Policies - Pawsitivity Service Dogs

Each following policies have been asked of us. 

What is your Budget Review Policy?

Board of directors shall approve organization's budget for the current fiscal year.


What is your Performance Goals and Assessment Policy?

Amended 7/23/17: The board shall set performance goals of sound financial practices and dog health, and conduct a performance assessment with the chief executive with the criteria of submitting an annual report and answering all questions from the board of directors. 


What is your Impact of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Efforts Policy?

Amended 6/23/17

In support diversity, equity, and inclusion, the nonprofit reflects and includes the population it serves, including race/ethnicity, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, gender identity, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, and military status.

What is your Board of DIrectors roster?

Dr. Kris Butler, President

Dr. Michelle Parkinson, Vice President

Dave Mackmiller, Treasurer

Julie Coleman, CPDT-KA, Acting Secretary

What is your Whistleblower Policy?

Pawsitivity Service Dogs - Whistleblower Policy

Amended 7/31/17: Employees may bring their concerns directly to the board.

The organization is committed to operating in furtherance of its tax-exempt purposes and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, including those concerning accounting and auditing, and prohibits fraudulent practices by any of its board members, officers, employees, or volunteers.  This policy outlines a procedure for employees to report actions that an employee reasonably believes violates a law, or regulation or that constitutes fraudulent accounting or other practices.  This policy applies to any matter which is related to the organization's business and does not relate to private acts of an individual not connected to the business of the organization.

If an employee has a reasonable belief that an employee or the organization has engaged in any action that violates any applicable law, or regulation, including those concerning accounting and auditing, or constitutes a fraudulent practice, the employee is expected to immediately report such information to the Executive Director.  If the employee does not feel comfortable reporting the information to the Executive Director, he or she is expected to report the information to the appropriate position.

All reports will be followed up promptly, and an investigation conducted.  In conducting its investigations, the organization will strive to keep the identity of the complaining individual as confidential as possible, while conducting an adequate review and investigation. 

The organization will not retaliate against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment because that employee:  (a) reports to a supervisor, to the executive director, the Board of Directors or to a federal, state or local agency what the employee believes in good faith to be a violation of the law; or (b) participates in good faith in any resulting investigation or proceeding, or (c) exercises his or her rights under any state or federal law(s) or regulation(s) to pursue a claim or take legal action to protect the employee’s rights.

The organization may take disciplinary action (up to and including termination) against an employee who in management’s assessment has engaged in retaliatory conduct in violation of this policy.

[In addition, the organization will not, with the intent to retaliate, take any action harmful to any employee who has provided to law enforcement personnel or a court truthful information relating to the commission or possible commission by the organization or any of its employees of a violation of any applicable law or regulation.]

Supervisors will be trained on this policy and the organization's prohibition against retaliation in accordance with this policy.


What is your Document Retention Policy?

Document Retention Policy

Amended by the board 7/31/17: "The guideline for destroying documents once they reach the end of the retention period is: A. Write down the names of the old documents, B. Shred the old documents."

Amended by the Board 9/28/14 

The corporate records of Pawsitivity Service Dogs and its subsidiaries (hereafter the “Pawsitivity Service Dogs”) are important assets. Corporate records include essentially all records you produce as an employee, whether paper or electronic. A record may be as obvious as a memorandum, an e-mail, a contract or a case study, or something not as obvious, such as a computerized desk calendar, an appointment book or an expense record. 

Guidelines for destroying documents once they reach the end of the retention period.

The retention period for key governing, legal and financial documents (i.e. a retention schedule)





     –FIXED ASSETS ~ Permanently

     –GENERAL ~ 7 years

     –PAYROLL ~ 7 years

     –TAXES (payroll related) ~ 7 years

     –TAXES (income) ~ Permanently



–CHART OF ACCOUNTS ~ Permanently

–CORRESPONDENCE (general) ~ 2 years





–FIXED ASSET RECORDS (invoices, canceled checks, depreciation schedules) ~ Permanently


–GENERAL JOURNAL ~ Permanently

–GENERAL LEDGER ~ Permanently

–INTERNAL REPORTS (miscellaneous) ~ 3 years










–PURCHASES ~ 7 years







–SCRAP AND SALVAGE RECORDS (inventories, sales, etc.) ~ 7 years


–SUBSIDIARY LEDGERS (accounts receivable, accounts payable, equipment) ~ 7 years




–VOUCHERS FOR PAYMENTS TO VENDORS, EMPLOYEES, ETC. (includes allowances and reimbursement of employees, officers, etc., for travel and entertainment expenses) ~ 7 years


–ACCIDENT REPORTS AND SETTLED CLAIMS ~ 7 years after settlement


–INSURANCE POLICIES (still in effect) ~ Permanently

–INSURANCE POLICIES (expired) ~ 7 years





–CONTRACTS AND LEASES (still in effect) ~ Permanently

–CONTRACTS AND LEASES (expired) ~ 7 years



–MINUTES ~ Permanently

–OPTION RECORDS (expired) ~ 7 years












–EMPLOYMENT APPLICATION (from date of termination) ~ 3 years

–EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION (I-9 form) (from date of termination) ~ 3 years



–PERSONNEL FILES (from date of termination) ~ 7 years











–INFORMATION RETURNS (form 5500) ~ Permanently




Guidelines for destroying documents once the documents reach the end of the retention period:

  1. Paper or electronic documents indicated under the termsfor retention will be transferred and maintained by Treasurer. 
  2. All other paper documents will be destroyed after three years; 
  3. All other electronic documents will be deleted from all individual computers, data bases, networks, and back-up storage after one year; 
  4. No paper or electronic documents will be destroyed or deleted if pertinent to any ongoing or anticipated government investigation or proceeding or private litigation; and 
  5. No paper or electronic documents will be destroyed or deleted as required to comply with government auditing standards (Single Audit Act).  

The law requires Pawsitivity Service Dogs to maintain certain types of corporate records, usually for a specified period of time. Failure to retain those records for those minimum periods could subject you and Pawsitivity Service Dogs to penalties and fines, cause the loss of rights, obstruct justice, spoil potential evidence in a lawsuit, place Pawsitivity Service Dogs in contempt of court, or seriously disadvantage Pawsitivity Service Dogs in litigation.

Pawsitivity Service Dogs expect all employees to fully comply with any published records retention or destruction policies and schedules, provided that all employees should note the following general exception to any stated destruction schedule: If you believe, or Pawsitivity Service Dogs informs you, that Company records are relevant to litigation, or potential litigation (i.e., a dispute that could result in litigation), then you must preserve those records until the Legal Department determines the records are no longer needed. That exception supersedes any previously or subsequently established destruction schedule for those records. If you believe that exception may apply, or have any question regarding the possible applicability of that exception, please contact a Board Member.


What is your Discontinue Contact Policy?

Discontinue Contact Policy

Amended by the Board 9/28/14

  1. Policy: It is the policy of the Pawsitivity to discontinue contacting any person upon that person’s oral or written request directed to the organization, its professional fundraiser, or other agent.

Pawsitivity shall maintain a record of all requests by persons who indicate to Pawsitivity, its professional fundraiser, and other agents, that they do not wish to be contacted by or on behalf of Pawsitivity.

