Volunteering Frequently Asked Questions

Even if you can’t adopt one of our Brookline Labs, you can be a vital part of our organization by joining our network of volunteer foster homes, helping us find good homes and adopters for our Labs, evaluating dogs that are being surrendered, or assisting us with fundraising, attending events, checking references, transporting dogs and more.

What would being a Brookline volunteer entail? Read on!

How do I become a volunteer?
Brookline volunteers go through a similar application process and home visit as our adoption applicants. If you would like to become a Brookline volunteer, please first confirm that you are in our coverage area by emailing us at Info@BrooklineLabRescue.org to let us know of your interest in volunteering and to provide us with your full address, including zip code. Once we confirm coverage, you can then fill out our Online Application or print and mail our application form.

How do I learn more about becoming a volunteer foster home?
Brookline does not have a kennel or shelter facility where our Labs are housed. We rely on our network of volunteer foster homes to open their hearts and their homes to Labs who find themselves without a home and to care for those Labs until we are able to match them with their forever family. Please refer to the Foster section of our website for more information on becoming a volunteer foster home.

If I’m unable to foster, what other activities can volunteers do?
Brookline needs volunteers in many different areas of responsibility. The following is a partial list of what our volunteers do:

  • Conduct home evaluations for potential adopters, volunteer foster homes and volunteers
  • Check an applicant’s references
  • Answer emails and phone inquiries
  • Help an adoptive family transition with their new dog
  • Finalize adoptions
  • Conduct dog evaluations (in homes and at shelters)
  • Transport rescued Labs to their volunteer foster home, to introductions with their adoptive family, or to fundraising events where they can have exposure to potential adopters
  • Assist volunteer foster homes in introducing their foster dog and resident dog(s)
  • Staff the Brookline booth at local fundraising events
  • Help make some of the homemade goods we sell at events
  • Hang Brookline flyers (as you run your errands)
  • Make donation requests to local merchants
  • Staff one of our committees (public relations, fundraising, volunteer support and special events)
  • Handle public speaking opportunities

What is involved in conducting a home evaluation?A new volunteer initially trains to conduct home evaluations under the guidance of a trained volunteer using Brookline’s evaluation forms until such time as a volunteer has been approved to conduct home evaluations independently. The volunteer will make an appointment to go to an applicant’s home. For prospective adopters, the volunteer will talk with the applicant about the kind of dog they are looking for and the Labs we currently have available. At the same time, the volunteer will evaluate the home environment to make sure that it is appropriate for the kind of Lab in which the people are interested. The volunteer will ask questions regarding the family’s experience level with dogs, their lifestyle, how the dog will be exercised, where the dog will sleep, what the family will do if their new dog doesn’t get along with their cat, and similar questions. Our goal is always to make sure the dog and home are a good fit. Following the home visit, the volunteer will check the applicant’s references and submit a report to Brookline’s Approval Committee. If the family is approved to adopt through Brookline, the volunteer will then work with the family to help match them with a suitable Lab and schedule an introduction. A similar process is followed for applicants who are interested in being volunteer foster homes or volunteers.

What is involved in doing a dog evaluation?
Just as Brookline evaluates its applicants, our volunteers also evaluate each Lab coming into our rescue. We want to have a good idea of the dog’s background and temperament before we try to match the dog with a family. Dog evaluations are typically done wherever the dog is currently residing – in the surrendering owner’s home or sometimes in a shelter. All dog evaluations are done under the guidance of a trained volunteer using Brookline’s evaluation forms until such time as a volunteer has been approved to conduct dog evaluations independently. The volunteer will make an appointment to visit the location and spend about an hour with the dog, looking specifically at the dog’s surroundings and interviewing the dog’s caretakers about his or her behavior, likes and dislikes. The volunteer will ask about health issues, find out the dog’s routine and also give the Lab a “pop quiz” on obedience training. Following the evaluation, a report is made to Brookline’s Approval Committee and a decision is made as to whether or not we will accept that particular Lab for placement through our rescue. While we turn away very few Labs in need, we will not accept dogs with aggression issues.

What fundraising activities can I assist with?
Brookline is a 100% volunteer organization and we rely on donations and special events to fund our efforts. We participate in many pet related events throughout our coverage areas at which we sell donated or homemade merchandise, such as tennis balls, dog treats, bandannas, tug toys, car magnets and T-shirts. These events also provide us with an opportunity to educate the public about Brookline and rescue work, in general. Since Brookline receives 100% of the proceeds from these events, we rely on these events to generate most of the funds we use each year to support our rescue work. We are always seeking volunteers to staff these events or even to make some of the goods we sell.

Are there any benefits to volunteering?
Your volunteer work will make a difference in the lives of our Labs. And remember, when you give the gift of your time, you’ll get back as much as you give – maybe even more! A few of the benefits of volunteering include the following:

  • Be part of the solution. You’ll join a network of local Lab lovers working to make our communities more humane for all living creatures. You’ll make the jobs of everyone working for Brookline a little easier by lending a hand and spreading the message of responsible pet ownership.
  • Get the warm fuzzies. You’ll never find a more grateful and accepting comrade than an animal you have comforted. Who can’t use another loyal supporter in life?
  • Keep good company. You’ll make lots of new friends, and not just the four-legged kind. Working side by side with people who share similar interests can forge lifelong friendships.
  • Meet the new you. You’ll discover skills that you never knew you had. You may be surprised at what you are capable of achieving. You can be all that you never knew you could be.
  • Gain new career skills. You’ll learn things that they just don’t teach in school – working with others for a common goal. Employers look favorably on time spent in volunteer service.
  • Enjoy a wagging tail and smile. Didn’t someone once say that the best things in life are free?