This guide will help you to find your way around Rescue Helpers Unite. If the information you are looking for is not here, please post in the Help section or contact staff who will be happy to assist you in any way they can.
Thanks for joining RHU! Please come and say 'Hi' in the New Members Introductions section so we can get to know you... you can say as little or as much as you like!
If you're new to RHU or forums in general, you'll want to take a look at your User Control Panel and familiarise yourself with the tools there (on the left there is a list of things you can do such as create a private message, manage your subscribed threads etc.)
The volunteer databases
We use the volunteer databases to keep a record of what people can help with in each area. The databases are organised by county and within each county there are sections for homechecking, transporting, fostering & microchipping.
Once your details are listed in the database we will contact you via private message any time a rescue requests help in your area.
(*If you're unsure on how to add your info don't worry as this will be done for you if you've answered yes to the transporting, homechecking or fostering questions in your user profile)
Please fill in the counties and sections in which you can offer assistance. Please note that you do need to fill out a template for each different service (home check, transport, fostering)
If you are temporarily unavailable (e.g. ill health, car off the road etc.) or no longer able to help for any reason please add a note to your profile and/or contact staff so that we can change your database entry accordingly (if possible please send a link to the database entries to help us to do it quicker.)
If you're new to homechecking and want to get some experience, post in the tag-along needed thread and we'll do our best to match you up with an experienced homechecker in your area who can take you along on a homecheck
(*Note: Sorry, due to high demand we have struggled to keep on top of the tag-alongs needed thread.
Please post on any specific homechecks needed in your area and let us know you'd like to tag-along. Let us know if you'd like to sign up for email notifications of homechecks in your area. We do have plans to improve this system as soon as possible.)
OR - browse the homechecks needed section to see if any are being in organised in your area, and post on the thread to ask if you could tag-along.
If possible, please tag-along on at least a couple of homechecks before going solo.
After the homecheck - important notes
Once the homecheck is done it's important that you forward on the homecheck report details as soon as possible (most rescues will provide a sheet for you to fill in) either by post or email. It's important to be quick as sometimes adopters will go elsewhere if they're kept waiting, and this could mean an animal missing out on a new home.
It's also important that you keep all personal details private including the name and address of the adopters and the results of the homecheck. Due to data protection requirements these details should not be shared with anyone except the rescue that has requested the homecheck. Only share details with third parties if you are sure that the rescue and the adopter has agreed with this.
If you offer assistance on a transport run, please ensure you have all relevant details before commencing the run. You should have all details from any transporter that you are meeting such as vehicle details, meeting points etc. Please also check that you are following the Rescue's guidelines for safe transporting.
If you're new to RHU and are interested in fostering, you can browse the 'Fostering needed' section to see if there's any suitable animals that you can help (many can be transported so don't worry if they're not in your immediate local area).
You can also put up a post in the 'Volunteer Help Offered' section to let rescues know you're on the look out to foster.
Also, if you take a look in the rescue directory you can contact rescues in your local area to let them know you'd like to foster.
Feel free to ask if you have any other queries, we're here to help
All fosterers need to be homechecked
If you wish to become a fosterer you will need to have a successful home check first. Usually rescues will organise this as and when required. You can also ask for one yourself in the volunteer help offered section, but please note that some rescues will require a fresh homecheck to be done prior to fostering for them, especially if it's been a while since the original homecheck.
It is the responsibility of any member who offers to foster any animal to ensure that the Rescue has full insurance cover for you, the animals in your care and the premises where the animals are kept, for example, your own home. It is your responsibilty to check that the Rescue you are fostering for has the proper procedures in place.
Fostering is a rewarding but sometimes emotional job and you should think carefully before offering your home as a foster home to ensure that it is right for you and your family.
For every transport, homecheck, foster etc. volunteers undertake via RHU, you can have an RHU Case Point added to your profile.
If you've taken part in a rescue case via RHU you can post here to have an RHU Case Point added to your profile (RHU staff will add the point for you)
Note: RHU Case Points are just for fun and shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's a way of keeping track of your cases and showing other members of the community how many times you've been able to help an animal via RHU.
To register your rescue you need to fill in the Policies & Procedures template at the link above. (Please add your Rescues name as the post title)
Without filling this in you will not have the ability to post requests for help with things such as transport, homechecks and fostering.
Once you have added your Rescue policies post, staff will review the post and if successful your usergroup will be changed to 'Rescue Staff'.
(Please be patient after submitting your rescue details as all RHU staff are unpaid volunteers and the amount of time we have available to process applications can vary from day to day. Most applications are processed within 24 hours but this cannot be guaranteed.)
*Please can all rescue reps ensure that the name of their rescue (and a link if possible) is added to their signature (more info)*
How to add other members as Rescue Staff or Rescue Helpers
To add other forum members as 'Rescue Staff' or 'Rescue Helpers' please post (or ask them to post) on your rescue policies thread. RHU Administrators will update the members usergroup as soon as possible.
Volunteer Help Needed:
Once your rescue has been approved you will be able to post requests for homechecks, transport & fostering.