  1. Limitation: Contact by Pawsitivity that is solicited by a person whose name appears on "do not contact" list shall be limited to providing a direct response to the person’s inquiry and shall not cause the person’s name to be removed from the "do not contact" list.
  2. Procedure: Upon a person’s (or a person’s authorized representative’s) request that Pawsitivity discontinue further contacts, the person’s name and address will be promptly removed from Pawsitivity’s database or modified to insure that no further contact is made with the person. Pawsitivity will also take steps to insure that the person’s name is removed from any external databases or records under Pawsitivity’s control, with the exception of social networking sites, which must be done by the person.
  3. Permanent Record: Pawsitivity will maintain a record of all requests for discontinuance of contacts, effective with the adoption of this policy by Pawsitivity’s board of directors. Oral requests will be recorded in writing by the staff of Pawsitivity and maintained with the written requests. The records of persons who have made such a request will be maintained by Pawsitivity to the extent necessary for legal or liability purposes.

Adopted by majority of the board of directors of Pawsitivity on September 28, 2014.

What are your Bylaws?

BYLAWS OF Pawsitivity Service Dogs

Amended 9/25/2015, see bolded items

Amended, see underlined item

The undersigned incorporator(s) is an (are) individual(s) 18 years of age or older and adopt the following articles of incorporation to form a nonprofit corporation (Chapter 317A).


Section 1: Name: The name of the organization shall be Pawsitivity, dba Pawsitivity Service Dogs for Veterans. It shall be a nonprofit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Minnesota

Section 2: Purpose: Pawsitivity Service Dogs is organized exclusively for charitable, scientific and education purposes.

The purpose of this corporation is:

to train and place service dogs (“Pawsitivity Dogs”) for individuals with disabilities. In support of this primary purpose, the Corporation shall also undertake the following specific objectives:

  1. a)  To breed, adopt, or purchase homeless dogs for the explicit purpose of raising and training them to become Pawsitivity Dogs.

  2. b)  To provide life-long support to our clients and their Pawsitivity Dogs through training advice.

  3. c)  To ensure that any Pawsitivity Dog candidate who, after specific evaluation and training, is deemed unsuitable for service dog work, or that any returned or retired Pawsitivity Dog is adopted to a good home;

  4. d)  To work towards the availability of service dogs as a benefit to all disabled individuals.

  5. e)  To raise public awareness through informational and educational activities on the purpose and function of service dogs, the benefits they accrue to their partners with disabilities, the needs of people with disabilities which can be met with a service dog, and the rights and responsibilities of service dog partners under the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Section 1 Membership: Membership shall consist of the board of directors.


Section 1 - Board role, size, and compensation: The board is responsible for overall policy and direction of the association, and delegates responsibility of day-to-day operations to the staff and committees. The board shall have 4 or 5 members. No more than one board member, or 10% (whichever is greater) receives compensation, or receive indirect compensation.

Section 2 - Terms: All board members shall serve two-year terms, but are eligible for re-election for up to five consecutive terms.

Section 3 - Meetings and notice: The board shall meet at least annually, at an agreed upon time and place. An official board meeting requires that each board member have written notice at least two weeks in advance.

Section 4 - Board elections: During the last quarter of each fiscal year of the corporation, the board of directors shall elect Directors to replace those whose terms will expire at the end of the fiscal year. This election shall take place during a regular meeting of the directors, called in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws.

Section 5 - Election procedures: New directors shall be elected by a majority of directors present at such a meeting, provided there is a quorum present. Directors so elected shall serve a term beginning on the first day of the next fiscal year.

Section 6 - Quorum: A quorum must be attended by at least forty percent of board members for business transactions to take place and motions to pass.

Section 7 - Officers and Duties: There shall be four officers of the board, consisting of a chair, vice- chair, secretary and treasurer. Their duties are as follows:

The chair shall convene regularly scheduled board meetings, shall preside or arrange for other members of the Executive Committee to preside at each meeting in the following order: secretary, treasurer.

The secretary shall be responsible for keeping records of board actions, including overseeing the taking of minutes at all board meetings, sending out meeting announcements, distributing copies of minutes and the agenda to each board member, and assuring that corporate records are maintained.

The treasurer shall make a report at each board meeting. The treasurer shall chair the finance committee, assist in the preparation of the budget, help develop fundraising plans, and make financial information available to board members and the public.

Section 8 - Vacancies: When a vacancy on the board exists mid-term, the secretary must receive nominations for new members from present board members two weeks in advance of a board meeting. These nominations shall be sent out to board members with the regular board meeting announcement, to be voted upon at the next board meeting. These vacancies will be filled only to the end of the particular board member's term.

Section 9 - Resignation, termination, and absences: Resignation from the board must be in writing and received by the Secretary. A board member shall be terminated from the board due to excess absences, more than two unexcused absences from board meetings in a year. A board member may be removed for other reasons by a three-fourths vote of the remaining directors.

Section 10 - Special meetings: Special meetings of the board shall be called upon the request of the chair, or one-third of the board. Notices of special meetings shall be sent out by the secretary to each board member at least two weeks in advance.


Section 1 - Committee formation: The board may create committees as needed, such as fundraising, housing, public relations, data collection, etc. The board chair appoints all committee chairs.

Section 2 - Executive Committee: The three officers serve as the members of the Executive Committee. Except for the power to amend the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws, the Executive Committee shall have all the powers and authority of the board of directors in the intervals between meetings of the board of directors, and is subject to the direction and control of the full board.

Section 3 - Finance Committee: The treasurer is the chair of the Finance Committee, which includes two other board members. The Finance Committee is responsible for developing and reviewing fiscal procedures, fundraising plans, and the annual budget with staff and other board members. The board must approve the budget and all expenditures must be within budget. Any major change in the budget must be approved by the board or the Executive Committee. The fiscal year shall be the calendar year. Annual reports are required to be submitted to the board showing income, expenditures, and pending income. The financial records of the organization are public information and shall be made available to the membership, board members, and the public.

Section 1 - Amendments: These bylaws may be amended when necessary by two-thirds majority of the board of directors. Proposed amendments must be submitted to the Secretary to be sent out with regular

board announcements.


These amended bylaws were approved at a meeting of the board of directors by a majority vote on September 25, 2020.

What is your Policy for Program’s Kennel Facilities?

The organization does not use kennels, but if it did, this organization’s kennel facilities would provide dogs with a suitable environment to minimize kennel stress.

What is your Policy for Off-site Client Accommodation?

The organization does not provide off-site client accommodation, but if the organization did, the accommodation would be accessible, comfortable, and clean.

What is your Policy for Confiscating Dogs or Withdrawing Assistance Dogs Status?

The organization will withdraw assistance dog status from any client who fails to care for the dog in the agreed manner and take appropriate action to promote the welfare and soundness of the dog in all circumstances.

What is your Policy for Veterinary Procedures?

The organization will follow a comprehensive health program for all candidate dogs, in according with veterinary advice, including but not limited to worming, flea-control, vaccination, and dental care.

What is your Policy for Dog Evaluation?

The organization will bring candidate dogs to a veterinarian for an initial examination, which includes evaluating any physical problems that would cause difficulty for a working assistance dogs.

What is your Policy for Spaying and Neutering?

All dogs are spayed or neuter prior to qualification, career change, release, or retirement. We don's use breeding stock, but if we did, this policy would include breeding stock.

What is your Policy for Microchip and Vaccination?

