RedRover FAQs

Choose from the categories below to find answers to questions about our programs, donations, and general information. If you have a question that you don’t see here, please email us at info@RedRover.org. For Kind News magazine FAQs, please click here.

Board of Directors

A board of directors elected by our membership oversees RedRover. Board members are volunteers and are forbidden by our bylaws from benefiting financially from RedRover.

No, we are not affiliated with another organization. RedRover is completely independent, although we often collaborate with other organizations on specific projects.

If there are any questions the FAQs do not answer, please email Nicole Forsyth, RedRover’s President and CEO, at nforsyth@redrover.org.

Yes, RedRover Directors must sign a Conflict of Interest Policy every year. Directors work with management to maintain a high level of integrity and transparency. RedRover complies with all 20 Standards of the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance and scores four out of four stars on Charity Navigator’s Accountability and Transparency Performance Metrics, which includes maintaining a document retention policy and a whistle blower policy.

Directors are expected to serve on at least two committees or task forces. Currently we have a Governance Committee, Finance Committee, Technology Task Force, Inspiration Team, Strategic Planning Task Force and Legal Advisory Group.

Directors may be asked to make major donor thank you phone calls or send personal thank you note cards within 48 hours of notification of a donation.

Each Director is asked to complete a Commitment Form with additional options for engagement. Individual Board Directors may choose to expand RedRover’s outreach and fundraising efforts by hosting a house party, conducting a presentation, securing a corporate donation or sponsorship or asking those they know who like animals to share RedRover emails or posts, “like” our Facebook page, donate, attend an event or take some other action.

RedRover’s Board of Directors is responsible for maintaining the organization’s financial accountability, which requires transparency in all financial and tax reporting. The Board is responsible for ensuring that RedRover’s assets are properly maintained, and works with management to guarantee the implementation of sound internal controls to prevent fraud. In addition, the Board monitors RedRover’s fiscal health by regularly discussing the sustainability of its business model, approving its annual operating budget, reviewing quarterly financial statements and playing an active role in the review and approval of the annual audit and IRS Form 990.

The Board is also responsible for RedRover’s legal obligations, including tax filings and observing state fundraising registration requirements. The Board direct decisions regarding all litigation brought against the organization. (See the other FAQ for information about Directors and Officers Liability Insurance.) The RedRover Board also reviews and documents the compensation of the President and CEO and Chief Financial Officer, and countersigns any financial transaction over $15,000.

The Board is RedRover’s primary strategic decision-making body, acting in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Financial Officer, and with the advice and guidance of other staff and voluntary leaders. The Board is responsible for ensuring the effective implementation of RedRover’s strategic plan over the next several years, as well as providing on-going strategic oversight of the organization’s programs to ensure they are executed in a manner consistent with RedRover’s stated mission.

No, but travel to Board meetings may be considered tax-deductible. RedRover will send Directors in-kind acknowledgment letters upon submission of travel expense documentation.

The Board meets four times a year at RedRover’s headquarters in Sacramento, California. Typically, meetings are held on Saturdays, six weeks after the end of each quarter (RedRover’s fiscal calendar begins January 1.). Directors are expected to attend all meetings in person, but have the option to participate via Skype or conference call for one meeting a year. The full Board may occasionally conduct additional meetings by conference call as needed.

The length of a Board term is three years. Each member of the RedRover Board of Directors may serve a maximum of two three-year terms.

All elected Directors will be invited to attend the RedRover Board meeting, which likely will focus on strategic thinking. You will be notified of the next upcoming RedRover Board meeting date.

Recommended candidates will be contacted about a final interview with the full RedRover Board of Directors at its meeting in Sacramento. Recommended candidates have the option of appearing in-person or via Skype, whichever is most convenient. All final candidates will be contacted of the Board’s vote.

The Board Governance Committee will review all applications and select finalists to interview. If you are selected for an initial interview, a member of the Board Governance Committee will contact you. If a second interview is required, you will be contacted to schedule that conversation as quickly as possible.

The Board Governance Committee will select finalists from the online applications submitted based on how well applicants fit with the current needs of the board.

So glad you asked! The first step is to complete our online application. The application is a critical element of the selection process approved by the RedRover Board of Directors to identify new Board members who fit with the organization’s strategic needs. The Board Governance Committee will use application responses to evaluate which candidates are likely to make a unique and important contribution to the Board’s work.

Yes. If you would like to receive a copy of our policy, please email Nicole at nforsyth@redrover.org.

Although there is no set minimum, the expectation is for all Directors to give annually, ideally at least $250 a year. The average giving level among Directors is currently $450 a year.

Donations & Planned Giving

Please make your check payable to RedRover and send it to:

RedRover
PO Box 188890
Sacramento, CA 95818

For questions on how we use our contributed income or how to restrict a donation to a specific program, please contact Erin Bialecki at 800.440.3277, ext. 313, or email ebialecki@redrover.org. You can also restrict your gift to a particular program using the drop-down menu on our online donation form.

