Volunteer Rules and Regulations

Small Paws® Rescue Volunteer Rules and Regulations


Thank you for volunteering for Small Paws® Rescue! You may at any time contact one of our staff if you have questions.

Executive Director Robin Pressnall, pup3@aol.com

Bonnie Ferguson-Executive Assistant, bonnie@smallpawsrescue.org

If we contact you, and ask you to go and pick up a dog for us, here are the rules and regulations that may help you in this exciting and rewarding journey! We recognize that many of you have rescue experience, and we are truly grateful for this experience. 

We must ask that when you are rescuing or fostering for Small Paws® Rescue, please honor our rules and regulations.


When you apply to be a Small Paws Volunteer, you will need to check the place on the volunteer application that you have read and understood the following rules and regulations, including the aggression policy,  This is for everyone’s protection, including the Bichons! PLEASE do not check that you have read these, unless you HAVE read them and you understand them. Thank you!

The Small Paws Rescue Aggression Policy


(Only Small Paws Rescue Board Members may authorize or sign outside contracts, involving Small Paws Rescue Inc.)

  1. DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, LET A PROSPECTIVE ADOPTER VISIT THE DOG. (Since we aren’t in a position to let all adopters meet all of our dogs due to logistics, we can’t allow any pre-meets. This rule is also for the security of our volunteers.)
  2. ALL ADOPTION APPLICATIONS MUST BE APPROVED BY THE Small Paws® RESCUE HOME OFFICE BEFORE ANY PLACEMENT OF ANY RESCUE DOG OCCURS. (No exceptions can be made to this.) In addition, we do not do any “trial” adoptions.
  3. If you have possession of a Small Paws® Rescue foster dog, this dog MAY NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES BE RETURNED TO THE PREVIOUS OWNER. THE OWNER TURN IN PAPERS ARE IRREVOCABLE AND ARE LEGALLY BINDING. They also may not be moved to another home (foster home or adoptive home) without permission and approval of the Small Paws Rescue home office or your Area Team Leader.
  4. Each Small Paws® Rescue dog is to be fully vetted before placement. Small Paws® Rescue will pay for this to be done. We need to authorize all medical treatment (except for emergencies) for each dog. You may take this letter to your vet. Letter to Veterinarians It has billing information for them. If you need to fax vet bills to us, the number is 918-445-5136.
  5. (Please note that the drug Rimadyl is not to be used on any of the Small Paws Rescue dogs and the use of it will not be reimbursed. Please ask your vet for a substitute if he wants to use this drug. We often use a drug called “Metacam” as a substitute. 
  6. If you are taking in an Owner Turn In (OTI), you will need the following form, to be signed by the person turning in the dog, and by yourself. Owner Transfer Form Be sure to try to ask for a donation, if we are taking in a dog from an owner.
  7. Never take your own animals with you to the home of an owner turn in. If we asked you to go get an OTI for us, time is of the essence. Please do not think that the dog will be safe for a few more days. Often, it will not. Let us know if you cannot go right then so we may try to find another volunteer. If you get to the home of the OTI, and for any reason do not feel the dog will work out being fostered at your home, please do not leave it there! We will pay for boarding until another foster home can be found
  8. When you get the call from us, asking you to retrieve a dog from a shelter, we will e-mail a copy of our 501C3 papers, for you to take with you to the shelter.
  9. If one of our fosters dogs goes missing, we are to be contacted immediately so that we may help you to have the best chances of recovery. We have a lost Dog packet we will issue to you immediately with instructions, if one of our dogs gets away from you. ALL SMALL PAWS RESCUE DOGS MUST WEAR COLLARS AND IDENTIFICATION TAGS AT ALL TIME.

Clarification of Ownership and Responsibility for Small Paws® Rescue Volunteers

Recently we have had some confusion as to who is responsible for a Bichon when the foster parent is both a Small Paws® Rescue volunteer and a volunteer for other Bichon Rescue Organizations. We have a number of volunteers who are both Small Paws® Rescue Volunteers, and volunteers for other Bichon rescue organizations. (This is great, and we do not discourage this!) Please use the following as a guide to handle this situation.

  1. Before any dog is taken into rescue for Small Paws Rescue, it should be cleared with Robin Pressnall or your Team Leader.  E-mail: bonnie@smallpawsrescue.org or pup3@aol.com . In emergencies you may phone Robin on cell at 1-918-638-5854.
  2. Any dog turned in to Small Paws® Rescue is SPR’s responsibility. A transfer of Ownership form (Owner Transfer Form) should be used and all adoption applicants must be pre-approved through Small Paws® Rescue.
  3. All proceeds on behalf of the dog such as adoption fees, donations for the upkeep/care of an owner turn-in, are to be sent to Small Paws Rescue.
  4. Any dog turned in to any other rescue group, is the responsibility of that rescue group. This includes all medical bills, expenses relating to this dog, and all charges made on the dog’s behalf, including any shipping charges.
  5. If you are fostering a dog for another rescue group, only their applications should be used. No applicant through SPR should be approached without express permission.
  6. All proceeds on behalf of the dog, such as adoption fees, are directed to that rescue group.

