Susan Russell, volunteer dog walker
I'm a lover of all things furred and four-legged, but homeless dogs have a very special place in my heart and my volunteering commitment. Famous Fido has pulled a number of animals from the City shelter who didn't have a lot of time before their time was up. When these animals go into boarding at Famous Fido, sometimes it can take a long time for them -- especially the pit bull mixes -- to find the right home. Exercising, training and spending time with the dogs is incredibly important to their well-being while they wait. I focus on the large dogs because they like to run, and I like to run. So it's a pretty good deal. I encourage every animal lover who has a couple of hours a week to pick up a leash and spend some time at a rescue.
Famous Fido Rescue is a 501(c)3 organization that focuses on saving animals from euthanasia shelters and finding them their right homes. We advocate a “No Kill” philosophy and educate Chicago-ans against animal abandonment. We hope to spread this message and form a strong alliance for animals in need. Famous Fido Rescue has already saved over 800 animals. Because we are not government funded, we have to rely on donations and volunteers to keep saving the animals. It is time consuming and expensive to keep the rescue functional and keep the animals happy and healthy. We are in need of many dedicated, animal-loving volunteers. If you think you may have something to contribute to the rescue - whether it be a skill, connections, funding, or just some extra time - we could use here!
These are some of the categories of volunteers that we need to make 2014 the best year yet! Famous Fido Rescue has big plans for the future, but we need your help to keep doing what we are doing.
Volunteers make up the bulk of our workforce. We couldn’t exist without them and we always need more. Volunteering takes place during business hours: Mon–Sat 9am–7pm.
Could you help in any of the following areas?
Cleaners & Feeders Requires cleaning cages, cleaning the yard, lining cages with fresh towels and preparing dog food for feeding. Again, this job is so important to keeping our dogs in good health and ensuring they have clean, sanitary living conditions
Requires people to come to the rescue and spend time one-on-one with a dog. The rescue environment can be stressful for a dog and regular sessions can ensure that the dog remains adequately socialized. You will be asked to stroke the dog, give them treats and talk to them. We especially need this for our senior dogs that need a little, extra, gentle care and attention to get them through their stay.
Dog & Cat Advocates. Each of our animals needs an advocate, someone to be a friend to them and give them a voice. They need someone to talk about them and advertise their availability. This advocate may set up a Facebook page and regularly upload photos of their animal and short messages about their progress. They may tell their friends, family and neighbors that this great animal is up for adoption. Every time someone shares a rescue animal’s story (online or by word of mouth), their chances of being adopted increase.
We require cautious drivers, prepared to transport our rescue animals to various locations, such as trips to the vet or to our photographer to have their photo taken. These trips would require the driver to wait with the dog, escort them during their appointment and return them to the rescue. Our larger dogs, such as our Pitbulls, may need to be transported to Found for daycare and training. This would require you to have some experience handling these breeds.
Our walkers need to be extra vigilant with our rescue dogs. For their safety and the safety of the public, they must be kept away from other dogs and people on the street. They must be watched carefully to ensure they do not eat anything found on the street. Leashes must be held securely to avoid being lost. We often have very little knowledge of their previous backgrounds. Many will not come back when called and many will not have any street smarts. Our rescue is in an area that is constantly busy with traffic. Dogs must always be walked with martingale collars and on a double-leash. These precautions prevent fatal accidents.
Required to take an allocated dog to training classes. These dogs often need to be rehabilitated. They are desperate to play and spend some time with someone who will give them a little one-on-one attention. These classes are incredibly rewarding for thedog and the trainer. They can increase the dog’s chances of being adequately socialized, making all the difference to a successful adoption.
Required to organize regular adoption events. These allow potential adopters to meet several animals on one day. This would include finding a venue (this may simply be at the rescue space itself), arranging volunteers to staff the event, providing refreshments to create a welcoming environment and advertising the event to get as many potential adopters there as possible.