Yes, you can find our most recent income and expense breakdown, our IRS Form 990, our audited financial statements, and our Annual Report on our website at RedRover.org/about-us/financials/.

Thank you! Your planning will help make the future a better place for animals! Please let us know your plans so we can thank you and ensure your wishes are met. Please contact Erin Bialecki at 800.440.3277, ext. 313, email ebialecki@redrover.org or send your planned giving intentions to RedRover, Attn: Development Manager, P.O. Box 188890, Sacramento, CA 95818. Letting us know about your intentions also makes you a very special Legacy Partner.

It is not necessary, but we encourage you to consult your tax or legal advisor when considering any planned gift or to help you set up a complete estate plan.

Visit our website to learn more about creating an estate plan, get sample language or purchase a do-it-yourself Last Will and Testament template through LawDepot, where you can leave a planned gift to RedRover under the Specific Gifts tab. For additional questions, please contact us at 800.440.3277 or info@redrover.org.

  • Wills/trusts/bequests
  • Life insurance policy
  • Retirement disbursement

Everyone, regardless of age or net worth, needs an estate plan. An estate plan may simply consist of a will or may contain additional documents, like a trust. An estate plan ensures your assets (including money from bank accounts, stock, life insurance policies, property and real estate) are distributed according to your wishes. If you do not have an estate plan, you risk state law determining who will receive your assets.

United Animal Nations, d.b.a. RedRover’s tax ID number is 68-0124097.

Absolutely. The security and confidentiality of your information is our highest priority. We use industry-standard SSL (secure socket layer) technology to protect your information and provide a safe and secure environment for online donations. We will not sell, trade or share your personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations, and we will only share personal information if you have given us specific permission to do so.

If you made your donation online, a donation receipt will be sent to you at the email address you provided. You will also receive a paper receipt/acknowledgement in the mail at the address you provided. Please be sure to keep a copy of your receipt for tax purposes. If you select a recurring donation, you will receive an email receipt each month when your donation is processed, and you will receive an annual statement of your previous years’ giving in January of each year.

Yes. We are a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and your donation is tax-deductible within the guidelines of U.S. law. To claim a donation as a deduction on your U.S. taxes, please keep your email and/or paper donation receipt as your official record. No goods or services were given in exchange for this donation.

RedRover is committed to using donor contributions effectively and as they were intended. Read our financial information for more details.

RedRover is funded entirely by private donations from individuals and foundations. We receive no government funding. Read our financial information for more details.

RedRover & General Information

United Animal Nations became RedRover on June 11, 2011. We changed our name to better reflect our work. Red was an already important and active color in our organization, representing strength, determination and passion. The name RedRover captures the energy, dedication and tireless work of our organization, volunteers, supporters and donors.

Sign up to receive RedRover’s email updates. RedRover’s emails are full of ways you can take action to help animals. Also visit our volunteering page to see ways that you can apply RedRover’s programs to help your community now.

No. Our office is in Sacramento, California, and our programs operate nationally. Some of our programs are also available in Canada.

RedRover Readers

RedRover Readers was launched in 2007 and works to further strengthen the human-animal bond by helping children, ages 5-11, develop the steps necessary for empathy: recognize human and animal emotions, share emotions and regulate emotions in order to connect in positive ways with others. Read more about the program, watch our video, and view our infographic (PDF).

Third- and fourth-grade students. Cognitively speaking, children at this age are developing the complex perspective-taking skills that are needed to take the perspectives of the characters – both human and non-human – in the stories and understand that their perspective might be different from their peers. Perspective-taking is a precursor for building empathy.

Children in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade also have participated in the RedRover Readers program and were highly engaged.

The RedRover Readers curriculum is a collection of Discussion and Activity Guides designed for specially chosen, high-quality children’s literature coupled with specific question strategies, discussion techniques and follow-up activities.

The curriculum is accessible to educators trained through the RedRover Readers program.

As a teacher, you can take the training and learn how to implement the innovative RedRover Readers curriculum. Before 2013, volunteers visited classrooms and implemented the RedRover Readers curriculum. Volunteers are available only in select cities in the United States and Canada. Because we do not have volunteers in every city, teachers everywhere are encouraged to take the training and use the curriculum with their own students. Teachers who have participated in the RedRover Readers program report using the curriculum in other areas of their teaching and that they know much more about their students as a result of the program.

