* Paperwork is your friend and it can prevent problems if things don't work out as planned in the future.
* Have a signed relinquish form and a receiving/intake form for each animal.
* Have a very clear foster or adoption application, foster or adoption contract
* Make sure each party signs all necessary forms.
*Request a current copy of the Source organizationís State License or a copy of their 501c3 status and check to see they are in good standing. Create a file for each organization you work with.
* Ask for references from other groups they have worked with.
* Interview your partner shelters or rescue groups:
*Ask about their adoption and euthanasia policies. Share what yours are.
*What are their vaccination protocols.
*Be sure youíre comfortable with their policies and procedures.
*Ask questions regarding what facilities they have for housing - do they have kennels/cages or are they foster based, for example.
*How many animals do they have in their programs.
*Ask where they obtain their animals from, what are their intake policies.
* Try to have a regular contact person to work with and build a rapport with.
* Visit your partners if possible.
* Ask a lot of questions and try to get as much information about the animals you may be transferring to your organization. Are there health or behavioral issues that you can or cannot accommodate? Be realistic about what you can handle.
* Some shelters do not conduct any kind of temperament/behavior test. You might need your own test, and a plan of what to do if the dogs you take do not meet your adoptability requirements.
* Establish a pick up and receiving time and stick to it as best as possible.
* Ask what the transporter needs to bring - collar, leash, carriers, for example.
If there is a nervous animal, ask if the shelterís staff may load the animal.
*Animal controls and shelters are typically contacting numerous rescue groups so just because you offer to take an animal doesnít necessarily mean that animal will come to your group. None the less, if you do offer to take an animal make sure you can follow through on your commitment (i.e. have a foster home in place, be ready financially, etc).
*Always have a back-up plan. It never hurts to have two potential fosters for every animal. Things WILL fall through with fosters, adopters, transporters, etc.
*It is very important to build a relationship with a vet/practice. Some vets will negotiate a certain percentage off services for your rescue or shelter promoting them to new adopters.
*For dog rescues, try to build a relationship with a boarding facility. You will have foster homes fall through, awesome foster homes that go on vacation for a few days, and circumstances you would never anticipate. Make sure you have a boarding facility for these dogs to go to. Of course, rescues can use any boarding facility, but if you can find one that will board for free or at a discount then it will be a huge financial help.
*Look into what your liability issues and responsibilities include. If financially realistic, get liability insurance.
*If you are a newer rescue or shelter, set boundaries with friends, family members, coworkers, etc. Once people know you work in animal rescue, requests for help will come out of the woodwork. If you only intake from animal controls and shelters then so be itÖdo not let friends, family, etc take advantage of you or make you feel guilty. You can always educate and offer solutions, but that solution may not always be for your rescue to intake the animal.