Scheduling & Shift Changes

MEDICAL TEAM - DO NOT MISS THE SHIFT YOU ARE ASSIGNED TO WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE. If there is a no-show to a shift, one warning will be given, and dismissal from the team will follow if it happens again. As individuals responsible for critically ill patients, you are expected to take this position as seriously as you would your job. Thank you for understanding how important this position is!


Shifts are everyday at 8am and 7pm. Shifts generally last somewhere between 1-4 hours, which is dependent on how many dogs are in the ICU, how many volunteers are signed up for the shift, and how efficiently the volunteers work.

Just like a hospital never closes on holidays, neither does Parvo Puppy ICU. We are open year round. However, sometimes (rarely) we don’t have any patients in the ICU. See the Empty ICU Protocol when this occurs.

Sick (Non-emergency)

Please contact the parvo team and manager ASAP if you have a shift coming up and are becoming ill. Please keep in mind that this should only be reserved for situations including the following; you require bed rest, you would have to call in sick for work, you wouldn't be able to study for an upcoming test, you wouldn't be able to go to a family member's wedding. If any of these would not apply in your case, you're expected to come to your shift (once again, the puppies and team really depend on you once you've made a commitment to a shift) unless you're able to give 48 hours notice for a shift change. You can make a request to change shifts, but if unable to find a replacement, expect to go to your shift!


Prior to Shift

If an emergency arises before your scheduled shift, please notify the team manager independently (text or call them to ensure they get your message), and email the parvo team to ask for shift coverage. If possible, please try to trade.

During Shift

If an emergency arises during your shift, you should finish up all patients you are currently working on and ensure that everything is marked on their medical chart. Let your co-volunteers know that you have to leave due to an emergency and which patients you have treated. If you are absolutely unable to finish the dogs you are working on, you must 'round' your co-volunteers - let them know exactly what has been done and what still needs to be done. Mark on the chart everything that has been done. This is absolutely essential so that patients do not miss their medications or get double dosed with medications. Remember, double dosing can be deadly and under-dosing can result in the patient declining. 'Rounding' should take less than 5 minutes.

Other Non-Emergencies

You must give the parvo manager 48 hours notice if you need to change or be taken off your shift. If your shift is within 48 hours, you must find your own replacement via email and/or phone. If you cannot find a replacement, you must come into your shift. Missing a shift without replacement for a non-emergency is inexcusable. Remember, the Parvo ICU does not have staff on-call to treat if volunteers are unavailable. The puppies' lives depend on you, and you must be considerate to your co-volunteers. Failure to show up to your shift more than once with a non-emergent excuse will result in the removal from the medical team. You may redeem yourself back into the medical team if you can prove your commitment to the puppies while working on the Care team, also determined by the team manager. Missing two shifts will result in dismissal from the parvo team.

Staying Active

Active Volunteers

  • You must be volunteering at least one shift per week, or two shifts per week during your first 6 months (unless the parvo team manager has made a special arrangement with you).
    • Students - if you know you're going to have too many tests in a certain week and know you won't be able to volunteer at all, please tell your team manager two weeks in advance. (Lots of people tend to have a lot of tests on the same week and special arrangements with staff must be made to fill the schedule).
    • Need a week off? - Notify the team manager when you're going out of town or when you need a week off.
    • Vacation - If gone for three or more weeks, you will go into the inactive status. Contact me when you're back to get back on the schedule, and depending on how long and how regularly you've been a volunteer for, the team manager may have you do a one-shift re-training.
  • You must submit your availability between thursday- saturday before 10pm. If you get your work schedule for the following week after Sunday at 5pm, please let your team manager know, and submit your schedule ASAP.

Inactive Volunteers

  • You haven't been volunteering for the past three weeks or more.
  • If you don't submit availability for two weeks straight, you will be considered inactive, and will have to contact me before going back on the schedule.
  • If you fail to notify the manager about taking time off more than one time, you may be removed from the team.
  • To become active again, you must email me stating you are ready to become an active volunteer again and must commit to at least three months as an active volunteer before becoming inactive again. Please check your schedule and really think about this commitment before you make it!
  • You may need to retrain for a few shifts before becoming active again.