Inverness Research Inc. conducted a pilot research study to investigate the effectiveness of the RedRover Readers curriculum, then called the Humane Education Ambassador Readers (HEAR) program, in 2009. The researchers found that the RedRover Readers program:nn-Builds self-esteem and motivates students to take an important subject seriously

  • Stimulates additional student-directed learning
  • Builds students’ knowledge and potentially affects their behaviors related to caring for pets
  • Builds students’ empathy and compassion for pets

Read the full research report

We also worked with Dr. Emanuel Castano from The New School for Social Research to publish The Relationship Between Humane Interactions with Animals, Empathy, and Prosocial Behavior among Children (Wice et. al., 2020) in the Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin, available here.

In order to tell if the program has benefited students, RedRover has identified two validated measures to assess the effectiveness of the RedRover Readers curriculum. Please email Readers@redrover.org and request the measures.

RedRover offers online and in-person professional development workshops. These trainings are geared toward educators but all are welcome to attend. After taking the workshop, you will receive our entire curriculum and tools to start using the program with students immediately. Learn more here.

RedRover provides on-site professional development workshops to school districts and individual elementary schools wanting to adopt RedRover Readers curriculum. The registration fee for individual educators to attend the online training is $79. Take a look at this informational flyer for further information or email Readers@redrover.org to request testimonials from teachers and students about the program.

Please report your use of the program on the confidential resource page. If you no longer have this link, please email Readers@redrover.org to request that the reporting link be resent to you.

RedRover does not sell the books that are used in the RedRover Readers curriculum. The books are available at local bookstores, libraries and from online retailers such as Powells.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. RedRover has a book loan program. We can loan you the books to use for your readings and then you ship them back to us when you are done reading.

Yes, once you have taken the RedRover Readers training, you can implement the program through your organization. Please credit RedRover on your website and make mention of the “RedRover Readers” curriculum when implementing it.

RedRover Readers curriculum is designed to be implemented without a live companion animal such as a dog present, so it is best to leave your dog at home.

The goal of the RedRover Readers program is different from read-to-dogs programs. RedRover is focused on building empathy, critical thinking and positive relationship skills. Read-to-dogs programs are designed to increase a child’s confidence in reading aloud and have other benefits unique from the RedRover Readers program. RedRover sets the stage for other programs, like reading to dogs or traditional shelter-based humane education, to be used more effectively following the RedRover Readers curriculum.

RedRover offers professional development for educators on how to use the RedRover Readers program in elementary school classrooms to help students:

  • Distinguish their point of view from a character’s point of view
  • Understand perspectives that are different from their own
  • Recognize and discuss emotional states
  • Think about the well-being of others
  • Analyze information from text and illustrations and make humane decisions
  • Have more positive social interactions with others
  • Think independently from others
  • Think creatively
  • Feel engaged in learning
  • Feel more empathy

To begin with, books by themselves provide the perfect avenue for practicing perspective-taking because a typical reader inevitably finds themselves thinking from the perspective of the characters in order to anticipate what might happen next in the story. Some scholars have suggested the decrease in reading may actually be responsible for the steady decrease in empathy reported in college student surveys. Further research indicates that reading high-quality literature increase Theory of Mind, the ability to understand another’s emotional state. Read an article from The New York Times about the study

RedRover Readers takes this a step further by using illustrated books with compelling characters behaving accurately and displaying appropriate emotional states combined with questioning strategies demonstrated to increase comprehension and to help facilitate or reinforce perspective-taking. This is critical for kids who are not reading as much as they should and for kids who need help understanding the characters before they can take their perspectives. RedRover Readers helps kids learn and think about emotional and behavioral states while engaging in critical thinking and perspective taking to analyze how and why characters are behaving/feeling the way they are and how they would feel in similar situations.

The perspective-taking skills kids practice through engaging with stories, reflecting on open-ended questions, and pulling out details from illustrations and text, plus learning the emotional and behavioral states of others are all critical to the development of empathy.

Kids who maybe have never had a positive relationship in their lives discuss questions like: “How is listening a part of communication?” “How long does it take to make a friend?” “How do you think the boy feels?” “Can you communicate with a dog?” “What would that look like?” and “Why would you listen?”

“Kids’ connections with pets are often the first relationships in their lives they have any control over.”

– Nicole Forsyth, RedRover President and CEO

  • Fostering strong bonds between kids and pets provides kids a solid foundation with which to practice and build positive relationship skills and empathy.
  • Kids find it safer and easier to talk about relationships with animals than people.
  • Even when kids do not have pets in the home, they love learning and talking about animals. The power of the program comes from observing positive relationships in stories, talking about key elements of good relationships and imagining positive friendships they could have in their own lives.
  • A stronger understanding about animals, better bonds with animals and a more empathetic society also improves pet care and behavior in homes and reduces animal cruelty and neglect.

Anyone who wants to foster empathy in children, become a more effective educator, engage kids in learning, improve their classroom culture, help develop positive relationship skills, or use a social and emotional learning program that aligns to the Common Core and state standards.

