WHAT IS A CONSULTANT?
A consultant is a newly formed role on the Retrievers team that helps us handle cases more efficiently. The idea is that a consultant helps get the case started in the right direction by guiding the owner during the critical awareness stage. Because this guidance is provided by phone, text, email or Facebook message, the consultant can help any dog, anywhere, enabling cases to be handled quicker because they don’t depend on the availability of a case manager who’s geographically close by.
WHAT DOES A CONSULTANT DO?
If the dog has not been seen since going missing, the case is handled by a consultant, who guides the owner during the awareness phase. The consultant calls the owner, introduces themselves as their primary contact for the Retrievers. They make sure the owner is working on signs and discuss where they should be distributed. They prepare a Google map with suggested sign locations and send the owner a link. They also let the owner know that help is available through the community, and recommend they join our community support Facebook group to reach out for local volunteers.
(Behind the scenes, awareness coordinators on the team are sharing flyers for the dog online in the immediate community where the dog went missing. Other team members called “sleuthhounds” are scouring found dog listings on social media and in shelters.)
In a day or two, the consultant checks back in with the owner to make sure that the signs are being deployed. Throughout the awareness phase, the consultant and owner are in close contact, planning when and how to expand sign/flyer awareness if there have not been any sightings. The consultant may request that the awareness coordinator expand online awareness outward to extended communities and that the sleuthhound continue to search for the dog online.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THERE’S A CONFIRMED SIGHTING?
The consultant coaches the owner on how to respond to a sighting, i.e., using calming signals, avoiding eye contact, not calling out or approaching the dog, etc. If the dog cannot be caught by hand, the consultant informs the team that the case is ready for a case manager. The consultant introduces the owner to the case manager, who arranges to deploy a monitored feeding station. if the dog continues to come to the feeding station, a trap is deployed and the dog captured. If there is no case manager near enough to put boots on the ground, a case manager provides remote consultation on building a trap, improvising an enclosure or devising other creative methods for capturing the dog.
WHAT IF THE DOG DISAPPEARS AGAIN?
If the dog is seen once and then not again regularly, the consultant continues to work with the owner to strategically move signs and build awareness in the area where the dog may have gone. The case manager is re-engaged when there is another confirmed sighting.
CAN A CONSULTANT ALSO BE A CASE MANAGER?
Yes, you can perform both roles if you like. But just remember that fewer than 20% of our cases progress to a feeding station/trapping scenario. Once it does, though, it’s a time-intensive process. Consultants work on a rotation, meaning that cases are taken by each in turn. Be aware that you’ll still need to stay in the rotation as a consultant and handle other cases while you work on trapping the dog, so be wary about trying to take on too much.
- The consultant is the main point of contact for the client during the awareness phase.
- As soon as possible after the initial First Responder call, the consultant makes contact with the owner and works out a plan for raising awareness of the lost dog. Methods include providing Retrievers intersection signs for the owner to pick up, or providing a link to a tutorial showing how the owner can make their own.
- The consultant informs the owner that sign inserts and flyers will be delivered by the graphics designer for them to print and use.
- The consultant creates a Google Map and indicates a radius where signs should be placed.
- The consultant explains what else is being done behind the scenes by the Retrievers, i.e., social media sharing by an awareness coordinator and shelter/listing searches by a sleuthhound.
- The consultant provides a link to a Facebook page where the owner can ask for help from volunteers in their community.
- Because there is no need for geographic proximity to the case, consultants work on a rotating basis, taking the next case in line regardless of location.
- The consultant monitors the case thread to ensure that supplemental support is being covered, i.e., social media shares by the AC are being reported along with a search report from the sleuthhound.
- The consultant works with the owner until the dog is found and hand-caught, or until sightings indicate the need for a trap. The consultant then notifies the Intake Coordinator to upgrade the case to Level II (Feeding Station/Trapping Phase).
- The consultant may be called upon to restart awareness efforts with the owner if the dog leaves the area and is no longer being seen.
- Throughout the case, the consultant provides status updates on the dog’s case thread in the Retrievers’ Den
- Ability to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours a week
- Self-starter, good problem-solver and highly self-motivated
- Active Facebook account
- Above-average computer skills
- Familiarity with Google Maps
- Comfortable using social media
- Excellent communication and interpersonal relationship skills
- Knowledge of lost dog awareness methods and lost dog behavior
- Strict adherence to client and team confidentiality
- Enjoy working as part of a team
- Located within the State of Minnesota or in a neighboring state within 50 miles of state line
- Attendance at the team’s annual meeting held in the greater Twin Cities metro area
- Highly flexible schedule
- Assist on the ground with feeding station maintenance, trap monitoring and ground searches
- Help out at occasional Retrievers public events