As a volunteer for DVGRR, we ask that you:
- Take total responsibility for communicating your thoughts and ideas to your team members
- Help the team stay focused on the objectives
- Participate to the best of your ability
- Stay open-minded to new ideas
- Not only let others contribute, but encourage them to contribute
- Share your ideas
- Attend ALL meetings (on time)
- Consciously try to stay positive
- Do your best to simplify our complex problems
- Fully support all team decisions
Becoming a volunteer requires you to read and agree to our Volunteer Terms and Conditions, Confidentiality Agreement, and review DVGRR’s Position on Euthanasia and our Volunteer Handbook as well as complete a Volunteer Application. Below you will find brief descriptions of our major volunteer opportunities. Have a new idea or suggestion? Let us know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Project Home Life Team
- Monthly Open House Team
- Transportation Team
- Fundraising Events Team
- Golden Gala Team
- Dog Walking Team
- Campus/Grounds Maintenance
- Playtime Volunteer
- Nose Work Volunteer
DVGRR has significant expertise in the area of rehabilitating and re-homing Goldens, Doodles, Labs, and dogs with “hearts of Gold” that have been used as breeding stock at mass breeding facilities, commonly known as puppy mills.
As our experience with puppy mill breeder dogs grew, and as the number of such dogs surrendered to rescue increased, we realized there was a need for a transitional step between our facility and the dog’s new home.
In 2009, we conceived and implemented Project Home Life (PHL), an innovative volunteer-based program designed to help acclimate puppy mill breeder dogs to the typical sights, sounds, and experiences of a home setting. In 2019, we expanded the kennel to include additional space for our PHL program.
Volunteers in this program work in The Lynne Glennon Sanctuary for Senior Dogs and Puppy Mill Survivors or in the main kennel, carrying out specific tasks developed for each dog by the Project Home Life Manager.
These tasks may include:
- Helping dogs get comfortable with humans close by
- Encouraging dogs to take treats from human hands
- Helping dogs accept petting and touching
- Walking on a leash
Because puppy mill breeder dogs have such stunted backgrounds, helping them with these seemingly simple tasks requires great patience and compassion, thus the name “Compassionate Caregiver” evolved for the volunteers on this team.
Initial classroom training and ongoing support are provided.
On the second Saturday of every month, we hold our popular Monthly Open House. These events provide an opportunity for prospective adopters and the general public to meet the available dogs in our program and see our facility in person.
Planning and holding these events depends heavily on volunteer support! Team members enjoy being part of helping showcase the dogs and directly impacting their chances for a great adoption. There is no set requirement for how often you must attend; some volunteers come every month, others are only available occasionally. We appreciate whatever time you can provide.
To participate in one of these events, you’ll need to be available from approximately 9:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. that day. Monthly Open House events are held in the Thomas and Marian Adoption & Activity Center, so we’re primarily in an indoor setting.
Volunteer tasks may include:
- Greeting and directing guests to parking
- Assisting with event set-up and clean-up
- Staffing registration, donation, and information stations
- Handling DVGRR dogs available for people to meet
- Monitoring exercise rotation of DVGRR dogs being shown
We strongly encourage relinquishing owners to transport their dog(s) to us at the time of surrender. However, sometimes the owners are unable or unwilling to bring their dogs to our facility. In these cases, our Transportation Team volunteers step in to help. Transportation Team volunteers also help transport dogs that are coming to us from shelters throughout our footprint, local farms/breeders, or those flown from greater distances.
As a volunteer on this team, you may bring in a dog from relatively close by or from a distance away. In some cases, we use a “relay team” so that no one volunteer has to drive too far. For trips with multiple dogs or involving a drive of more than 3 hours, we generally send a team of two volunteers.
Tasks may include:
- Picking up a dog from a private owner, breeder, airport, or from a shelter. The majority of time, you would be using one of the DVGRR vans. Some of our Transport volunteers are willing to use their own vehicles for transport. We can loan you a crate for that if needed.
- Ensuring that all necessary paperwork accompanies the dog to DVGRR
- Helping the dog feel comfortable during the trip to Golden Gateway.
- Making sure the dog is always safely restrained with a slip lead when being taken in and out of the vehicle
Note that for everyone’s safety and health, family pets and non-DVGRR volunteers, including children, are not allowed on transportation runs.
Our transport volunteers typically form some initial impressions of the dog during the trip, and your observations can be very helpful to our staff. Even though the time you spend with the dog is limited, you’ll undoubtedly find that the experience leaves you with the very rewarding sense that you’ve made an important contribution to the dog’s new life… because you have!
When applying as a Transportation Team volunteer, we ask that you read and understand the Transportation Team Terms and Conditions in addition to the general volunteer Terms and Conditions.