RedRover Readers Empathy App

Writers:

Nicole Forsyth is President and CEO for RedRover. In 2007, Nicole introduced a program that fosters empathy in children, RedRover Readers, and is the mind behind the new e-book app concept, in addition to the main author for the series. She graduated from the University of California, Davis with a master’s degree in animal biology in 2006, and holds a master’s degree in communication from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree in English and education from the University of Colorado. In the spirit of Raja, Nicole spends much of her free time at home trying to understand the behavior of her two- and four-legged family members.

Kristen McGregor

Kristen is a children’s media producer, director, and writer who has developed projects for Kids’ CBC, Treehouse, and TVO Kids. She has built 33 playgrounds across Ontario as the director, developer, and supervising producer of the Canadian Screen Award-nominated, and Youth Media Alliance award-winning Giver, a TVO Kids/Sinking Ship Entertainment series. Kristen is currently producing and directing live television with The Sunny Side Up Show on Sprout (NBCUniversal).

Illustrator

Bryan Huff (and his cat Karma) A 7-year veteran of the animation industry, Bryan has directed over 80 minutes of television animation for clients such as Warner Bros., Disney, Hasbro, and DC. Other clients include Nickelodeon, Syfy, and Nelvana. Bryan is also co-founder of Giant People Pictures, a boutique animation studio that specializes in top-quality pre-production and development.

E-Book App Developers:

Sticky Brain Studios

Sasha Boersmann

Sasha is Partner/Executive Producer at Sticky Brain Studios, an interactive digital media team focused on creating and delivering meaningful user experiences. She is responsible for project managing their slate of projects, and business affairs. In addition to her work at Sticky Brain Studios, Sasha is Faculty at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre, teaching courses on business, accounting, marketing, and project management in the Interactive Media Management, Children’s Media, and Film and Television – Business post-graduate programs. Sasha is on the Board of Directors for Women in Film and Television – Toronto, and on the Advisory Committee for Interactive Ontario’s 2015 GameON: Ventures.

Ted Brunt

Ted Brunt has been making things on screens since he was 7 when he made his first animated film with his sister. Since then, he has worked in all aspects of broadcast television production from hosting to editing, producing, and directing, and is considered one of Canada’s pioneers in digital media. His team created TVOKids.com, one of the first children’s websites, and he went on to lead digital content production at CBC for children and arts & entertainment. At Sticky Brain Studios, he focuses on creative development and production. Ted is the co-chair of the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Digital Media Advisory Group, and an advisor for Humber College’s Screenwriting program. He’s still making things on screens, much to his children’s dismay!

Empathy is arguably the best way to prevent violence in society and the most important skill children need to succeed in the 21st Century, yet studies show empathy is on the decline, and few schools or parents focus on it. A failure of empathy is linked to a variety of unwanted social behaviors, such as bullying and the abuse and neglect of both people and animals. A failure of empathy may also make it difficult to lead others well, solve complex social problems or have positive, meaningful relationships with family, friends, coworkers and pets.

The app may not be supported on every device. Our developers tested the app on the most common Apple and Android devices, but we would love to know which devices have issues. Please email us to let us know at info@RedRover.org. The app is available for download for smart phones and tablets on iTunes and Google Play. If you have an older Android device, you may have to update your system software.

Although this is a digital book, because of the interactive nature of the content, it can’t be downloaded onto a simple e-reader. It is an app, containing a digital book as well as a game, and; therefore, it requires an Apple or Android tablet or phone, like an iPhone, iPad or Samsung Galaxy.

RedRover Relief - Safe Housing Grants

Over 70% of pet owning women entering shelters reported that their abuser had injured, killed or threatened family pets, and nearly 50% have delayed leaving an abusive situation out of fear of harm to their animals. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Carlisle-Frank, Frank and Nielsen, Pets as Pawns). A pet is often seen as the only form of non-judgmental support in the home. The bond this forges is so strong that many people would rather stay in the abusive situation than abandon their pets. As well, abusers can use pets as hostages to convince the survivor not to leave, or coerce survivors into returning to the abusive home. Allowing people to escape with their pets removes this barrier to safety. Including pets as a part of the family helps children understand that how pets are treated is important, and it validates their feelings for their pets.

No. Being able to accept pets, even in a limited capacity, is a great step toward helping more people reach safety. You may be able to accommodate small dogs, cats, and pocket pets, while others are able to accommodate larger animals or even farm animals. If you are unable to house large animals you may want to speak with a local rescue group or even with a local stable, to see if temporary arrangements can be made if large animal boarding is needed. This is especially important in more rural areas.

Pet allergies are often the first concern when thinking about starting a pet program in a domestic violence organization. Thankfully, there are many ways to deal with them. If you’ve ever housed a survivor with a service animal, it’s possible your organization has already dealt with this situation. People with allergies have likely been dealing with them for quite some time, so they will know how to manage their symptoms. Be sure to ask about allergies on intake and consider having some common remedies, like allergy medication or sinus washes, on hand if possible. Keeping the areas where the pets are staying as clean as possible is the main way to keep allergens under control. You can also consider purchasing portable HEPA filter units for people with allergies, or consider installing a segregated split-air system in pet rooms.

