Be a Volunteer
How You Help
Compassion & Care
The passion of our volunteers is at the center of all our work. Whether you're helping out with an event, helping walk dogs, or contributing to a community program, at the end of the day you're making an impact in the lives of vulnerable animals who need a hand.
To become a volunteer, please review the opportunities below, then submit an application. If you have questions or would like more information about volunteer opportunities, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator (click here to reach out).
Be Part of Our Work
Volunteers play a role in every phase of our operation, and play an integral role in supporting the pets in our care. Your passion increases our impact, sparks success, and helps us save more lives.
Help at Our Intake Facility
Fetching Tails operates a small intake facility located in Wood Dale, IL. We hold up to seven dogs at our facility, and we are there to care for dogs throughout the day.
Volunteers play an important role in keeping our dogs active and out of their cages., and helping them manage their activity with enrichment toys, walks, and playtime in our indoor park. We also have a field trip program, where we encourage our volunteers to take our dogs out of our facility, and on different adventures.
We always need help getting dogs to vet appointments and to and from their foster home! Giving a dog a lift is an easy and important way to be of service.
Marketing & Graphic Support
Do you have experience in marketing or design? If so, consider helping us create marketing materials! We can often use help with a range of projects - from brochures to signs and even apparel. And we always appreciate volunteers who are willing to help us get the word out.
Our grant team sometimes needs help researching and developing new opportunities. If you want to expand your writing skills, or have experience in research and development, we'd love to hear from you.
We're always looking for dog groomers, canine swimming classes, positive reinforcement trainers, and daycare facilities to work with. If you are interested and able to help, please contact Kristina! Kristina@fetchingtailsfoundation.org
Volunteer fundraisers are at the center of our work. If you'd like to host a fundraiser on our behalf or contribute to an existing effort, please contact our Executive Director, Kristen Gottschalk.
What is the adoption donation?When you adopt a dog, you're not buying a pet. Your donation isn't a fee for your adoptee - it's a gift that helps us pursue our mission, save lives, and ensure we can provide care to all the dogs in our program. Senior dog. 8 years and up / $125 Adult or Young Dog. 6 months to 7 years / $375 Puppies. Under 6 months / $450
Will you make an exception if I live more than 50 miles from Itasca, and why do you have this rule?"At this point we are unable to make exceptions. Even if you have experience with the breed, and will provide a loving home, our bylaws and procedures call for all adoptions and fosters to be local. These rules are in place to ensure we can support foster families, to respect the time of foster families who are assisting with adoptions, and to ensure each dog receives consistent care through each stage of the rescue journey. Some additional information: All fosters take their foster dogs to appointments, and complete homechecks, which are required before an adoption. Our volunteers/fosters drive their fosters to homechecks. A 50 mile radius puts a 100 mile drive on our volunteers and fosters, and they do not get reimbursed for gas or their time. Just because you are approved with another rescue does not automatically qualify you with Fetching Tails. Please remember to be kind and respectful during all communications with fosters and volunteers - while they help us maintain these procedures they are not responsible for implementing them.
Why do i need to fill out an adoption application if I just want to come meet the dog first?We need an application filled out first because 95% of our dogs are in foster homes. Your application is sent to the foster parent to first review to see if a possible match. We don't want to waste anyone's time if not a match and the driving back and forth. Also we like to have an application on file for safety reasons when our volunteers are going to meet with applicants about their foster dog. Thank you for understanding!
Who should come with me to the adoption event? What if I cannot attend an adoption event?Your entire household should try to come to an adoption event. Bringing in a new family member requires that everyone be on board. If you cannot attend an event, fosters may be able to do meet and greets on non-adoption days, but this is not guaranteed. But everyone in the family must meet the dog before an adoption can take place
Do you take in owner reliquishments?At this time we don't.
Will I get to take the dog home right after I meet the dog?No. A homecheck, as well as vet and personal references, must be completed prior to adoption.
How do I know if I have been approved as a suitable home?The foster will reach out to you following a homecheck.
Will you provide me with the medical records?All FTF dogs are up to date on vaccinations and all age/health appropriate medical procedures. All medical records will be provided at the adoption. All supplies other than medical records need to be supplied by the adopter.
Why do I have to use your vet after adopting a puppy or for medical needs?We work closely with our local participating veterinarians, and many times are offered special reduced rates for routine services. It also helps ensure the dog received all required vaccinations.
Why can’t I adopt the dog before they’re spayed and neutered, if I promise to take them to my vet?"The Department of Agriculture/Animal Welfare states that dogs must be sterilized prior to adoption, unless there is a medical reason that would come into play.
Do you require adopting homes to provide training?Yes. In our experience, we have found adopters who take the time to take their new family member to training are happier with the dog. Training benefits both dogs and owners. It bonds the new dog with their owners, helps to keep your new pet socialized, should you ever have to board your dog it would be much easier, and it can help keep your dog safe (if he ever gets away from you would he come back on command?)
Do you go by first come, first serve basis?"No. Our focus is on finding the best home and fit for our dogs, as well as for your family. Often, a dog will have several good applications, and meeting the family to see interactions with the dog is important.
How long does it take to hear back from someone once I submit an application? And who should I contact if i haven’t heard back from someone?Our fosters try their best to reach out to applicants within 48 hours. Holidays may delay the response by a day. If you do not hear back after 48 hours, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you did not receive an auto-response confirming your application was received, you may not have successfully completed the application.
Does someone work with me to find a better fit, if the dog I wanted doesn’t work out? Can my application be transferred for another dog?"We do our best to suggest other dogs, but please check out the dogs and their bios on our website. Bios are posted about one to two weeks after the dog comes to FTF. Yes, your application can be transferred to another dog. You can request this by contacting email@example.com.
Do you offer support after adoption in case I have questions?The foster family that had the dog is always a good start. They know the dog best. Our medical team is available to answer any questions you may have in reference to a dog's medical procedure that was done while in our care. If you did not receive an answer after following the steps above, reach out to Kristina@fetchingtailsfoundation.org
Why are there separate applications for fostering, adopting and volunteering?"Different roles have different requirements. Fostering, adopting, and volunteering are each run by different managers, and applications need to be sent to the correct leader for the respective interest.
What if an adoption doesn't work? What’s your return policy?We are looking for adopters who will commit to integrating dogs into their families, for the rest of the dog's life. If a problem does occur after adoption, please contact Kristina@fetchingtailsfoundation.org. Please note: we are unable to return the adoption donation for adoptions that are not successful. These transactions are regarded as tax-deductible gifts and they are used to fund services and medical treatment for all the animals in our care.
How do you determine the age and breed of a dog?As with any rescue, we do our best to estimate age/breed, if we have no previous knowledge of the dog. Any information known to us about the age/breed of a dog will be relayed to you. Our vets frequently give their estimate on ages.
Where do your dogs come from?We work hard to help our city and rescue dogs from local open-access facilities, such as Chicago Animal Care and Control. We also work with different shelters from other locations in Illinois, as well as Mississippi and Texas, when they are in need of placement partners because their facilities are full.
Do you take used dog item donations or blankets/towels?Due to space, we are currently not accepting blankets, towels, linens or used dog beds. Also no soft dog toys or dog apparel. Like all other rescues and shelters we cannot accept opened bags of food or treats. Items we do not use and will never accept because it is not safe for dogs: Retractable leashes, rawhides, prong collars, pinch collars, shock collars or choke chains. Priority items that we can use are updated on our Amazon Wishlist weekly HERE
Rescue, Save, Love
Make an impact in the life of a rescue dog. With your help, we can save lives, enrich homes, and build communities defined by care, friendship, and compassion.