By honoring the continued good relationship between all of the Bichon rescue groups, it is hoped that we will be able to work together for the benefit of all Bichons. 🙂

Here are some guidelines for you, when you are picking up your new rescue dog!

If a dog is taken into rescue, it should be taken to a vet immediately, without it going home to the volunteer’s house first, if at all possible. If not, then the dog must be quarantined somewhere far from the other animals in the house, and then go to the vet at the first available day.

When you pick your rescue up take a crate with you. Also, maybe a towel for mishaps, a few Chewy Strips, a stuffed toy. You might also bring a mix of different treats as it sometimes lets the little one know he has nothing to fear and may help divert them if you need to put a collar on them.

The shelter may provide you with a short leash that has a loop on the end. We recommend that you take a collar and leash of your own.

  1. Ask if they checked for a microchip.
  2. Ask what shots they have given him.
  3. Ask for all of the history they may have on the dog, the kind of family it came from, etc.
  4. Did it receive regular vet care?
  5. Why was it turned in (Use as a guideline – this may not be the “whole truth.”)
  6. What kind of food was he used to

When you arrive at home put him in the place you have prepared for him. Show him food and water bowls. Maybe a special toy or bone just for him. Remember that a change of diet can cause intestinal distress so be prepared. Maybe a special toy or bone just for him. Give him time to rest in his new home before introducing him to the rest of the family. He is under stress and more than likely was just neutered or spayed so is feeling the effects of anesthesia. When you feel comfortable, introduce him to the other family members and let him tour his new home under supervision. How much of the house he gets to investigate will depend upon whether or not you are going to quarantine the dog for a few days. You will need some time to determine if he is housebroken or not.

Make certain your fence is secure, and keep him on a leash at first, even in a fenced area, in case he can climb a fence.

You may choose to put your rescue in a crate or playpen – to be able to confine a marking, or not housebroken dog, yet allow it to be with you. You may prefer a playpen because it is more open. You can reach in and pet or love on the dog easily. A playpen folds down so can be moved to always be where you are. The dog can stand, sit, lie down, or stand on his hind legs without any restrictions. There is room for food and water bowl and a bed.

An adjustable gate is very handy for keeping the dog in a safe place like the kitchen or bathroom when you have to leave the house without him. It is open, lets air circulate and the dog see out, but safely confines him.

You need to isolate (Quarantine or keep separate from your own dogs) any dog that comes into rescue before letting it interact with your personal pets. Kennel Cough is highly contagious and is airborne. Make sure your own dogs are fully vaccinated for distemper, rabies, kennel cough and parvo!

Do not take your new rescue to a private individual’s home or to a public place like Petsmart, until it has passed 10  days of quarantine.

It is good to have a safe place where to can observe the rescue and yet he can be part of your family. It is absolutely imperative to keep your pet’s boosters current when doing rescue work. Your pets MUST come first!

It is very helpful to take the time to interact with the dog you are considering rescuing.

  1. Walk around with him.
  2. Hold him.
  3. Speak softly to him, and assure him he is going to be all right.
  4. See how he reacts to you handling his ears, paws, and tail. This can give you an idea if the dog is timid, or very friendly.
  5. Does he go to the bathroom as soon as he is let out of his kennel? If he does, it may be a good indication that he’s house trained.
  6. Does he seem happy to be with you?

If you decide to take the dog into rescue, and it has to be neutered or spayed before leaving, ask if they will bathe the dog the day of the surgery. Some shelters have volunteers who will do this for you. Remember, the dog cannot be bathed for 10 days after surgery.

Also, evaluate for fleas and/or ticks. You may want to treat the rescue with Frontline or Advantage before it goes home with you.

Make a vet appointment as soon as possible to get a general evaluation of the dog’s health. Please get all vet visits approved, first, before you go to the vet. Please ask if your vet will give a discount, for rescue dogs. Most vets will give a 25 to 30 % discount for true rescue dogs. We have all necessary documentation, to prove we are a legitimate rescue group.

Look at the teeth when you see the dog. To minimize stress on the dog and minimize cost, if the teeth really need cleaning and the dog is taken the shelters contract vet for neutering, make sure they clean the teeth at the same time. Also, request they do an anal expression and trim the nails. This saves the cost of a second anesthetic (good for the dog and good for us, they normally never charge for the anal purge and nail trim) and the contract vet’s office will usually give you a price reduction for the teeth cleaning too.

These are the things we want done at the vet…please get an estimate first, if possible.