This organization requires all new dogs entering our care to be identified by a microchip and have a vaccination report. If the dog does not have these things, the organization will have a veterinarian put in a microchip and vaccinate the dog per the veterinarian's recommendations, then give the organization the records.

What is your Policy for Advising and Supporting Puppy Socializers?

We don't currently use puppy socializers, but if we do in the future, the policy will be:

The organization will provide adequate and reasonable advice and support to puppy socializers who foster candidate puppies. The organization takes responsibility for the dogs in case of emergencies.

What is your Policy for Training Methods?

This organization trains assistance dogs focusing on positive methods applied by skilled staff or volunteers.

What is your Policy for Dog Retirement?

Each handler and dog situation is so different that predictions are difficult, but in general, this organization affirms that will provide clients with information and support prior to their Service Dog’s retirement.

What is your Policy for Client Follow-Up?

Graduates have the right to receive information on follow-up policy and ask for follow-up assistance. The organization helps clients modify any unwanted behaviors in their assistance dog and provides refresher training when needed. The costs of this support will be met by the client.

What is your Policy for Client and Their Veterinarian?

This organization requires that within 30 days of receiving the dog, the client will notify their veterinarian of such and ensure that the veterinarian is fully aware that the client’s Service Dog is an assistance dog and, thus, record-keeping procedures are important to keep both the organization and the client aware of the dog’s ongoing veterinary history.

What is your Policy for Client Identification?

Upon qualification, identification of the fully qualified assistance dog/handler team includes a laminated identification card with a photo, and names of both the dog and handler. The dog is clearly identifiable as an assistance dog by their vest.

What is your Policy to Train Handler at Real or Simulated Work/School/Institute?

The organization will allocate a trainer to conduct at least one training session with the client at the real or simulated workplace(s), school(s), or institution(s) where the client and dog visit on a regular basis.

What is your Policy for Handlers with Disabilities to Follow Training Policies?

This organization will take all reasonable measures to take into account the individual needs and abilities of each client to help follow the organization’s courses of training.

What is your Policy for Processing Client Applications?

Our organization requires that we process client applications within two months and, upon request, we will inform applicants of the progress of their application.

What is your Policy for Clients to Inform Their Care Professionals?

Our organization requires that clients inform their key care professionals, such as teachers, doctors, or physical therapists, of their application to this organization, and the implications for their ongoing care.

What is your Policy for Unwanted Service Dogs?

In all cases, this organization will take responsibility for the dog in the event of the client’s circumstances changing so that the client is no longer able to care for the dog. This organization will decide the appropriate action to take.

What is your Policy of Giving Priority of Successor Dogs?

This is in regard to people for whom the organization has already trained a Service Dog, after the dog dies or retires.

Our organization gives priority on its waiting list to applicants wishing to be considered for ‘successor dogs.’

What is your Policy for Respect and Dignity?

This organization believes that respect for the rights, dignity, and integrity of others is essential for people’s well-being, and thus actions by any person that do not reflect such respect for others are damaging to each member of the community. People should be free from interference, intimidation, or disparagement.

What are the Responsibilities of Board of Directors?

As stated in the book "Managing Nonprofit Organizations" by Mary Tschirhart-Wolfgang Bielefeld and Jossey-Bass, 2012, there’s traditionally three “Duties of the Board”:

1 - Duty of Due Care: Ensure smart use of the facility, people, and good will. Provide oversight for activities that help with effectiveness and sustainability. Note that "sustainability" includes fundraising. 2 - Duty of Loyalty: Make decisions in the best interest of the nonprofit (as opposed to decisions in one's own self-interest). 3 - Duty of Obedience: Ensure that the nonprofit obeys laws and good ethics, and adheres to its

2 - Duty of Loyalty: Make decisions in the best interest of the nonprofit (as opposed to decisions in one's own self-interest). 

3 - Duty of Obedience: Ensure that the nonprofit obeys laws and good ethics, and adheres to its mission.

What is your Honesty Statement?

This organization will only make statements about its work that it knows to be honest, including the program’s promotional materials such as brochures, annual reports, posters, videos, and information included on the program’s website.

What is your Written Consent Policy?

Filming and photography of clients, staff, and volunteers is an expected part of the documentation of training, but no photography or film will be published without the consent of the subject.

What is your Minimum Policy for Candidate Dogs on Health, Temperament, Task Aptitude, and Socialization?

A veterinarian should check for:

__ Dog is of appropriate weight.

__ Ears are clean.

__ Eyes are normal.

__ Nose is normal.

__ Breath is good.

__ Teeth are clean.

__ Skin is normal.

Dog should be tested for:

__ Is the dog sensitive to noise?

__ Can the dog be handled all over its body?

Has the dog been evaluated for 30 days for signs of fear or aggression?

Is the dog able to do a task?

Has the dog passed the Candidate tests?

What is your Dog Feeding Chart (Weekly)?

If fed once per day.

Dog’s Name:

Sunday dinner:

Monday dinner:

Tuesday dinner:

Wednesday dinner:

Thursday dinner:

Friday dinner:

Saturday dinner:

What is your Contract with Veterinarians?

To be provided to service dogs in-training:

1 - Courtesy initial exam and courtesy exam before placement.

2 -  Spay/neuter surgeries, if needed, will be provided as a courtesy service.

3 -  Core vaccinations (rabies and distemper) will also be provided as a courtesy service.

4 - The rest of the medical needs will be accounted under the terms of our Friends & Family Discount. The discount is that services and treatments are discounted at 50%. Inventory items are charged at cost plus 20%.

5 - Medical and behavioral consultation. Access to veterinary specialist consultation (radiology, cardiology, surgery, internal medicine, etc).

6 - Medical records and letters of the dog's examination will be provided to each service dog family.

7 - Access to the talents and relationships of our staff members. Examples include placement of dogs in need of homes in-home pet-sitting of your dogs-in-training.

8 - A treatment plan (estimate) for goods and services can be requested and discussed at any time.

9 - Payment is due in full at the time of service.

A 10% discount on services will be extended to the families who receive the Service Dogs. This arrangement may be extended to other service dogs at the discretion of the clinic.

Logistics of the Partnership:

1 - An account for the nonprofit has been created. All previous records and history will be provided to the veterinary clinic. This process will create a medical record for each service dog.

2 -  _______ will be the point person for communications, exams, surgeries, procedures, and treatments. If that person is not available, one of the other veterinarians will manage medical care.

3 -  Any cross-promotional opportunities and advertising/marketing must receive approval from both parties.

4 - A request to the change of terms of the partnership can be discussed.

Signature of a representative of nonprofit, and date:

Signature of a representative of clinic, the date:

What is your Checklist for New Dog?

To Do:

__ Prep folder

__ Set up initial vet visit

__ Spayed or neutered

__ Up-to-date on vaccinations

__ Healthy/free of worms, sores, illness, etc.

__ Get a bath

__ Housebroken

__ Go up and down stairs

__ Learn to go through the dog doors


__ Leather collar

__ Tag with our address

__ Microchip & tag

__ Rabies tag

__ Service dog tag (red cross)

__ Waist leash

__ Food pouch

__ Poop bag dispenser

__ Nose collar

__ Service dog vest

__ Nonprofit patch

__ Other patches as needed

__ Heartworm meds, NexGard, and other meds as needed

__ Food dish

__ Crate

What is your Checklist for Medications?

Dog’s name:


Has the expiration date been checked?

