Volunteer Policies and Agreements

I understand that Volunteers must be at least 16 years old to volunteer at Friends of Strays.

Friends of Strays Animal Shelter Volunteer Release

I hereby agree to accept a position as a volunteer for Friends of Strays, Inc. (FOS), and in so doing; I agree to comply with all the policies, rules, and regulations, which may be established. I understand failure to do so may result in my termination as a volunteer.

I acknowledge my services are provided strictly on a volunteer basis, without any pay or compensation of any kind, and without any liability of any nature on behalf of FOS, all services to be performed by me at my own risk.

I am aware that in handling animals there exists a risk of injury including personal physical harm. I hereby release, discharge, indemnify and hold harmless FOS, its agents, representatives and employees from any and all claims, causes of actions or demands, of any nature or cause connected with my Volunteer Agreement.

I agree on behalf of my heirs, personal representatives, and executors, to allow FOS to use any photographs taken for use in public relations efforts. I may be notified if a photo is used, but more than likely I will not. I hereby grant the following media release rights and permission to use all photos and/or videos taken of myself and/or family. FOS has the right and permission to take, use, reuse, publish, and republish photographic portraits or pictures of me or any minor who is my child or over which I am guardian.

I waive any right that a minor, which I am the legal guardian, may have to inspect or approve products, advertising copy or printed matter that may be used in connection with such photographs or use as applied. I agree I will not receive any financial compensation. This release is a binding document.


Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization. In whatever manner you choose to volunteer, you are making a positive contribution and difference in the lives of the animals at our shelter. As a volunteer representing Friends of Strays, your conduct and interaction with staff, other volunteers and the public is expected to always be professional and courteous. The Volunteer Code of Ethics clarifies the expectations and principles for Friends of Strays volunteers. In volunteering, you are making a commitment to staff and the animals to carry out, to the best of your abilities, the tasks you have pledged to perform. We thank you on behalf of the stray animals we continue to save and care for on a daily basis. As a Friends of Strays volunteer, I pledge to:


  • Respect others even though I may not agree with them
  • Display courtesy, sensitivity, consideration and compassion for people and animals
  • Use good judgment in recognizing the scope of authority of staff members

Work Safely

  • Keep safety at the forefront of all volunteer activities 
  • Follow the rules presented to me in training 
  • Respect and use equipment and supplies as they are intended 
  • Report all injuries immediately to a staff person

Ensure Quality

  • Perform all tasks to the best of my ability 
  • Ask for help when needed
  • Recognize training is essential to maintain safe shelter practices

Be Self-Disciplined

  • Recognize my limitations and those of others
  • Set boundaries for myself—know my limits with the animals and other activities
  • Hold myself accountable for the commitments I undertake


  • Recognize I communicate both verbally and non-verbally
  • Listen to the needs of others 
  • Advise shelter personnel of relevant information regarding the animals and my involvement at the shelter


  • Recognize true commitment comes from within
  • Respect that people and animals count on me to honor my commitments
  • Work together with staff and other volunteers to meet Friends of Strays goals Ensure the Welfare of the Organization
  • Value my role in the maintenance and growth of the organization
  • Strive to promote a positive environment
  • Respect and support all people and animals 


Friends of Strays Workplace Culture Agreement

We are drawn to work and volunteer at FOS because of its mission to help animals in our community. While we spend our time to get together doing this work, we can choose to create a humane and healthy workplace for ourselves.