  1. Spay/Neuter (Unless said rescue dog is possibly pregnant. Let us know if this is the case.)
  2. Vaccinations (Please put the rabies tag on the dog immediately…in case he should get lost, they will be able to track you. Also, if you have an old rabies tag for your dog, you might even temporarily put it on his collar…it will be a way for someone who might find him, to contact you)
  3. Heartworm check
  4. Check condition of teeth
  5. Worms
  6. Condition of nails/feet/skin/ears, etc
  7. Have your vet do a hearing and sight test so that we may let adopters know how well their new dog can see and hear.

Regarding Heart Worm and Flea and Tick preventative, SPR will pay for only what the dogs uses while in rescue with SPR. Never give Heartworm preventative without a current negative heartworm test, unless the dog has been on monthly heartworm preventative AND we have vet records which show a Heartworm test within the last year. SPR does NOT pay for the new 6 month Heartworm vaccination.

If possible, may we use one or two of your HW preventative pills, while the dog is in rescue, and reimburse you for that used portion?

Send the vet evaluation and a picture of the rescue to Small Paws® Rescue, Inc. as soon as possible. You may fax us at 918-445-5136 or Email us at pup3@aol.com

Please get the dog vetted as soon possible so that any health problems can be found discovered and immediately cared for. It will need a clean bill of health so that it can go to his “forever home” as soon as one is found.

We need for foster parents to have their new foster dog in rescue for one week before we list the dog for adoption on Petfinder’s. It takes that long for the foster parent to find out if the dog is going to show any aggression, and for them to get to know their foster Bichons so that they can adequately describe and tell others about the dog, his/her likes and dislikes, etc.

Any Small Paws Rescue dogs that have been in rescue for TWO weeks, and have not yet been submitted for our Petfinder’s page will no longer be eligible to have their vet bills paid by Small Paws Rescue, unless there are extenuating circumstances, which must be approved by the home office.

To get your foster dog up on our Petfinder’s Page, and insure that their vet bills will continue to be paid by Small Paws Rescue, please email a bio and a picture of your foster dog to Bonnie at bonnie@smallpawsrescue.org. Please be sure to copy your Team Leaders in e-mail as well.

If you don’t have a picture yet, we need to get the bio up without a picture.

We understand if there is a reason your foster dog is not yet ready for adoption, because of things such as heart worm treatment, or hospice care. All exceptions like these must be approved by either Bonnie or Robin.

For reimbursement, fax or mail copies of the shelter rescue fee (if any) and vet bills to Small Paws® Rescue, Inc. within 90 days.

Fax: 918-445-5136

Small Paws® Rescue
%Robin Pressnall
3316 S. 72nd W. Ave.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74107

In case of emergency, you may call Robin’s cell phone: 1-918-638-5854

We do need the vet bills turned in as soon as possible. Bills need to be submitted to us within 90 days for payment. If they are older then that, we won’t be able to pay them.

We’ve had a couple of bills come through the fax that were not readable. If we can’t read the bill, we can’t pay it. Bad copies don’t fax well and should be mailed.

Also please be sure the dogs are sent out to their new homes with a harness on. We are trying to encourage our adopters to use harnesses on our rescued Bichons.


If you find someone who wants to adopt your rescue, have him or her fill out the online Small Paws® Rescue application as soon as possible to get him or her approved.

Small Paws® Rescue Pre-adoption Application

Please read our “Home Visits” policy. Small Paws Rescue: Home Visits Policy We do not do home visits. We have other ways of screening that we believe are much more in depth, and have become tried and true over the years.

If YOU want to adopt the dog, let us know ASAP! Foster Parents always have first choice!

All Small Paws dogs must be clean, before they are sent to the new adoptive homes. Small Paws will pay for professional grooming. The condition in which your foster dog arrives to the adoptive parents, is a direct reflection of our organization.
Grooming Check List:
Ears should be clean and free of odor.
Nails should be trimmed.
Coat should be clean and brushed.
Eye area should be clean.

Be prepared to stay in touch with the adoptive family, if close to you, to assure both the humans and the dog are happy.

Assure the family they can call you if they have any questions or problems. Make a copy of everything done at the vet’s and at the shelter, a copy of the certificate of sterility and copy of the certificate of Rabies vaccine. The originals should go to the adoptive parent, as they will need this when getting the license.

Questions to ask shelter about your rescue:

  1. Ask for all history they have on your rescue: _______________________
  2. What do they provide in the adoption fee:
  3. Shots _______________________________________________
  4. License Yes No
  5. Micro chip Yes No
  6. Neuter/Spay Yes No

After you get your rescue home and settled in:

  1. Vet appointment
  2. Remove sutures Yes No
  3. Heartworm check
  4. Teeth evaluated
  5. General health
  6. Take pictures and get them e-mailed or snail mailed to Small Paws® ASAP

Enjoy socializing, loving and training your rescue. Watch it flourish under your care.



If you wish to be a Small Paws® Volunteer follow this link to our online application form.