January - signature and date:

February - signature and date:

March - signature and date:

April - signature and date:

May - signature and date:

June - signature and date:

July - signature and date:

August - signature and date:

September - signature and date:

October - signature and date:

November - signature and date:

December - signature and date:

What is your Checklist for Kennel (If a Kennel is Being Used)?

We don't use kennels, but if we did, this would be our checklist:

Is the kennel the right size?

Is the kennel easy to clean?

Is the kennel dry and at a comfortable temperature?

Is there fresh air and daylight?

Is there plentiful artificial light?

Are there toys, bones, and chew toys?

Is there always access to water?

What is your Checklist for Keeping Current Information?

Dog's original name:

Dog's new name:

Date adopted by the organization:

How dog was obtained:

Paperwork of initial testing:

Date of birth:


Health records:

Microchip number:

Registry number:

If career change dog, list date of career change:

If career change dog, list contact info of adopter:

What is your Checklist for Health Records?

Dog’s name:

__Veterinary records

__Checked daily for ear infections, clean ears weekly

__No signs of illness or discomfort.

__Daily dinner

__Grain-free kibble

__Water available at all times

__If dog misbehaves, the behavior is ignored or the dog is cued to do an incompatible behavior

__Dog bed in the dog’s crate, and another dog bed in the living room

__Toys, bones, and chews

__Dry place to live, at a comfortable temperature

__The dog is given the opportunity to potty four times per day

__Two thirty-minute training walks each day

What is your Checklist for First Aid Kits?

__Dog Thermometer



__Emergency contact


__Rubber gloves

What is your Minimum Checklist for Dog’s Basic Needs?

__Plenty of time with people



__Always has access to fresh water

__Living in a dry place with a comfortable temperature

__Sufficient opportunities to toilet

__ Exercise

__Sufficient time to relax and play every day


__Veterinary care

What is your Career Change Dog Agreement?

The organization and new owner agree that the owner will abide by the following:

Adopter agrees:

I will keep the dog safe, well fed, and the dog will always have fresh water.

The dog will be an inside dog.

I will exercise the dog daily.

I will keep the dog leashed outside, but will not leave it chained up outdoors.

I will not train the dog to attack, nor to be used as a therapy dog or service dog.

I will take the dog to the veterinarian each year.

I will get the dog a city license.

If I don't want the dog at any time, I will give it back to the organization.

I release the organization from any liability, damages, or expenses, arising out of my owning the dog, and for any reason, including health, condition, training, behavior or temperament.

I will notify the organization if the dog is lost or dies, and if we move.

I understand if I fail to follow any of the above, I will give up the dog to the organization.

I understand that by signing this agreement, I am entering into a legal and binding contract. Breach of any term(s) of this agreement is deemed actionable by the organization. If a lawsuit is brought for any reason by either party, the lawsuit will be undertaken in a court in the state in which the organization is located. The loser of the suit will pay the lawyer’s fees of both parties.

Signature and date of new owner:

Signature and date of staff of organization:

Is there a policy for Bringing a Service Dog to Hawaii?

From Hawaii's online policy, Updated July 1, 2013

The dog must have current rabies vaccination. (Documentation of the vaccination must include the product name, the lot or serial number, and the expiration date of the lot.)

The dog must have an electronic microchip implanted for identification.

Prior to arrival, the dog must have passed one OIE-FAVN test after 12 months of age, with a level of 0.5 I.U. rabies antibody or greater. The laboratory will not perform the tests unless the microchip number accompanies the test request form. A passing test result is valid for three (3) years.

The dog must have a standard health certificate issued not more than 30 days prior to arrival in Hawaii, attesting that the dog was treated within 14 days of arrival with a product containing Fipronil or an equivalent long-acting product labeled to kill ticks. A valid health certificate is required for each entry into Hawaii.

The task(s) the animal has been trained to perform should be disclosed.

The service dog must be traveling with the disabled user on arrival in Hawaii.

To prevent delays on arrival, it is strongly advised that all required documents be sent to the Rabies Quarantine Branch well ahead of your intended arrival date. Information can be mailed to the Animal Quarantine Station, 99-951 Halawa Valley Street, Aiea, HI 96701 or faxed to (808) 483-7161 - Staff may be contacted by telephone (808) 483-7151 or (808) 837-8092 or e-mail: [email protected] to assist you with preparations.

The Rabies Quarantine Branch must receive notification at least 24 hours in advance of arrival information and location where the dog will be staying. Information can be faxed to 808-483-7161.

On arrival in Hawaii, the dog must be brought by the airline to the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility for verification of compliance with the above requirements and examination of the dog for external parasites. If all is in order, the dog will be released at that point.

Qualified Guide dog and Service dog users may request inspection in the terminal at Honolulu International Airport between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, by notifying the Rabies Quarantine Branch 7 days, or more before arriving. To avoid confusion and delays, the airline must be notified by HDOA so that airline representatives are aware that the inspection upon arrival in Hawaii will be at the terminal rather than the Airport Animal Quarantine Holding Facility. After inspection, if all is in order, the dog will be released.

If you have questions, please contact:

Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Animal Quarantine Station

99-951 Halawa Valley Street

Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602

Telephone (808) 483-7151 (Due to the heavy volume of calls, e-mail questions to the office for faster response)

FAX (808) 483-7161

E-mail: [email protected]

What are your Volunteer Recruitment and Selection Procedures?


A nonprofit should constantly be looking for good volunteers (Pawsitivity usually uses volunteers with special skills, or uses fosters). Lawyers, for instance, will often offer pro bono work to charities.


Volunteers should have a positive attitude and good organizational skills. They should also have an interest in rescuing or training dogs. Finally, they should have the flexibility to work on various projects.

In the interview:

Thank the volunteers for coming and then tell them about the position and the nonprofit. Ask them about their skills, if there is anything they don't want to do, and if they have any questions. Agree on what comes next, such as calling references.

Never inquire about age, marital status, or national origin. Never inquire about arrest record, height, weight, birthplace, sexual orientation, or race.


Call the volunteer’s references and request police records and criminal checks as needed.


If chosen, have the volunteer sign a contract with the nonprofit.

What is your Staff and Volunteer Training and Monitoring Procedures?

We don't generally use untrained volunteers, but if we do, this will be the procedure. Staff should be assigned as orientation leaders. Training should include the procedures new staff and volunteers are expected to follow. Leaders should introduce new members and volunteers to the staff. Training should be specific to the position held, and geared to the person’s skills.

New members should be evaluated each year.

What is your Staff and Volunteer Training and Monitoring Procedures?

Assign staff to be orientation leaders, then have them schedule orientation for new staff and volunteers. Training should include background of the nonprofit, the structure of the nonprofit, how the facilities are set up, and the procedures that staff and volunteers must use. During the orientation, introduce the staff and volunteers to the other staff and show them around the facility. Training should be specific to the position that they will hold, and geared to the person’s skill levels.

Training should be evaluated periodically to make sure that their duties are being done properly. Additional classes such as public speaking, conflict resolution, or CPR may be included

What are your Staff Policies for Disciplinary Actions, Grievances, and Appeals?

Employees are expected to know the standard of conduct expected of them.