For more detailed information on program set-up, visit DontForgetThePets.org, a collaboration between RedRover and Rescue Rebuild. Along with a lot of detailed information on building a pet program, Don’t Forget the Pets offers a training workshop and personal consultation through the coaching program.

When designing your pet program there are many things to consider, and many ways to make a “pet plan” that works for your community.

Regardless of where and how animals will ultimately be cared for, all programs will need to consider intake and quarantine. Pets will need a safe place to stay while their owners are going through intake at the domestic violence organization, so having a crate or kennel near a case worker’s office can help this process go more smoothly. In addition, having a quarantine area at the location the pets will be staying can give pets time to acclimate to a new environment, and give vaccines, wormers, and flea medications time to work.

The rest of the program is up to the needs of the community and the space available for pets. Pets can be housed at a domestic violence organization in survivor’s rooms, in rooms dedicated to pet housing, or in kennels on the property but separate from the main shelter. They can be housed at an animal organization and kept separate from the general shelter, or a space can be purpose built for them. Domestic violence and animal organizations can even collaborate to build a foster program, so pets can be cared for in a home environment.

This information was summarized from DontForgetThePets.org, a collaboration between RedRover and Rescue Rebuild. Along with a lot of detailed information on building a pet program, Don’t Forget the Pets offers a training workshop and personal consultation through the coaching program.

Necessary partnerships – Domestic violence and animal organizations must have an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place to apply. This MOU outlines the responsibilities of each organization, such as consultation on animal issues, emergency boarding space, or having an advocate available to speak with someone trying to relinquish an animal due to domestic violence. If veterinary services cannot be provided by the animal organization, a partnership with one or more veterinary clinics is recommended. It is hoped that this cooperation will lead to closer partnerships between organizations, and that they will help keep each other informed on the needs of the community.

Recommended partnerships – We also suggest reaching out to community organizations, such as the Girl Scouts, local pet supply stores, places of worship, etc., to see if they are able to fulfill any program needs through community service or donations. Ongoing needs, such as pet food and supplies, leashes and collars, or short-term needs like help with landscaping or organizing, can often be filled by volunteers and fundraisers. To learn more about why collaboration is key, visit DontForgetThePets.org.

Pets involved in domestic violence are often in need of basic veterinary care, such as vaccinations or spay/neuter. It’s possible that the animal may never have been seen by a veterinarian before. If the survivor was abused financially, that can manifest in the abuser not allowing money to be spent on things important to their victim, like pet care. A general health assessment will be useful in finding what care may be needed for the animal during their stay. It’s also possible that the animal was injured by the abuser, and may need urgent or emergency care. Finally, having a record of ownership and care can help the survivor in legal proceedings, like proving abuse and/or custody. A small portion of the Safe Housing grant can be used to start an emergency medical fund.

Safe Housing funds can be used by domestic violence organizations to start a boarding program, but may not be used to sustain an existing program. Funds can be requested to cover up to two years of boarding costs. After those two years it is expected that the organization will be able to continue and sustain the program on their own. We require that the funds requested be based on a realistic estimate of the animals likely to use your pet program each year.

The cost of boarding will vary depending on the boarding facility. We recommend speaking with multiple boarding facilities in your area to find the one(s) willing to provide great care at a low price. You may want to consider making boarding agreements with multiple boarding facilities to ensure that no one facility is overwhelmed. RedRover has found that the average cost of boarding is around $20-30 day for both dogs and cats. If the boarding facility is able to offer discounted boarding, you may be able to treat that discount as an in-kind donation so it will be tax deductible.

In our experience, 30-35% of families escaping abuse with a pet will have more than one. We recommend taking this into consideration when making program plans. This is why having relationships with more than one boarding facility, veterinarian, or other animal care partner is recommended, so that you can ensure that no one partner is overwhelmed.

We recommend having only the pet’s family, and/or a designated staff person, interact with the pets. This is a stressful time for everyone, pets included, and even a pet who is normally even tempered can behave aggressively out of fear. Pets should especially be kept separate from non-family children, as children can have an extremely difficult time understanding animal body language. We’ve seen some shelters institute a colored leash program, so if an animal has a red leash it’s a clear signal not to touch. Limiting exposure to other residents may also be required by your insurance carrier.

Survivors should sign a boarding contract and release form when the pets enter your program. This stipulates that if they are not able to reclaim their pet, the pet becomes the property of your organization. This will allow you to re-home the pet if necessary. While this does occasionally happen, the majority of organizations who have received Safe Housing grants report that the pets and survivors are able to move forward together. There may also be health or legal issues that remove the survivor from shelter and keep them from reclaiming their pets when originally agreed. In these cases, if the survivor does not want to relinquish their pet a new contract can be drawn up for extended boarding if resources are available.