Support a united FOS

  • Honor and respect differences among staff and volunteers
  • Minimize inter-department competition 
  • Practice “we” thinking 
  • Seek to understand different needs of the departments 
  • We are all responsible for the whole 
  • Include, rather than exclude

Embrace diversity and practice open-mindedness

  • Expect differences 
  • Different is not wrong 
  • Look for the contribution that each person is trying to make to help the animals 
  • See commonalities and seek to understand differences 
  • Disagreements are not necessarily a hindrance; they can keep us dynamic

Practice open, direct, prompt communications

  • Take a stand to stop gossip 
  • Practice proactive listening and seek to understand 
  • Deliver and receive complaints, suggestions and other communications responsibly 
  • Hear someone out before responding
  • Take time to check for understanding before proceeding
  • Practice honesty 

Deal with conflict responsibly  

  • Be active in resolving conflicts 
  • Show respect—keep your voice calm and your language clean 
  • Promote healthy conflict—view it as an opportunity to explore differences and increase understanding 
  • Opinions are subjective—respect other people’s right to their own perspective

Promote trust 

  • Everyone takes responsibility for themselves in continuing to build trust and is accountable for their actions 
  • Commit to working towards a healthier future  
  • Trust that everyone at FOS is making decisions for the animals in good faith. Or simply ask if you have any questions

Address problems proactively and constructively 

  • Treat complaints, suggestions and ideas with respect 
  • Take responsibility to bring issues needing attention to someone who can take action 
  • Think constructively, look for solutions
  • Encourage people to work things out between themselves 
  • Give up the grudges

Demonstrate respect •

  • Respect people’s right to different opinions 
  • Respect decisions that are made 
  • Respect the right to disagree 
  • Extend compassion to your coworkers 
  • Practice courtesy and consideration of others 

Acknowledge feelings and the emotional aspects of our work 

  • Recognize the importance of having a sense of humor—lighten up 
  • Identify healthy ways to reduce or release stress—ask for help if you need it 
  • Find ways appropriate to the setting to express sadness, grief and anger when those feelings arise 
  • Respect others’ response to emotions, help them find creative and appropriate outlets to express their feelings 
  • Keep things in perspective, help yourself and others maintain a positive outlook 
  • Have fun!

Create and maintain a safe workplace 

  • Find safe ways to accomplish your task 
  • Commit to following safety procedures even when you’re in a hurry 
  • Know your limitations and seek out others to help when needed 
  • Bring safety concerns to the attention of shelter staff


Volunteer Guidelines

Dress Code: Wear clothing that can get dirty, damaged or furry. No dangling jewelry, which can become snagged and be a hazard. Closed toed shoes, long pants and shirts with sleeves are required when volunteering in the shelter.

Personal Presentation/Hygiene: Remember that anytime you volunteer where any members of the general public are present, whether at the shelter, or at events, you are representing Friends of Strays. Please dress and conduct yourself accordingly. All volunteers must adhere to good personal hygiene habits.

Name Tags: Volunteers must wear name tags at all times when volunteering.

Volunteer T-Shirts: T-Shirts can be purchased at the shelter for $10.00

Parking: During the hours the adoption center is open, please park on the sides or back of the shelter, leaving front spaces for adopters. On weekends, you can park behind the Wrightway building next door to the shelter. Do Not park across the street in front of the gray building that appears to be vacant. You will be towed.

Volunteer and Animal Safety: Use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after handling cats and dogs. Also be sure to hand sanitize between contact with each cat or dog. Use gloves when cleaning cages, using cleaners, and/or cleaning up any excrement. Any accident or incident, whether involving an animal or not, must be reported to a staff member immediately and a report of injury must be completed. Never handle an animal whose disposition may be questionable. Your safety comes first. Always observe cage cards regarding handling and feeding requirements. If you observe a safety hazard at the shelter, please notify a staff member immediately. Respect all signage, especially “Staff Only” areas and cages. This is for your protection as well as the animals’. Check out the feline communication course at http://www.maddiesfund.org/felinecommunication-how-to-speak-cat.htm

Other: Anytime the adoption center is closed, please enter and exit through the back double doors.

I understand that any unauthorized release or carelessness in the handling of confidential information is considered a breach of duty and could be grounds for immediate dismissal and/or possibly liability in any legal action arising from such breach.

I understand that Friends of Strays, Inc., reserves the right to terminate my volunteer status at any time for providing false information, or non-compliance with the Code of Ethics.


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