Pet Harbor Rescue, P.O. Box 73, Bowling Green, VA 22427

(703) 583-HSKY

Volunteer Guidelines

Pet Harbor & the animals in its care very much appreciate all volunteers. Everyone who works with Pet Harbor is a volunteer. None of us is paid monetarily. Every volunteer is quite special to us. We do, however, have guidelines that must be followed. They are not meant to discourage volunteering. We strongly encourage volunteering! They are meant to make sure the care of our pets is held in the highest standards. We thank you enormously from the bottom of our human, canine, & feline hearts for taking the time to read through all of this paperwork & for considering volunteering with us.

In addition to these guidelines, the rules & policies set forth by the establishments where events are held supersede Pet Harbor’s rules & policies.

Volunteer Application

Volunteers must complete a Pet Harbor volunteer application. The determination of volunteer eligibility rests solely with Pet Harbor. If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by Pet Harbor, please ask a board member the proper appeal process.

Volunteers must complete and sign a Pet Harbor Volunteer Agreement, which does not go into effect until approved by a Pet Harbor board member or its designee. Volunteers under age 18 must have their parent or legal guardian complete and sign the agreement.

Volunteer Age

Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer opportunities are handled and scheduled by Pet Harbor. Before a volunteer can begin volunteering, they must be familiar with Pet Harbor policies and guidelines.

To find out what volunteer opportunities are available, we have an ongoing e-mail listserv! You will be added to it upon receipt of your volunteer application..

Once a training program has been instituted, volunteers must complete the training program to continue volunteering. Until then, you will start by shadowing a Pet Harbor board member or senior volunteer to “learn the ropes.”


Although Pet Harbor has made every possible effort to ensure the animals that come in contact with volunteers are friendly, Pet Harbor makes no warranties of any kind for actions of the animals or costs, expenses, damages, whatsoever in connection with the animal’s conduct.

The business and/or locations where Pet Harbor events are held and Pet Harbor itself and its board of directors and officers are in no way responsible for any accidents or injuries that occur during a Pet Harbor event.


If a volunteer is unable to attend an event to which they have committed, a call should be made to Pet Harbor as soon as possible.

A Pet Harbor board member or representative designated by a Pet Harbor board member will supervise volunteers at events.

Only Pet Harbor’s board of directors makes adoption decisions.

Volunteers will not make any organizational or operational decisions, including, but not limited to, the exchange or acceptance of services, merchandise, facilities, or financial items. All such requests or situations will be referred to a Pet Harbor board member or their designee.

All correspondence on behalf of Pet Harbor will be handled by or preapproved by an officer of Pet Harbor.

Volunteers may have never been charged with cruelty to animals.


Volunteers will keep any information about people giving up dogs, people adopting, people inquiring, and our decisions, such as euthanasia, that they learn in the strictest confidentiality. Any information you learn about adopters, such as telephone numbers or addresses, in the course of your volunteer work will be immediately deleted when the task is complete and never shared with anyone. Posting any such information or photographs on websites, social media, in printed material, or sharing of such information or photographs without express permission from a Pet Harbor officer or designee is prohibited. Confidentiality is vital to our mission, and we will have zero tolerance in this regard.

Volunteers represent Pet Harbor policies and guidelines, even when they conflict with their own personal beliefs or viewpoints. Policies and guidelines expressed while volunteering will be those of Pet Harbor. Personal beliefs that differ from Pet Harbor policies will not be expressed by volunteers during Pet Harbor functions.

All volunteers while volunteering at Pet Harbor events represent the Pet Harbor organization. As such, it is important for us to operate with integrity, honesty, and straightforwardness so that our organization is above board and nothing can be said negatively, including, but not limited to, dealings with potential adopters, employees of stores where adoptions are held, as well as the public and other volunteers. We may disagree, but we do not argue or yell. Also, since we are guests of the business locations where events are held, we will act in a manner that reflects those businesses in a favorable light.


Volunteers will refrain from the use of profanity while representing Pet Harbor.

Volunteers may not bring their personal pets or children to Pet Harbor functions while they are acting in a volunteer capacity.

Please keep areas clean where events are held. For instance, if you have a soda at the table, when you’re done with the soda, remove the empty container and properly dispose of it.


Any Pet Harbor equipment a volunteer borrows must be signed in/out and initialed by a Pet Harbor board member or a designated representative of the board member in charge.

Handling the Animals

Animals shall not be abused in any manner.

Volunteering may include, but is not limited to, walking animals, cleaning up after animals, feeding or watering animals, providing transportation for animals, accepting donations, working at fundraising events, working at educational events, creating signage or educational materials, and/or coordinating Pet Harbor events.

Wear appropriate attire. When choosing your clothing and shoes make sure it’s practical for the task, keeping in mind things like if you are at an adoption event, you may be carrying wire crates, being pulled by dogs, or stepped on by dogs. If doing animal care, old clothing is recommended and arms covered when doing cat care.

A lot of volunteers like to hold dogs. Hey, we all love animals. That’s why we’re here in the first place. But at adoption events, the crates are very important. People think dogs are already adopted if they are not in the crates. There are lots of other reasons. For instance, a bunny rescue did adoptions at Manassas Mall. I doubt they would have appreciated rabbit lunch for Huskies. Also, Pet Harbor is very much in support of the proper use of crates and often insists adopters have a crate. Some people don’t like crates. Again, if this is your personal belief, leave it at home while volunteering. All volunteers at adoption events are expected to promote Pet Harbor policies. If you have any questions about our policies, ask your assigned senior volunteer.

If the dogs in the crates are too loud, squirt bottles are provided for this purpose. A spritz of water in the face usually is enough to stop the barking. Some dogs just see the bottle and stop.

No one but Pet Harbor volunteers and approved adult applicants is allowed to hold the leash. Children are not allowed to hold the pets under any circumstances. If a minor customer wants to see an animal, the adult in charge of the child must be present. Pet Harbor volunteers will hold the animal.

Always put your hand through the leash so that the leash is on your wrist.

Helping Potential Adopters

Volunteers will make sure information they give is accurate information. If a volunteer does not know the answer to a question asked, they are expected to ask a Pet Harbor board member or their designated representative and not assume an answer. We realize that you may not always know what information is accurate. If you don’t, we expect you to ask before giving out information.

Monetary donations should simply be put into the donation jar. Volunteers should always thank the donor any time they see someone putting money in a donation jar or any time someone hands them money to put in the jar. Monetary donations in large amounts require a receipt and should be brought to the attention of a Pet Harbor board member while the donor is still at the site. Anyone asking for a receipt, of course, for any amount of donation will be given one.

Until we have a training manual in place, here are a couple of things to remember. The answer to “Can we take the dog home today?” should be “Our process starts with an application and goes on from there. It takes about a week to process an application. We reserve the right to do a home visit. We start with an application and interview and go from there.” It doesn’t have to be verbatim, but you get the gist.

Another popular question is “How much does it cost?” The appropriate answer is something like “You have to apply to adopt. If you are approved and adopt, as part of the process, there is an adoption fee that can be any amount you want it to be above a certain amount depending on the pet. All of their vet work is completed already.”

A lot of people ask the form of payment. PayPal, cash, or cashier’s or certified checks.

As we think of more things, we’ll add to these guidelines.


Currently the minimum required donation is for:
– dogs, age 6 months to 8 years, $350;
– dogs younger than 6 months of age, $500
– dogs age 9 and up, $100

Good Siberian huskies Deserve Second Chances