The supervisor will try to resolve the matter in an informal way before taking formal action. Only when this fails will the employee be given a written warning. If there are three warnings within six months, there will be a disciplinary review. At that point, the employee may be dismissed. Employees are to be told the details of any allegations and evidence before the meeting. This way, employees may state their case. A dismissal must be confirmed in writing. The confirmation must be made within ten working days of the disciplinary interview.

Gross misconduct: Is there in a case of gross misconduct? If so, an employee may be dismissed without notice.

The right to appeal: Does the employee wish to appeal a disciplinary decision? If so, they must do so in writing within five working days.

Staff Grievances Procedure

Introduction: Grievances include how a person is treated, including bullying and harassment.

Scope: Applies to all staff, volunteers, and clients.

Confidentiality: All grievance procedures are confidential. An exception is official bodies that have a right to disclosure.

Roles and responsibilities: All complaints raised should be made in good faith.

Informal stage: Complaints should be resolved in an informal way, if possible.

Formal process: The person should write down the complaint and a possible solution. Then they should give it to the relevant person.

Investigation: An investigation should be started before any grievance hearing is held.

Hearing: The relevant person should arrange a hearing with either the staff or the board.

What is your Conflict-of-Interest Policy?

The Internal Revenue Service provides a sample conflict of interest policy for hospitals. The following is that policy, modified to apply to charitable nonprofits.

Conflict of Interest

Amended by the Board 9/28/14

The full board of directors, officers of the board, and all employees (including key employees) shall give prompt, full and frank disclosure of his or her interest to the Board of Directors or committee prior to its acting on such contract or transaction. The body to which such disclosure is made shall thereupon determine, by majority vote, whether the disclosure shows that a conflict of interest exists or can be reasonably construed to exist. If a conflict is found to exist, such person shall not vote on, nor use his or her personal influence on, nor participate in discussion of (other than to present factual information or to respond to questions in the discussions or deliberations with respect to such contract, transaction or determination() the issue. Such person may not be counted in determining the existence of a quorum at any meeting where the contact, transaction, or determination is under discussion or is being voted upon. The minutes of the meeting shall reflect the disclosure made, the vote thereon, and, where applicable, the abstention from voting and participation, and whether a quorum was present.


Each director and (key) employee disclose annually, in writing, any potentially conflicting relationships or transactions.

This Conflict of Interest policy applies to both the board of directors and all staff, and that it includes all of the components listed in the questions below.


Definitions: For purposes of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Conflict of interest means any transition in which a current or former PAWSITIVITY Leader has a material financial interest. A conflicted individual is a PAWSITIVITY Leader with a conflict of interest relative to a particular transaction.
  2. PAWSITIVITY Leaders means any member of PAWSITIVITY Staff or any Member of a PAWSITIVITY Entity.
  3. Former PAWSITIVITY Leaders means individuals who were a PAWSITIVITY Leader during any part of the 12 months preceding a vote concerning a transaction in which the Former PAWSITIVITY Leader has a material, financial interest.
  4. PAWSITIVITY Entity means any PAWSITIVITY Board, Commission, Committee, Advisory Group, Working Group, Task Force or Foundation.
  5. Material Financial Interest means any direct or indirect benefit, including salary and/or compensation received directly by a PAWSITIVITY Leader or by a PAWSITIVITY Leader’s immediate relatives (parents, children, siblings, spouses and the spouse’s immediate relatives), co-residents or roommates, or any corporation, partnership or business in which such person is an officer, partner, director, executive or major stockholder.
  6. In the case of PAWSITIVITY staff, material financial interest shall exclude regular salary, bonuses, benefits and other compensation paid them in the normal course of their duties on behalf of PAWSITIVITY.
  7. In the case of a member of a PAWSITIVITY Entity, material financial interest shall exclude salary, compensation or benefit resulting from holding a position common to the general membership. (For example, a Board Member voting to spend money on behalf of a group supporting guarantee issue of health insurance does not have a conflict of interest even though such a legal requirement would likely increase their income as many members of PAWSITIVITY would likewise benefit).
  8. Major stockholder means ownership or control of five percent (5%) or more of the outstanding stock of a business Entity.


  1. A PAWSITIVITY Leader shall disclose any material financial interest in transactions contemplated or entered into by PAWSITIVITY as soon as such interest is known. Such notification must be made, in writing, to the Executive Vice President (EVP) and the President. If the potential conflict involves the EVP, additional notification shall be made to a staff person designated by the EVP at the beginning of each year as “Staff Ethics Officer.” If the potential conflict involves the President, additional notification shall be made to the President-Elect.
  2. When PAWSITIVITY Leaders or Former PAWSITIVITY Leaders are aware of potential conflict of interest concerning a Former PAWSITIVITY Leader such information shall be disclosed in the same manner as for current PAWSITIVITY Leaders.


  1. Members of PAWSITIVITY Entities and PAWSITIVITY staff shall not participate in any discussion or vote concerning a transaction in which they have a conflict of interest.
  2. By a majority vote of the PAWSITIVITY Entity, the conflicted individual may be permitted to participate in discussions concerning the transaction, but in no event may the conflicted individual vote on the matter.
  3. In cases deemed appropriated by the President, a vote by the Board of Trustees in which at least 60 percent of its membership concurs, may permit a conflicted individual to participate in discussions on a transaction.
  4. All votes by all PAWSITIVITY Entities (including the Executive Committee) permitting a conflicted individual to participate in discussions concerning the transaction shall be reported immediately to the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall have the authority to overturn any decision made in connection to the conflict of interest.
  5. In the case of staff, the EVP shall take all appropriate action to exclude the individual from the decision making process and from activities in support of the transaction.
  6. Members of PAWSITIVITY Entities and PAWSITIVITY Staff shall voluntarily recuse themselves from activities in which they have or believe they have a conflict of interest. However, any other member of the PAWSITIVITY Entity may seek a vote of the full PAWSITIVITY Entity to determine whether a conflict of interest exists.
  7. If a majority of the PAWSITIVITY Entity determines a conflict exists for an individual Entity Member, that individual will not be permitted to participate in the discussion and vote concerning the transaction unless permitted to participate under Recusal item 1, above.
  8. The individual subject to another Member of the PAWSITIVITY Entity’s motion concerning a conflict of interest may participate but may not vote in the debate determining whether a conflict of interest exists.
  9. PAWSITIVITY Entities shall report all incidences of conflicts of interest to the Board of Trustees including a description of how the conflict was handled.

 Transactions Involving Conflicts of Interest

  1. PAWSITIVITY shall not enter into a transaction involving a conflict of interest with a PAWSITIVITY Leader unless:
  2. Disclosure of the conflict of interest is made pursuant to this Policy and Procedure.
  3. The PAWSITIVITY Entity approves a motion by majority vote specifically acknowledging the conflict of interest and stating the level of participation in the decision related to the transaction by the conflicted individual. (For example, if after disclosing a conflict of interest, a Member of the Board of Trustees is permitted to discuss the matter prior to a vote, such involvement must be noted in specific motion). This motion may be part of the motion approving the transaction or in a separate motion.
  4. The minutes of a PAWSITIVITY Entity shall reflect all information relative to a conflict of interest. The minutes of the PAWSITIVITY Board of Trustees shall specifically reference receipt of any information from staff or PAWSITIVITY Entities concerning conflicts of interest.