Visit the Document Library at DontForgetThePets.org for examples of various forms that you can use to create your own. Along with a lot of detailed information on building a pet program, Don’t Forget the Pets offers a training workshop and personal consultation through the coaching program. Don’t Forget the Pets is a collaboration between RedRover and Rescue Rebuild.

Yes, as long as that space is made available for the Safe Housing program pets when needed.

Ideally yes, but you’ll want to work a plan out with your partner domestic violence organization beforehand. The safety of everyone involved is most important, but allowing visitation can help ensure reunification once the survivor transitions away from the domestic violence agency. Visiting their pets can also help children by providing support and the comfort of a normal activity during such a chaotic time.

The goal of the Safe Housing program is to allow families to escape abuse with their pets, so ideally the pets would be housed until they can be safely reunited with the survivor. We suggest speaking with your domestic violence organization partner about the average length they expect pet boarding will be needed and start building your program from there. A survivor’s stay in an emergency domestic violence shelter is typically 30-90 days, but some programs can be longer. Transitional programs are often longer, and transitional housing is often not pet friendly. For animals that may need a longer-than-average stay, incorporating foster may be a way to get the animals some relief from long-term kenneling. The average length of stay for pets, reported both by previous Safe Housing grant recipients and through our Safe Escape program, is about 45 days.

The cost of establishing your pet program will depend on how you intend to care for survivor’s pets. The initial start-up costs will likely be more than the maintenance. One of the great things about having a program that helps both pets and domestic violence survivors is that it can open up another area of fundraising for your organization. People who may not donate to an animal shelter or a domestic violence shelter may choose to donate to a program that keeps survivors and their pets safe. We always suggest that you plan to budget for recurring costs like food, litter, toys, etc., but many of our Safe Housing grant recipients report having great success reaching out to their local community to help with these needs. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pet food drives using local radio or television stations.
  • Partnerships with area pet stores where people can donate food, toys, leashes, collars, etc.
  • Amazon wish list donations.
  • A local volunteer group/scout troop/classroom can make “welcome packets” for the pets to use during their stay, and also take with them that include special bowls, collar and leash, toys, treats, etc., for each pet.
  • Fun event like a raffle that local businesses can donate to.

These funds are meant to cover up to two years of specific program costs. They are intended to be a springboard to help your organization launch your own pet program. During the time your program is funded by our grant you will be expected to be working on funding and fundraising solutions to ensure that the pet program continues after our funding has been exhausted. You will be required to demonstrate your plans for program sustainability in the grant application.

If you still have funds remaining after the two year mark, then those funds can continue to be used until exhausted. Funds must continue to be used for their intended purpose, i.e. veterinary care, boarding, etc.

Yes! Safe Housing grant funds can be used to pay for the office visits and vaccinations needed to safely house animals. You may also include additional veterinary costs, like spay/neuter and/or an emergency fund, in your program budget. Depending on the amount requested, we may approve all or only a portion of the amount. We recommend making one line item in your budget for vaccinations, etc., that are necessary for housing animals, and another for other veterinary costs. We require that the funds requested be based on a realistic estimate of the animals likely to use your pet program within a year.

RedRover will consider assisting with funds for pet deposits if they are included in your program budget. Funding priority will be given to program costs directly related to caring for animals while they are in the pet program. This funding request should be based on average pet deposit costs in your area, and take into account whether any of the pet owners will be able to use victim compensation funds to cover these costs. Pet deposits can be a barrier to a survivor’s ability to leave shelter, we recommend that this issue be addressed by your pet program.

Safe Housing grant funds cannot be used for transportation costs, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot include them in your program. You may be able to find volunteers willing to help with transport from a safe/neutral location. You can also fundraise from the community to have these costs covered (e.g. “Your $15 donation can help transport a pet to safety.”)

Finding housing that allows pets can be difficult. We suggest researching pet-friendly apartments/rental agencies as soon as possible. In some states, victim compensation funds can be used to cover the cost of a pet deposit. If that is not available in your area, that may be something you can plan on including in your fundraising efforts for the program. A small portion of the Safe Housing grant may be used toward pet deposits.

If there is cause, helping your clients to get their animal prescribed as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) can help with housing. ESAs are covered under the Fair Housing Act, though they do not have all the same protections as Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Here is a website with information on ESAs. While they do offer a fee based service, they also have a lot of useful information available without having to apply for an ESA letter. If you do not have a therapist able to prescribe an ESA, they have therapists who review applications and will write an ESA letter if they believe that the applicant’s situation qualifies. If not, the fee is refunded.

“Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and Service Animals are covered under the Fair Housing Act, so they should pose no barrier to finding housing. Your client must have an ESA letter issued by a qualified doctor or therapist for their pet to legally qualify as an ESA. These letters are typically good for one year.

Keep in mind that ESA do not have the same protections as Service Animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Only a fully trained animal is considered a Service Animal. Service Animals in training are not protected by the ADA. If your client is disabled they can hire a trainer, or train their own dog, to get their dog to perform a task/tasks to assist them as a Service Animal (only dogs and miniature horses qualify as Service Animals at this time). Here is a resource listing some of the Service Dog tasks for psychiatric disabilities (panic disorder, PTSD, depression, etc.).

Here is an FAQ from the US Department of Justice on Service Animals and the ADA.

In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions:

-Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
-What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? (Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.)

There is no national registry for Service Animals or ESA. Your clients do not have to carry a special card, have their dog wear a vest, or pay a registration fee to have a Service Animal or ESA. If they desire a vest (which can help people to maintain their distance), both Service Animal and ESA vests are available through online retailers like Amazon. There are even wallet cards available that can help people explain their rights regarding their service animal.”

Consulting with your partner organization, as well as an attorney, can help you identify any possible legal issues with your program. Much like cases where animals are held in protective custody, you’ll want to consider issues like privacy and confidentiality, animal ownership, and anything else you and your partner organization think could be an issue. Legal issues have not come up as a roadblock in our conversations with Safe Housing grant recipients, but it’s best to be prepared just in case.

Safe Housing programs at domestic violence organizations will need to consult with their insurance providers to see if their current plan covers pets or if additional coverage will be needed. Insurance can be challenging as some carriers will not cover pets, or will have breed restrictions in place, but there are insurance providers out there who can help. You may want to check with your animal organization partner to see if their insurance provider can work with you.

Safe Housing programs at animal shelters will likely not need additional insurance, but we recommend consulting your insurance provider to be sure.

For more detailed information on insuring a pet program, visit DontForgetThePets.org, a collaboration between RedRover and Rescue Rebuild. Along with a lot of detailed information on building a pet program, Don’t Forget the Pets offers a training workshop and personal consultation through the coaching program.

RedRover Relief - Urgent Care Grants

Our RedRover Relief program offers one-time grants to low- or no-income families, rescuers, and Good Samaritans facing emergency veterinary crises. Please review the established guidelines to see if your situation qualifies.

Yes, RedRover has compiled a comprehensive directory of organizations in the United States and Canada that provide financial assistance with veterinary care. We encourage you to apply with other organizations and to make use of our list of tips and fundraising ideas.

No, we are not a spay/neuter assistance program. The following organizations can help you find low-cost or free spaying and neutering:

This message indicates that you have entered information in the application in an incorrect format or that the application is missing required information. The message will point out the field or fields in need of correction.

It is also possible that the page as timed out, so you may need to refresh the page and fill the application out again. We suggest that you copy the longer, typed-out answers to separate document before refreshing so that you will not have to re-type them.

We are unable to provide specific referrals to veterinary clinics. We encourage you to contact local animal shelters and rescue organizations for leads to low-cost clinics and/or help with fundraising. Petfinder.com has a comprehensive list of rescue organizations from all over the country. Visit Petfinder.com and click on “Animal Shelters” at the top of the page.

Some clinics may offer free office exams for first-time customers; check online or your phonebook for coupons and ads. Visit veterinarians.com for a directory of vet offices.

  • Discuss with your veterinarian the minimum treatment needed to save your animal’s life.
  • Ask other area clinics how much they normally charge for a similar treatment. Costs can vary widely from clinic to clinic. Visit veterinarians.com for a directory of vet clinics.
  • Apply for CareCredit, a credit card specifically for healthcare expenses.
  • Contact local animal shelters and rescue organizations for leads to low-cost clinics and/or help with fundraising. Petfinder.com has a comprehensive list of rescue organizations from all over the country. Visit Petfinder.com and click on “Animal Shelters” at the top of the page.
  • Ask for loans from your family and friends.
  • If the animal is a purebred, contact that breed’s enthusiast club in your area. See our fundraising ideas for more suggestions.

Yes, we can consider any treatment done on or after the day an application is submitted. Please do not delay treatment because you are waiting for our response. Due to the high volume of applications, priority goes to situations where a grant will make the difference between an animal receiving treatment and not.

The program only accepts requests for help through our online application. If you do not have Internet access, you can:

  • Ask a family member, friend or neighbor for help.
  • Ask your veterinary clinic to submit on your behalf.
  • Go to a library with free Internet access.
  • You do not need ongoing Internet access to apply.

You can expect to receive a response via e-mail or phone within one to two business days of submitting your application. Often, but not always, we can respond within the same business day the application was submitted. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Please be sure to add relief@redrover.org to your “safe senders” or “friends” e-mail list to ensure our response is not diverted to your spam folder. If you do not hear from us within two business days, please contact us to check the status of your application.

