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pets for patriots volunteer handbook

MESSAGE from our founder

Thank you for your interest to become a Pets for Patriots volunteer, to work with us to give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to the people we serve and the pets we save. Every year, approximately four million cats and dogs are needlessly killed, simply because no one wants them. The vast majority are what we call “at-risk” or “last-chance” pets: adult dogs and cats, large dogs and animals with special needs. Most of these animals make wonderful companions, but were neglected, abused or surrendered by families who could or would no longer care for them. At the same time, millions of service and veteran members of the U.S. military long for the love and friendship that only a companion pet can provide. In founding Pets for Patriots, I realized that in the simple act of adoption we could address the needs of both the noblest and the neediest in our society. Please join us! Best,

Beth Zimmerman | founder, executive director & CEO 2


what we do Pets for Patriots connects adult and other at-risk shelter dogs and cats with service and veteran members of the United States military. To make pet ownership achievable and affordable, we provide access to ongoing, reduced cost veterinary care within our veterans’ communities and provide direct financial support towards the purchase of pet food, toys, supplies and other basics.


who we are ★

OUR VISION: to end animal homelessness by supporting the permanent placement of adult and at-risk dogs and cats with every available, able and willing military family in the United States.

OUR MISSION: to consistently give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and person.

OUR DIFFERENCE: our focus on pairing adult and at-risk pets with U.S. military members, at any stage or station in their lives and from all armed forces.


our values ★

FIDELITY: we are loyal to our mission, to those we serve and save, to all whose contributions make our work possible and to one another.

HONOR: we act in ways that reflect the sacred trust that is our mission, with the highest moral and ethical standards as our guide.

RESPECT: all individuals, human and animal, are treated with dignity - without exception.

JOY: not only do we create joyous bonds between pets and people, but we take great joy in everything we do.




We love our volunteers! Some participate on a one-time basis, while others play a critical role in our ongoing operations. All are valuable to our mission and our work.

Many of our opportunities are “virtual,” meaning that you do not have to report to a specific Pets for Patriots location to perform your role. In most cases, however, need access to your own computer and a reliable internet connection.

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Senior citizens, minors and veterans are encouraged to join our cause. Volunteer positions are open to all individuals who meet the qualifications for each position regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, national origin, age, veteran status or condition of disability.

qualities we seek ★

SERVICE ORIENTED: You are motivated by a desire to serve and enhance the lives of

others, and honor the commitments you make in support of our cause. ★ RESPECTFUL: You treat all you encounter with dignity, be they person or animal. ★ ★ ★

KNOWLEDGEABLE: You are well-informed about the organization’s activities in general, and about your area of work in particular. OPEN: You are a good communicator and listener. RESOURCEFUL: You are able to get the job done and, when needed, improvise

appropriately in support of the organization’s mission and goals. ★ TEAM PLAYER: You work well with others, whether they are near or ‘virtual.’ ★ ★

ENTHUSIASTIC: You bring a high level of energy to your volunteer work. PATRIOTIC: You have a love of country and convey that patriotism in your work for the organization.


placement process ★

VOLUNTEER INTEREST FORM: This form is designed to identify your unique skills, interests and goals for volunteering with Pets for Patriots, as well as provide us with important contact information. You may be asked to interview with a volunteer coordinator or member of the organization’s leadership team prior to receiving your volunteer placement. You may be required to undergo a background check. You can fill out the form online in less than 10 minutes.

ORIENTATION & TRAINING: Some positions may require a simple orientation and/or indepth training about our processes and procedures. If relevant, these will be discussed with you

during the placement process. ★ CODE OF CONDUCT: Volunteers should understand the Standards of Conduct, Rights & Responsibilities and Management by Values, all of which follow in this handbook.



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MISSION & VALUES FIRST: Pets for Patriots’ mission and values guide all behavior and decision-making. CONFIDENTIALITY: Volunteers are required to respect the confidentiality of their positions and any confidential information to which they may have access by virtue of their positions as Pets for Patriots volunteers. GIFTS, FEES & GRATUITIES: Volunteers may not accept any gifts, fees or gratuities for themselves, or for any member of their family or household in connection with their Pets for Patriots service other than officially sanctioned recognized gifts from Pets for Patriots. FINANCIAL BENEFIT: Volunteers, including immediate family or household members, must not benefit financially or commercially as a result of the volunteer’s status with Pets for Patriots. REPRESENTING PETS FOR PATRIOTS: Volunteers may not represent or obligate Pets for Patriots either through written or oral communications without the express written consent of the organization, including communications with the media. Volunteers must uphold the organization’s values and be mindful of how they represent Pets for Patriots via the internet, social networking and other forms of public interaction.