Conflict of Interest Disclosure Form

Note: A potential or actual conflict of interest exists when commitments and obligations are likely to be compromised by the nominator(s)’other material interests, or relationships (especially economic), particularly if those interests or commitments are not disclosed. This Conflict of Interest Form should indicate whether the nominator(s) has an economic interest in, or acts as an officer or a director of, any outside entity whose financial interests would reasonably appear to be affected by the addition of the nominated condition to the newborn screening panel. The nominator(s) should also disclose any personal, business, or volunteer affiliations that may give rise to a real or apparent conflict of interest. Relevant Federally and organizationally established regulations and guidelines in financial conflicts must be abided by. Individuals with a conflict of interest should refrain from nominating a condition for screening.




Please describe below any relationships, transactions, positions you hold (volunteer or otherwise), or circumstances that you believe could contribute to a conflict of interest:

_____ I have no conflict of interest to report.

_____ I have the following conflict of interest to report (please specify other nonprofit and for-profit boards you (and your spouse) sit on, any for-profit businesses for which you or an immediate family member are an officer or director, or a majority shareholder, and the name of your employer and any businesses you or a family member own:

  1. ___________________________________________________________________________________
  2. ___________________________________________________________________________________
  3. ___________________________________________________________________________________

I hereby certify that the information set forth above is true and complete to the best of my knowledge.

Signature: __________________________________________________________________________

Date: _________________________________________


What is your Release of Liability?

A release of liability is required for every volunteer, applicant, graduate, guardian, or caregiver.

In consideration for participating with this nonprofit, I assume responsibility for my actions. I release the nonprofit from any loss, personal injury, accident, misfortune, or damage. I understand that reasonable precautions will be taken to ensure my health and safety.




Parent/Guardian/Adult Caregiver signature:



What is your Equal Opportunity Policy?

Federal anti-discrimination laws state that employers must inform their employees of their rights. These rights include being free from workplace discrimination and retaliation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires employers to post workplace notices inside employee handbooks. These policies also apply to vendors, contractors, and other third parties. State or local laws may expand protection. This policy prohibits workplace harassment.

This organization provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants. There will be no regard to race, color, creed. There will be no regard for sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. The organization also complies with applicable state and local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment.

Workplace harassment based on race, color, religion, gender is prohibited.

Workplace harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression is prohibited.

Workplace harassment based on national origin, age, genetic information is prohibited.

Workplace harassment based on disability or veteran status is prohibited.

Interference with the employee's ability to perform their job duties will have consequences. Consequences may result in discipline, including dismissal.

This material is for informational purposes only and not legal counsel. Contact your lawyer to see if this information is appropriate to your particular situation.

What is your Policy for Accessing Personnel Records?

The organization's personnel records are confidential.

Managers and supervisors may only have access to personnel information on a need-to-know basis. Access must follow anti-discrimination laws.

Personnel files must only be reviewed in the organization’s office. These files may not be taken outside the office.

Representatives of government or law enforcement agencies may access the files.

Access to personnel files by current and former employees will generally be permitted.

What is your Non-Discrimination Statement and Policy?

This organization must not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed.

This organization must not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender expression, or age.

This organization must not discriminate on the basis of national origin or disability.

This organization must not discriminate on the basis of marital status or sexual orientation.

This organization must not discriminate on the basis of military status.

What is your suggested Medical Form for Clients?

This letter should be written on the doctor's letterhead.


To Whom It May Concern,

My patient, NAME, has been under my care since the following date:

The patient has the following severe disability:

Due to this disability, I recommend a service dog to help with the following task:


What are your Job Descriptions for Staff, Volunteers, and Board Members?

Executive Director: Carries out the board's instructions, manages the organization's resources, and oversees staff.  The Executive Director also monitors and evaluates the organization's services, and represents the organization.

Managing Director and Head Trainer: Designs training programs for internal use. Develops and provides informative materials on preventing problem behaviors. Works with the board and attends board meetings.

Volunteers: Jobs may include on-site dog care, office help, and group volunteer days. Other jobs include fostering, special events, research projects, and helping with fundraisers.

Board Members:

Chair: Oversees board and executive committee meetings.

Vice Chair: Attends board meetings and performs the chair's duties in the chair's absence.

Secretary: Attends board meetings and reviews minutes. Is the board chair and vice chair absent? Then the Secretary assumes the responsibilities of the chair.

Treasurer: Attends board meetings and presents the annual budget to the board for approval.

What are your Hazardous Substances Procedures?

1 - Staff must receive annual training on the use of medications and disinfectants.


Unintentional medication overdose is the most common cause of poisoning in dogs. Pills can be over-consumed by dogs because they often taste good. Do not keep these in a place where a dog can eat them. Over-the-counter drugs should be used with care. Incorrect dosages can result in poisoning. If you suspect a dog has had access to drugs, call poison control or drive the dog to a veterinarian.


Follow label directions for proper use and storage. Products that contain bleach can safely disinfect household surfaces. Don't expose dogs to the bleach, though. Some detergents can produce similar distress in dogs. If symptoms occur, call poison control or drive the dog to a veterinarian.

2 - Material Safety Data Information

These informational sheets can be found online with the following identification numbers:

Hagen Flea and Tick Shampoo D11

SOX D160, D162

Hagen Medicated Shampoo D-19 and D-21

Hagen Non-Aerosol Dog Flea Killer D-80

Hagen Carpet Guard Pump Spray D-87

Hagen Puppy Trainer D-110

Indoor Repellent for Dogs D-115

Hagen Bitter Lotion D-140

Sergeant's Skip-Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs 70055 - 70056

Sergeant's Oatmeal Dog Shampoo 70059

Sergeant's Shoo Dog and Cat Repellent and Training Aid 70108

Sergeant's Shoo! Outdoor Granular Repellent 70109

Sergeant's Fashion Brite Blue Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs 70157

Essentials Ear Cleaner 70221

Essentials Ear Lotion 70224

Essentials Styptic Powder 70230

Essentials Styptic Gel 70232

Sergeants Worm Away Capsules 70255

NuWay Lawn Repair 70267

Essentials Untangle Detangling Spray 70290

Essentials Kleen Sheen After Bath Oil 70295

Dogit Bust It for Dogs D169

What is your Follow-Up Procedure with the Incident Report Form?

Fill out the following “Incident Report Form." Then report to the Executive Director if first aid is needed.

Incident Report Form

Person completing the report:

People involved:

Date and time of event:




Was the event caused by an unsafe act? Explain:

Type of injury sustained:

Was medical treatment necessary? Explain:

Signature of staff:

What are your First Aid Procedures?


_ Enough staff with current certification. The staff must be kept current on clients’ medical requirements.

_ First-aid kits maintained and visible and accessible to staff and people with disabilities

_ Set procedures for recording first-aid accidents (see Written Incident Report)

What is your Disaster Recovery Plan?

Critical system: Accounts Payable

1 - Time to recover: Four hours

2 - Threat: Computer failure

3 - Prevention Strategy: Sub-contracting

4 - Response Strategy: Backup from BackBlaze paid storage service

5 - Recovery Strategy: Backup from Dropbox

Critical system: Dog Health

1 - Time to recover: Two Hours

2 - Threat: Dog shows health symptoms

3 - Prevention Strategy: Regular veterinary visits and enforcement of veterinary recommendations

4 - Response Strategy: Bring dog to veterinarian

5 - Recovery Strategy: Follow veterinary advice

Critical system: Building Security

1 - Time to recover: Two Hours

2 - Threat: Theft

3 - Prevention Strategy: Alarm system

4 - Response Strategy: Call 911

5 - Recovery Strategy: Insurance

What is your Contract for Volunteers?