DVGRR holds many fundraising events throughout each year. We rely solely on donor support and our fundraising efforts to offer the high level of care we provide to the dogs at Golden Gateway. Volunteers are needed to work with our Events Manager to plan and staff these events. You can be involved with as many or as few as you would like and do so around what works best for your schedule. Requests for volunteer help are sent to approved volunteers via emails.
Some events you may be asked to help at include our Easter Egg Hunt or Spring Fling, Annual DVGRR Reunion, Bingo, and other on-site events. We rarely attend dog event off campus, but from time to time, we may attend other dog-themed events and will need volunteers to help with those. We send recruitment emails to volunteers when fundraising event help is needed.
Since the first fun-filled Golden Gala in 2002, this event has become the premier fundraising effort for DVGRR and grows in popularity every year. We shed our sneakers and jeans, wash off the mud (but not the dog hair), and dress up for a great night with friends and fellow Golden and “Golden-hearted” dog lovers. If you think this event is “too fancy” for you to be involved, you’re wrong!
We have a great time, enjoy a fabulous buffet and cocktails, bid on wonderful auction items, see adopters and co-volunteers, and always have a hard time leaving at the end of the night.
Naturally, we take some of our program dogs to the Gala. You can imagine the attention and petting they receive, not to mention a few surreptitiously slipped hors d’oeuvres as well!
The Gala Team meets regularly for planning purposes throughout the year.
Tasks may include:
- Planning and organizing the event
- Soliciting auction items
- Gathering and/or making decorations
- Greeting guests at the event
- Assisting with auction check-out
The heaviest activity for this team is often two to three days before the event. If you are a good organizer and/or persuasive when it comes to asking for donations, serving on the Gala team may be a great fit for you!
At Golden Gateway, our dogs get plenty of exercise and human interaction. This factors into improving their socialization skills and getting them into their adoptive homes quickly and successfully. We rely on our Dog Walking Team to help with this important part of daily life at Golden Gateway. Every day, our dog walkers take dogs on a stroll around the perimeter of the Golden Gateway campus.
The Kennel Manager and staff determine which dogs will walk with our volunteers, and volunteers will walk several dogs each shift. The path can be muddy or snowy. It is a mix of grass, mulch, and screenings, so it is not handicap accessible. Some of the dogs may not have the best leash manners. Dog walkers must be able to walk on the terrain and handle unruly dogs. Once you are an approved volunteer, you will be sent a calendar to sign up for dog walking shifts. We only allow two dog walking volunteers per shift, so when signing up via our online calendar, please respect that.
Dog walking shifts are seven days a week:
- 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
- 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
- All weather conditions (except for extreme hot/cold or deep snow or icy conditions; walkers are notified in advance of cancellation)
- Training occurs on-site during volunteer’s first scheduled walk
With a five-plus-acre campus, there is never a shortage of grounds maintenance that needs to be done. Tasks include weeding, mowing, leaf raking, power washing, and other miscellaneous tasks to keep the property safe for dogs, staff, and volunteers as well as looking as nice as possible for our visitors.
Most Campus/Grounds Maintenance volunteers will ask if there are any jobs that need to be done when they are here for other activities, such as dog walking. If we have any large jobs, we send an email blast to solicit help.
Playtimes are engaging and so much fun for the dogs and humans at DVGRR. Volunteering for playtimes is a huge benefit as it allows the dogs to spend more time outside burning some energy. As a volunteer working with the dogs, you will be able to provide extremely helpful feedback that will be beneficial in finding adoptive homes for the dogs as you learn their personalities, the toys they like, how they interact with you, etc.
The dogs at DVGRR go out for exercise during the morning and the evening shift. We are looking for volunteers who are eager to spend time in the yard throwing tennis balls, running around, and giving the dogs plenty of love! Playtime can consist of one single dog or a group of two or more. Our playtime schedule runs from 9 AM- 12 Noon and then again from 6-8:00 PM with the flexibility to leave early if needed. Playtimes occur in all weather conditions (except for extreme hot/cold or deep snow or icy conditions).Training sessions will be available. Once you are an approved volunteer, you will be sent a calendar to sign up for playtime shifts. We only allow two playtime volunteers per shift, so when signing up via our online calendar, please respect that.
Looking for a new way to interact with the DVGRR dogs and build new bonds? Sign up to volunteer for nose work sessions! This is a great way to spend time helping the dogs build confidence and learn new skills. Beginning with an orientation class, volunteers will handle DVGRR dogs during nose work practice sessions. Dogs from the kennel and the Sanctuary are included. Benefits include physical activity, mental stimulation, and confidence building for both the dog and the handler. Nose work is a great way to build relationships with the DVGRR dogs and is great for all dogs, no matter their age. It gives them another way to view the world. It is mentally and physically stimulating, which helps burn energy in the dogs. (Specific questions about nose work? Contact Matt Woodard Matt.K9nosenaround@gmail.com)