Volunteer FAQs

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First, read the description of these volunteer opportunities HERE. If you think your circumstances are well suited for one or both of these roles, fill out the Furlough Volunteer application and upload it to the website or send it to volunteers@retrievingindependence.org. Once your application has been submitted, our Volunteer Coordinator will contact you to advise you of the next steps.

Furlough Volunteers must complete two 3-hour classes. These classes are usually offered quarterly on two consecutive Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. These classes take place in Brentwood or Nashville. The scheduling of these classes is based on our need for volunteers and may not always be offered quarterly. Additional training may be required of volunteers to maintain volunteer status as new training needs are identified.

Puppy Raisers must complete the above-described Furlough Volunteer training in addition to a 3-hour puppy-raising class and up to three additional hands-on, basic- dog-training classes with the puppy.

Training classes are offered based on our need for new volunteers. Everyone at Retrieving Independence is a volunteer, even our staff. We try to offer classes in a way that best meets the needs of Retrieving Independence while maximizing our available resources.

We ask volunteers to furlough a dog at least once or twice a month to remain an active volunteer. Each one of our dogs have a team of two or three volunteers. It is important for volunteers to work as a team to make sure each dog gets out for socialization on regular furloughs.

Dogs are picked up in Brentwood, TN at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoons and dropped off at the same location at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. Our organization is entirely made up of volunteers. Those who drive the bus to bring the dogs in and out for weekend furloughs are also volunteers. It is imperative that our Furlough Volunteers have a schedule that allows them to be on time for furlough pick-ups and drop-offs in consideration of those who drive the bus.

No. If you do not have a fenced yard, all outings with the dog must be on-leash.

Yes, other pets are acceptable as long as long as they have a proven track record for being friendly to unfamiliar dogs.

Yes. We highly recommend discussing this volunteer position with your landlord prior to signing up to be a volunteer.

Yes. We always have needs for other volunteers. We need bus drivers and bus washers, fundraisers, marketers, handy-persons to assemble dog activity centers & rearrange bus seating, classroom helpers during training camps, and document transcribers for updating training manuals and other documents. Tell us what your skills are. We may have a need for them too. If you are interested “other” volunteer opportunities please contact us at volunteers@retrievingindependence.org, tell us a little about yourself and ways you are interested in volunteering. Or fill out the supplemental volunteer application HERE.