A first responder is the initial contact that an owner has with the team after they submit a Request for Assistance.


The first responder calls the client as soon as possible after a Request for Assistance (RA) has been received. They provide calm reassurance to owners who are often distraught and help them focus on what steps they should be taking. 


While both roles provide information to the owner, the first responder’s job is done after the first call. The consultant maintains contact throughout the awareness phase and provides strategies as the case progresses and conditions change.


  • Once the Request for Assistance has been posted to The Retrievers Den, comment on the thread indicating you will be making first contact.
  • Initial contact should be conducted by phone and cover the following topics:
    • Review of “Engaging with The Retrievers” document
    • Review of the Lost Dog Action Plan
    • Inform the client about our equipment deposit policy, should trapping be needed
    • Encourage building of intersection signs and fliers
    • Encourage joining our Hands-On Help (HOH) Facebook page, where owners can solicit community help with making signs, etc.
      • Suggest that owners include the link to HOH whenever they share their dog online, especially on local community pages and groups
    • Encourage posting to Lost Dogs of Minnesota (or other applicable state Facebook page)
    • Encourage contact with local shelters and impounds
    • Encourage tracking of sightings via a written list or Google maps
    • Inform the client that a consultant or case manager will be assigned in the next 48 hours.
    • Assure the client that the Retrievers are working behind the scenes, spreading awareness online and searching for their dog in found dog listings
  • After the phone call, a follow-up email should be sent as soon as possible that includes:
    • Files for printing intersection sign inserts
    • A link to the Hands-On Help Facebook group
    • “Engaging with the Retrievers” document
    • Lost Dog Action Plan document
    • “How to Build Intersection Signs” infographic or link to video tutorial
  • Post a short synopsis of the information you gathered from the client to give the soon-to-be-assigned consultant or case manager a head-start, providing any updated information that was not included in the RA.


  • Ability to volunteer a minimum of 10 hours a week
  • Ability to respond to Request for Assistance form submissions in a timely manner
  • Facebook account and strong social media skills
  • Highly computer savvy
  • Self-starter and highly motivated
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal relationship skills
  • Comprehensive knowledge of dog behavior
  • Strict adherence to client and team confidentiality
  • Ability to lead in a crisis situation
  • Tolerant of intermittent periods of stress and ability to work quickly
  • Enjoy working as part of a team
  • Attendance at the team’s annual meeting held in the greater Twin Cities metro area


  • Assist on the ground with feeding station maintenance, trap monitoring and ground searches 
  • Help out at occasional Retrievers public events