The program offers assistance to a variety of companion animals including, but not limited to, dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and guinea pigs.

No, the program cannot help with treatment that has already been completed. RedRover Relief Urgent Care Grants are intended to help animals who have not yet received treatment.

RedRover Relief Urgent Care Grants are typically around $250. Grants are intended to fill a small funding gap that is preventing an animal from getting the urgent care that they need.

RedRover has compiled a comprehensive directory of other organizations with assistance programs. We encourage you to apply with other organizations and to make use of our tips and fundraising ideas.

RedRover Relief Safe Escape Grants help with the cost of pet boarding for situations involving domestic violence and vary in amount depending on the individual need. See RedRover Relief Domestic Violence Resources for more information.

The RedRover Relief Program offers two different types of grants for individuals. Please complete the application that best fits your situation:

  • RedRover Relief Urgent Care Grant: if you are applying for your personal pet or recently rescued animal (for example, an animal you found in crisis, are fostering or adopted from a shelter).
  • RedRover Relief Safe Escape Grant: if you are a domestic violence case worker applying on behalf of a client who has an animal in need of veterinary care or boarding because of a situation involving domestic abuse.

Please read the detailed eligibility guidelines for any of the above grant types for more information about eligibility.

RedRover Responders

No. We only shelter animals temporarily during natural disasters and other crises. If you witness abuse or encounter an animal in trouble, call your local animal control agency.nnNo. We operate temporary, emergency animal shelters during and after disasters through our RedRover Responders program. If you need to find a place for an animal in Sacramento, please see Sacramento animal resources.

RedRover Responders volunteers promote community disaster preparedness by staffing educational tables at a variety of events like community safety fairs and pet-related festivals, and by making presentations to community preparedness meetings, animal disaster preparedness committees and other groups involved with animal welfare.

No! Periodically, usually every other year, RedRover Responders volunteers are asked to review and agree to the Code of Conduct. Volunteers who no longer want to be on the RedRover Responders active volunteer roster are asked to fill out a short online form. Alternatively, if you agree to the Code of Conduct and do want to stay on the volunteer roster you do not need to do anything.

Absolutely! We don’t expect you to be available to deploy during every emergency response. That’s why we need so many trained volunteers — we expect that only a small percentage of those invited will actually be able to respond.

We typically draw first responders from the geographic area closest to the response area to avoid the need for volunteers to travel. However, if we cannot recruit the number of volunteers we need, we will invite volunteers from other areas to deploy. Since volunteers are never required to respond, you are never required to travel unless you choose to deploy to a far-off location.

RedRover Responders volunteers are required to have regular access to the Internet and use a secure, private email address. Email is our primary means of communicating with volunteers because it allows us to reach a large group of people efficiently.

RedRover offers travel reimbursement up to $250 for volunteers who deploy for two or more days, not including travel days. Travel costs include, but are not limited to gas reimbursement, flights, rental car, and ground transportation. RedRover does not reimburse for mileage. RedRover Responders volunteers are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the shelter location. Volunteers can discuss interest in carpooling during the mobilization process. RedRover also provides housing and at least one meal per day.

We can’t say for sure. You can review RedRover Responder’s disaster response history to get an idea of the frequency of deployments. Rarely does a deployment occur that requires all RedRover Responders volunteers to be mobilized. Volunteers are invited to mobilize based on proximity to the deployment, taking the needs of the emergency and the number of volunteers in the area into consideration. If you haven’t received a mobilization invitation that you think you should have received, please contact RedRover to check. Also, if you are interested in deploying to situations that are outside of your typical geographic recruitment area, please contact RedRover.

RedRover Responders’ area of expertise is temporary emergency animal sheltering, and that is the type of work that RedRover Responders volunteers are trained to do through the volunteer training process. Volunteers will be needed to do this type of work during most deployments. However, some volunteers choose to broaden their response capabilities with other technical rescue training.

RedRover Responders volunteers are asked to complete the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) online course IS-100 prior to attending the RedRover Responders volunteer training workshop. We also encourage volunteers to continue their training through FEMA’s other online independent study courses, pet and human first aid and CPR certification, and shelter volunteering.

RedRover Responders dedicates a portion of its training to safety procedures. The volunteer manual includes Safety Standard Operating Guidelines, and on-site safety issues are identified and discussed during daily briefings. RedRover Responders volunteers are also insured for secondary accident-medical, personal liability and auto liability when engaged in an authorized incident response.

Volunteers need to have some basic animal handling experience, and need to be comfortable working with animals of unknown temperament. We encourage volunteers to have 50 hours of animal handling experience from volunteering at a shelter or rescue group (about 4 months of volunteering three hours per week).

By completing the training program, including attending a RedRover Responders Volunteer Training Workshop.

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