Required to schedule appointments for people to come and meet the animals and make appointments for adoption interviews. These meetings may be held at the rescue or at other venues depending on the venue’s suitability to the animal e.g. cats are not held onsite but in foster homes. Some dogs may appreciate a calmer environment to meet their potential adopter, such as a quiet park.
Required to perform checks on the homes of potential fosters or adopters. This would include ensuring suitability for the animal and identifying possible dangers in the home, such as cleaning products or plants within reach of the animal, unfenced yards or possible escape routes.
Requires someone to wash and dry our towels and bedding twice a week. Our animals must be kept in clean, sanitary conditions to ensure they stay healthy and happy. Clean towels and bedding are essential for this.
We share space with Ruff N' Stuff Pet store. We must maintain a professional appearance. This includes occasional painting, fixing basic issues with the kennels, putting up shelves, setting up/tearing down decorations for certain occasions, and general maintenance.
Fundraising Coordinators – PAID ROLE-COMMISSION BASEDWill be responsible for setting up fundraising events on a monthly basis. At the moment, we are not hosting enough of these and we are missing out on essential revenue through lack of resources. Previous successes have included
• Marty’s Martini Bar held a ‘Martinis for Mutts’ fundraiser where we were ableto raise awareness for our cause. [Enter $] from every martini went to Famous Fido.
• Hamburger Mary’s held a ‘Hambingo!’ fundraiser for us with a percentage of the profits from the bingo cards going to Famous Fido.
This role would include coordinating special events, mailings, research, brochure development, flyer distribution, set up, tear down, decorating and event promotion.
We would be willing to make this a paid role, where the coordinator would receive a percentage of the profits made from the fundraiser.
Requires someone to collate news and information about the rescue on a monthly basis and write this information up into an engaging newsletter. The newsletter will be mailed out at the beginning of every month.
Requires keeping our website up to date with changing information on the animals and our campaigns. New animals arriving into the rescue must have their photos and information uploaded as soon as possible in an attempt to minimize their time at the rescue.
Requires someone to network with other dog/cat/rescue pages and increase the number of people following our page. Our Facebook page should be updated daily with photos of our animals and relevant news, to keep our followers engaged and involved. This is an amazing free networking resource and must be fully utilized.
We will be running a blog called ‘The Chewstick’ written from the point of view of one of our founder’s resident dogs, Chewy! The blog will be filled with news about what’s happening at the rescue, the No-Kill Advocacy program, new animals received at the rescue and their stories.
Requires someone to take information from our newsletter, Facebook page and blog and tweet on a consistently, regular basis. We would also like relevant news from other rescues and animal welfare issues in the press, that would be of interest to our followers to be tweeted.
We require an experienced writer specifically to apply for grants for the rescue. Theseare an invaluable source of funding and publicity for us. There are grants available for many kinds of assistance, such as funding for animal advocacy campaigns, vet bills, housing, rehoming campaigns and our No-Kill Advocacy Center. These are all up for grabs; we just need a convincing grant writer to show that we deserve them.
We require an experienced, committed publicist to help us get our mission and message to the people that need to hear it. With a focus on our rescue work and our campaigns, including the No-Kill campaign, we simply need more exposure.
We require administrators to manage our mailing lists and organizing our animal database. Our animal’s files must be kept up to date and organized to ensure that their histories and medical records are accurately recorded. These must be maintained to ensure that we update their vaccinations in due time.
Required to keep track of monies coming into and out of the rescue and also, monitor what each amount is being spent on. We require help creating our profit/loss statements so that these can be passed to our accountant for the professional preparation of tax statements.
Thank you for your interest in helping save the lives of shelter animals. With out you we can’t bring our campaign forward. With volunteers like you and others we can meet the challenge.
The dogs we take in are mostly from shelters. The dogs were abandoned or abused by their families‚ or have been picked up by animal control and are going to be euthanized.
We offer a place were the dogs can feel safe and maintain human contact until they are adopted.
There are many ways you can help save animal and be involved in our life saving campaigns. Work with our FFRAA dogs, fund raising, special events, help promote campaigns see below to learn more.