I agree to serve as a volunteer for the nonprofit organization.

I agree to contribute my time without compensation.

I will hold the organization harmless for my own acts and omissions while volunteering.

I am responsible providing my own medical, liability, and auto insurance.

I understand that I am not covered by workers’ compensation.

I understand I am not insured by the organization while I volunteer.

I understand the risks and dangers involved. I agree to accept all risks of injury, death, or damage to myself or my property. Risks include but not are limited to being bitten by a dog, tripped, or exposed to diseases.

I agree to be recorded and I consent to the use of my likeness.

As consideration for being permitted to volunteer, I won't sue the organization for injury.

I will not divulge any confidential information of the organization that I learn.

I have read this document. I understand that I will relinquish all claims against the organization. I am of legal age, competent, and I am signing this agreement of my own free will.

I acknowledge that this agreement will apply for the entire term of my volunteering.



What is your Contract for Staff?

The Nonprofit Organization and EMPLOYEE enter into this agreement and agree to the following:





This agreement ends:

Any invalid or unenforceable provisions shall not affect any other provision of this Agreement.

This agreement is subject to the laws and regulations of the state of STATE.

Employee Name:

Employee Signature:


Name and Title of Employer:

Employer Signature:


What is your Complaints Procedure for Staff, Volunteers, and Clients?

Introduction: Complaints include how a person is treated, including being bullied or harassed.

Scope: Applies to all staff, volunteers, and clients.

Confidentiality: All grievance procedures are confidential. An exception is official bodies that have a right to the information.

Roles and responsibilities: All complaints should be made in good faith.

Informal stage: Many complaints can be resolved informally. This option should be attempted first.

Formal process: The person should write down the complaint. The complaint should suggest a solution. The person should give the complaint a relevant staff member.

Investigation: An investigation should be performed before any grievance hearing is held.

Hearing: The complainant should arrange a hearing with either staff or board.

What is your Checklist for Accessibility (External Facilities)?

Wheelchair-accessible entrance:

Enough wheelchair-accessible toilets:

Enough parking spaces for people with disabilities:

Easy access to a telephone:

What is your Underserved Populations Policy?

Pawsitivity is dedicated to serving underserved populations, including families of children with autism.

Two of our programs help exemplify our commitment:

  • Autism Service Dog Training Program: 1 out of 68 children have autism, but children with autism are an underserved population and most service dog organizations will not work with them. One of autism's primary symptoms can be difficulty in working with others, which includes the service dog trainers, and thus makes the training process difficult. Many of the children with autism also have other disabilities, which also makes the job harder. But it is these very problems that make a service dog so very helpful to these children. Autism service dogs can help these children learn empathy, help with socialization, help with soothing melt-downs, and can even alert or respond to seizures. Families who have received a Pawsitivity Service Dog consistently report, among other benefits, that they are finally able to visit more than just school and home, that their children can now self-soothe enough to get to doctor's appointments, and that for the first time in their lives the children are making friends.
  • Public Education Program: Raising public awareness through informational and educational activities on the purpose and function of service dogs, the benefits they accrue to their partners with disabilities, the needs of people with disabilities which can be met with a service dog, and the rights and responsibilities of service dog partners under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

What is your Budgetary Shortfall Plan?

Does the Executive Director expect a revenue shortfall in the upcoming year? If so, the Executive Director should give the board:

1 - A plan on how to reduce expenses.

2 - A description and justification for the top resource need.

What is your Board Succession Plan?

1 - Rationale

The Executive Director is essential to a nonprofit organization’s success. Thus, it's important that the staff members understand the duties of the Executive Director. This document outlines a plan for replacing the Executive Director, when necessary.

2 - Plan Implementation

The board chair should do the following in the event of an absence.

The Executive Director should inform the board of directors of any absence.

As soon as is workable, the board president must convene an executive committee meeting. At this meeting, the committee should affirm or change the plan as needed.

3 - Priority Functions for the Executive Director of the Organization

The following is a list of key functions of an Executive Director. Also, the following describes who can take over each function in the Executive Director's absence.

- Leadership and Vision: Board Chair with Senior Staff Member

- Board Administration and Support: Senior Staff Member

- Program Management: Senior Staff Member

- Financial Management: Treasurer

- Human Resource Management: Director, Human Resources

- Donor Relations; Community and Public Relations: Board Chair

- Spokesperson: Board Chair or Designee

The positions are approved as of [Date policy adopted]. Are any positions vacant? If so, the board chair must choose other senior staff members for those duties.

4 - Succession Plan in the Event of a Short-Term Planned or Unplanned Absence

a - Definitions

A temporary absence is when the Executive Director lets the board know ahead of time and plans to return. An unplanned absence is one that arises unexpectedly. A "temporary absence" is defined as up to 30 days. A "temporary short-term absence" is defined as between 30 and 90 days.

b - Temporary Staffing Strategy

For temporary absences of 30 days or less, use the above strategy. If it is more than 30 days, the executive committee must determine if another strategy is needed.

c - Appointing an Acting Executive Director

The executive committee may appoint an acting Executive Director, if necessary. They may install the temporary staffing strategy, too.

d - Standing Appointees to the Position of Acting Executive Director

The first position in line to be acting Executive Director is the senior staff member. Next in line is the vice chair, followed by the treasurer.

e - Cross-Training Plan

The Executive Director must develop a training plan for each of their duties. An up-to-date training plan must be attached to this document.

e - Authority and Restrictions of the Acting Executive Director

The Acting Executive Director must have the same authority as the regular Executive Director.

f - Compensation

Both the acting and regular Executive Director should have the same salary and benefits.

g - Board Oversight and Support to the Acting Executive Director

The acting Executive Director must report to the entire board.

h - Communications Plan

- The board chair and acting Executive Director must develop a communications plan. The plan must include what information will be shared with what parties.

- Updated contact information must be maintained in the organization’s database.

The following is a list of key supporters and their communication responsibilities:

Senior Staff Member with Designated Board Members - Governmental agencies, elected officials

Senior Staff Member with Designated Board Members - Foundation officers

Designated Board Members - Major donors

Senior Staff Member - Clients

Senior Staff Member - National colleagues

Designated Board Members - Personal colleagues

Auditor, Legal Counsel, Insurance Agent - Operating support (based on need)

5 - Succession Plan in the Event of a Temporary, Unplanned Long-Term Absence

a - Definition

A long-term absence is defined as 90 days or more.

b - Procedures

Procedures are the same as for a temporary short-term absence, plus:

The executive committee must give immediate consideration to hiring an interim Executive Director.

The board chair must review the performance of the acting Executive Director in 30 to 45 days.

6 - Succession Plan in the Event of a Permanent Departure of the Executive Director.

Procedures must be the same as for a temporary absence, plus:

a - Transition Committee

The board chair must appoint an executive transition committee. The chair must decide the size and composition of the committee.

The transition committee must establish a time frame and plan for the recruitment/selection process.

b - Interim Leadership

The board of directors may consider hiring an interim Executive Director. They should be hired from outside the organization. The hiring should be made with an independent contractor agreement of no more than three days per week.

Responsibilities of the Interim Executive Director

An interim Executive Director must have the full authority of the Executive Director.

