Volunteer Guidelines

Animals at ARK

The animals at ARK include those who have been abandoned, given up, or abused. Many have had bad experiences. Our aim is to rehabilitate these animals, both physically and mentally while finding them caring and loving homes.

Approaching Dogs

Approach all dogs quietly while crouching and putting out a clenched hand for them to sniff. Let the dog come to you, not the other way around. When the dog comes, touch it gently on the lower neck or chest area. Do not stand and pat the dog's head roughly from above. Dogs also dislike having their hind legs and tails touched. Proceed with caution when introducing your self for the first time.

Exercise

Before walking the dog, check to see if the collar/harness is fitted correctly (too loose/too tight?) and also make sure there is a tag with ARK’s telephone number on the collar.

During extreme weather (heavy rain/thunderstorms) don’t walk, wait for the storm to ease. Old dogs are especially vulnerable and can get chills when wet, so make sure they wear raincoats. Dry all dogs with towels if they get wet.

Health Checks

The health of dogs may be checked, by observing the feces (normal/soft/diarrhea/bloody) and also the body posture (is the dog alert? is it walking normally? is it reluctant to move?) Please tell the staff if you see any problems.

Cats

Although we don't walk cats like we do dogs, cats need the same amount of socialization and encouragement to be friendly. Take time when you are cleaning the cat house to talk to them and handle them. If time allows they need brushing, as well as having their ears and claws checked.

Safety

It is important to pay attention to the safety of both animals and people, and to prevent injury to either. (People who get injured can cause trouble and inconvenience to others).

To insure safety we need to: Make sure all gates and cages are securely shut, including main gates around the site. Note if gate latches/fences are broken, or if there is anything dangerous that might cause injury to people or dogs/cats.

Make sure harnesses and collars fit properly. Use double leads on new dogs (one on harness, one on collar) for at least two weeks. (Volunteers should not walk new dogs and they should always ask a member of the staff which dogs are OK to walk). Walk only the number of dogs you can handle.

Fighting Dogs

To prevent dogs from fighting get your dog's attention when meeting other dogs on walks and by watching dogs when they eat (remember which dogs are food possessive/toy possessive). When dogs are fighting never try to separate them with your bare hands. Throw a bucket of water.

When an animal runs away

If an animal gets out of its pen, please do not chase after it. Call for a staff member immediately.

Equipment Maintenance

ARK receives all its funding from donations. Make sure that tools and equipment are put back in their proper place and not left lying around. Please take care of the equipment to help us reduce costs.

Euthanasia

Sometimes we have to euthanize animals for the following reasons:

  • Illnesses that cause an animal suffering and pain.
  • Illnesses where there is no hope of recovery.
  • Severe injury where quality of life is affected.
  • When an animal is deemed dangerous to other animals and to people.

All decisions regarding euthanasia are made by the Director of ARK based on advice from the vets dealing directly with the case.

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A Home of Their Own: The Heart-warming 150-year History of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

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