Animals needing homes posts are viewable to registered users AND to the public via our forum/website.
Fundraising & Appeals:
Please feel free to post your events and appeals in our fundraising and appeals section. You can also request volunteer assistance with fundraising/events here.
You can also post your events in our Rescue Events Calendar which is viewable by forum members and the general public (unregistered users).
Please fill in our templates when requesting help, providing all the information requested. Please also note that in the request sections only Rescue Staff and Rescue Helpers can post new threads.
Please read our guidelines before posting. Any requests that you post on RHU are your responsibilty, and we ask that you keep them as up to date as possible.
Please update when a homecheck has been completed or a foster home found or an animal has been rehomed etc.
It is also very important that transport requests are kept up to date by the posting Rescue, and all volunteers have all relevant information before the run commences. Please ensure that all Reps know your guidelines for transporting the animal safely and securely so they can answer any volunteer queries.
Pound Helpers are people who work with a dog 'pound' to help dogs get in to Rescues. Pound Helpers can request help from volunteers on RHU.
If you're a pound helper and you're new to RHU please post your info here and we will then change your usergroup to Pound Helper giving you some extra permissions on the forum.
Some pound helper organisations also occassionally rehome a dog themselves - if this applies to your organisation, please ensure you are working to our Rescue Requirements.
Along with posting animals needing backup, Pound Helpers can request help from volunteers with: - transport
But Pound Helpers cannot request fostering or homechecks - to reqiest help with these items your organisation will need to request Rescue status OR Rescue Associate status if posting on behalf of rescues working to our rescue requirements. Please feel free to contact RHU Staff if you have any queries on this.
Finding a rescue to take in a poundie (aka rescue back up):
'RHU Helpers' deal with requests from rescues (for transport, homechecks, foster etc) and contact volunteers to see if they can help. They also help to answer members queries and contribute to the general running of the forum.
RHU Helpers start on a trial period (anything from approx 2-8 weeks) and if everyone's happy, are then promoted to full Helper.
RHU Moderators & Global Moderators
'RHU Moderators' do everything that RHU Helpers do, but they also have added responsibilities in terms of helping with the general management of RHU, helping to deal with questions, complaints and concerns we receive from members etc.
'RHU Admins' are responsible for the general management tasks of RHU such as approving new members, approving rescues, dealing with questions, complaints and concerns from members, recruiting and assisting RHU Staff etc. and day to day running of the forum.
We ask that all RHU Staff make an effort to come online as much as possible, preferably daily but we understand if this is not always possible.
If you'd be interested in joining the Staff team please feel free to contact us.
If you want to keep track of specific threads you can subscribe to a thread by using the 'Thread Tools' dropdown menu near the top of the thread, then choosing the 'Subscribe to thread' option, then you can keep track of them via your Subscribed Threads page:
There's also some links to Your Posts and Your Threads (posts and threads you have made) in the navigation bar near the top of the forum.
How to change the email address or password on your account
Your email address and password can be edited from the Edit Email & Password page in your User Control Panel.
If you have any problems please feel free to contact us in the contacting staff section and we can help you.
How to remove your details from the volunteer databases or close your account
If you're no longer able to help we can remove your details from the Volunteer Databases so that you are not contacted when help is needed in the area - or alternatively if you would like to close your account on the forum completely - please let us know in the contacting staff section and we will sort it out for you as soon as possible.
IMPORTANT - Please tell us whether you just want to be removed from the volunteer databases so you're not contacted about rescue requests in your area, or - if you'd prefer to have your whole account deactivated. By default we will just remove your name from the databases so your account will remain active and you're able to be re-added if you'd like to continue helping in the future.
How to report inappropriate or offensive posts
You will find 'Report' links in many places throughout the board. These links allow you to alert the board staff to anything which you find to be offensive, objectionable or illegal.
To the left of a post you will see this icon - - this is the 'report post' button.
How to add individual members to your 'ignore list'
Can I block posts, emails and messages from specific users?
If there are particular members that bother you and you do not want to see their posts or receive Private Messages and Emails from them, then you can add these members to your 'Ignore List':
In your User Control Panel using the menu on the left of the page: Settings & Options > Edit Ignore List. Then, type their name into the empty text box and click 'Okay'.
PM or PMs = Private Message or Private Messages
RBU = Rescue backup
EB = Emergency boarding (when an animal is put in to kennels/temporary accommodation as a matter of emergency)
Cookies are a kind of short term memory for the web. They are stored in your browser and enable a site to 'remember' little bits of information between pages or visits.
New to RHU? Find out more about how our system works
When you registered your account, you told us your location and whether or not you can transport, homecheck or foster.
We use this information to add you to our volunteer databases (these can be found near the bottom of the forum home page):
When animal rescues need help with transporting, homechecking or fostering, they post their requests on the forum, in the relevant sections (these can also be found on the forum home page):
RHU Staff then check the volunteer databases and send a PM (Private Message) to all the volunteers located where the help is needed.
As a volunteer, you will receive a PM that says something along the lines of 'can you help you with this transport?' and it will include a link to the rescue request. You can click that link to reply and let us know whether or not you can help.