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PETS FOR PATRIOTS BRAND: Volunteers have an obligation to protect the Pets for Patriots brand and may not use the Pets for Patriots name, logo, endorsement, services or property for their personal advantage or for the advantage of others without the express written consent of Pets for Patriots. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: Volunteers are required to immediately disclose to Pets for Patriots any actual or apparent personal or financial interests that may be inconsistent with the organizations’ best interests. RESPECTFUL RESOLUTION OF CONCERNS: Volunteers will work respectfully with others and give suggestions, improve processes, promote ethical conducts and report unsafe, unacceptable or illegal practices without fear of reprisal.

as a volunteer, it is my right: ★ ★

To have an assignment or role that is worthwhile and challenging. To receive the necessary orientation, training, direction and/or supervision needed to do an

excellent job. ★ To feel valued for my efforts and contributions to the Pets for Patriots mission. ★ ★ ★ ★

To receive feedback on the volunteer work that I perform. To be treated with respect and as a valuable part of the organization. To be trusted with the information I need to carry out my assignment. To be kept informed about relevant matters within the organization.

To ask questions that will clarify a task, assignment or role and enable me to perform to my best abilities.

To provide Pets for Patriots with input or advice on how to provide better service, improve processes or procedures or build a stronger volunteer program.


as a volunteer, IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY: ★

To work honestly and diligently to fulfill the responsibilities that I have accepted and not take

on more than I can handle. ★ To meet time commitments or to provide ample notice if I am unable to do so. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

To perform the duties, tasks or roles assigned to me to the best of my ability. To provide input on how my duties might be better performed. To follow all policies of the organization. To respect and uphold the confidences entrusted to me. To be open-minded and respectful towards others, and towards opinions or ideas shared with

me. ★ To address any problems promptly and in a respectful, professional manner. ★


To fulfill my duties according to the Pets for Patriots values and to respect the final decisions of Pets for Patriots in any and all matters.


ACTION BY VALUES It is not possible or desirable to list all the rules that might cover any given situation in which you might find yourself as a Pets for Patriots volunteer. When in doubt, our values will guide you about how to think, act and deliver in ways that are consistent with who we are as an organization.




Educating others about the plight of adult and at-risk shelter pets, and why we work to place them in permanent homes with veterans. Being attentive at all times to the needs of our member patriots and member patriot applicants.

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Supporting one another, whether the other is a volunteer, supervisor or member of the organization’s management. Being able to communicate the Pets for Patriots mission to those we encounter.



Saying to each veteran, “Thank you for your service,” whether that encounter is in-person, on the phone or via email.

Never asking a veteran details of his or her service, or about physical or emotional injuries they may have. Many veterans struggle with painful memories of their experiences years or decades after their tours of duty.

Making appropriate amends if we have delivered less than the highest standards of excellence in service or experience.



Saying “please” and “thank you,” regardless of whom we are dealing with and whether or not they exhibit similar courtesy.

Giving others our undivided attention.

Understanding that not all of our applicants and have access to or proficiency with technology, and being patient with them.with technology.

that person’s best friend, and a living thing deserving of our


empathy. ★


Recognizing that every dog or cat adopted by a veteran is

Answering a question cheerfully no matter how many times you heard it before.


Smiling when you are dealing with others, whether in person, on the phone, via email or social media. People can “see” you smiling, even if they’re not with you.

Share with others when you’ve helped a particular veteran or pet in need.



Always saying “please” and “thank you,” even if the kindness is not returned.

Taking joy in the knowledge that your efforts have real impact in the lives of both pet and person.

Ready to enlist? ★

Visit us online at

Apply to become a Pets for Patriots volunteer

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Questions? Email us at or call 877-4-PETCADET (877-473-8223) Help us Bring Loyalty HomeTM


Pets for Patriots Volunteer Handbook  

Pets for Patriots Volunteer Handbook

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