret Mead