Board Oversight and Support for the Interim Executive Director

The interim Executive Director must report to the board as a whole.

If an interim Executive Director is in place, the executive committee must convene monthly.

The board chair and executive committee are responsible for gathering input from staff. They should also review the performance of the interim Executive Director. An initial review must be completed between 30 and 45 days and every 90 days thereafter.

c - Organizational Assessment

The board must conduct an assessment of the organization. The assessment should include a review of the mission, vision, and strategic direction. If there are not changes, the board must make an announcement.

d - Search and Hire

The board must conduct a search that is transparent. The search must follow all personnel policies and laws.

The board must disclose any “exit plan” made by the departing Executive Director.

e - Post-Hire

The board must tell the Executive Director is expected in first six months. The board must tell the Executive Director what the evaluation process is.

7 - Approvals and Maintenance of The Record

a - Leadership Succession Plan Approval

The board of directors must approve the leadership succession plan. Then the executive committee must hold a yearly review of the plan. The committee should recommend any changes to the board.

b - Signatories

The board chair, Executive Director, and all appointees must sign the plan.

c - Maintenance or Record

The Executive Director and the auditor must maintain copies of the plan.

d - Financial Considerations

The executive committee must review the organization’s finances when the Executive Director is absent.

What is your Board Self-Assessment Policy?

Amended 7/23/17: The board shall self-assess its capacity to govern and its effectiveness in the past fiscal year.

Under Guidestar recommendations, the Board should also discuss the following questions every three years. The Secretary should write the results into the minutes.

Does the board meet often?

Are board meetings well attended?

Does the board have an opportunity to ask questions of staff members at each meeting?

Does the board chair lead the meetings well?

Is communication between staff and board members clear?

Is the board size adequate?

Does the board have a broad range of talents and experience?

Is the board supportive of the organization's mission?

Does the board review the Annual Report?

Does the board assess the Executive Director's performance each year?

Does the board hold a self-assessment every three years?

Are minutes kept for each board meeting?

What is your policy on past Annual Reports?

Our policy is to post recent annual reports online. Here are Pawsitivity's Annual Reports for 2016, 2015, and 2014.

What are your Board Roles, Responsibilities, and Expectations?

1 - Board members should try to attend all meetings of the board.

2 - Board members need to agree on the contents of the Annual Report. The board members must then agree that an Annual Report has been published.

3 - The numbers from the Annual Report must be copy/pasted into a reporting form from the state. The form should then be signed by two officers of the Board, and then sent to the state.

4 - Every quarter, the Executive Director must report major organizational changes to the Board. These changes might be events such as changing the name of the organization.

5 - The Secretary must write minutes after each meeting. The Executive Director can just file (save) them on their computer.

I understand the above.

Signature of new Board Member:


What is your Annual Assessment of the Chief Executive?

The following is based on Guidestar recommendations. The Executive Director must present the Annual Report. Then the board must assess their performance. The Executive Director or Secretary must write the results into the minutes.

1 - Vision

Has the Executive Director communicated the mission to the appropriate people? The appropriate people are the board, staff members, donors, and clients.

2 - Human Resources

Has the Executive Director used volunteers, board members, staff, and nonprofit partners well?

3 - Using Advice

Has the Executive Director used advice from board members, staff, and nonprofit partners?

4 - Standards

Has the Executive Director followed high standards of accountability and transparency?

5 - Decisions

Is the organization running well?

6 - Performance

Is the number of dogs trained each year meeting projections?

Can I get a copy of the IRS Declaration Letter granting 501(c)(3) status?

The following is a scan of Pawsitivity's IRS determination letter of 501(c)(3) status, EIN 47-1446634 (which you may download or print out, if you wish).


What is your Expense Reimbursement Policy?

Expense Reimbursement Policy


The Board of Directors of Pawsitivity Service Dogs recognizes that board members, officers, and employees (“Personnel”) of Pawsitivity Service Dogs may be required to travel or incur other expenses from time to time to conduct organization business and to further the mission of this nonprofit organization. The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that (a) adequate cost controls are in place, (b) travel and other expenditures are appropriate, and (c) to provide a uniform and consistent approach for the timely reimbursement of authorized expenses incurred by Personnel. It is the policy of Pawsitivity Service Dogs to reimburse only reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred by Personnel.

When incurring business expenses, Pawsitivity Service Dogs expects Personnel to:

  • Exercise discretion and good business judgment with respect to those expenses.
  • Be cost-conscious and spend organization money as carefully and judiciously as the individual would spend his or her own funds.
  • Report expenses, supported by required documentation, as they were actually spent.

Expense Report

Employee expenses will not be reimbursed unless the individual requesting reimbursement submits a written Expense Report. The Expense Report, which shall be submitted at least monthly or within two weeks of the completion of travel if travel expense reimbursement is requested must include:

  • The individual’s name
  • If reimbursement for travel is requested, the date, origin, destination and purpose of the trip, including a description of each organization-related activity during the trip.
  • The name and affiliation of all people for whom expenses are claimed (i.e., people on whom money is spent (e.g., gifts, meals) in order to conduct [name of organization]’s business).
  • An itemized list of all expenses for which reimbursement is requested.


Receipts are required for all expenditures billed directly to [name of organization], such as airfare and hotel charges. No expense in excess of $­­­____ will be reimbursed to Personnel unless the individual requesting reimbursement submits with the Expense Report written receipts from each vendor showing the vendor’s name, a description of the services provided (if not otherwise obvious), the date, and the total expenses, including tips (if applicable). A credit card receipt or statement may be used to document the vendor and date of an expense, provided other required details of the expenditure are fully documented.

Organization Credit Cards

If a corporate credit card is issued to personnel for travel (and other) organization-related expenses, the requirements for regular expense reports, explaining charges, as described above under “Expenses Reports” must still be met, and charges may not be made for “Non-Reimbursable Expenditures” as described below. Failure to meet the Expense Report requirements, or making of inappropriate charges will result in loss of the credit card.

General Travel Requirements

The necessity of Travel. In determining the reasonableness and necessity of travel expenses, Personnel and the person authorizing the travel shall consider the ways in which Pawsitivity Service Dogs will benefit from the travel and weigh those benefits against the antici­pated costs of the travel. The same considerations shall be taken into account in deciding whether the benefits to Pawsitivity Service Dogs outweigh the costs, less expensive alternatives, such as participation by telephone or video conferencing, or the availability of local programs or training opportunities, shall be considered.

Personal and Spousal Travel Expenses. With advance approval from [designated officer or director], individuals traveling on behalf of Pawsitivity Service Dogs may incorporate personal travel or business with their organization-related trips; however, Personnel shall not arrange organization travel at a time that is less advantageous to Pawsitivity Service Dogs or involving greater expenses to Pawsitivity Service Dogs in order to accommodate personal travel plans. Any additional expenses incurred as a result of personal travel, including but not limited to extra hotel nights, additional stopovers, meals or transportation, are the sole responsibility of the individual and will not be reimbursed by [name of organization]. Expenses associated with travel of an individual’s spouse, family or friends will not be reimbursed by [name of organization].

Air Travel

General. Air travel reservations should be made as far in advance as possible in order to take advantage of reduced fares.

Frequent Flyer Miles and Compensation for Denied Boarding. Personnel traveling on behalf of Pawsitivity Service Dogs may accept and retain frequent flyer miles and compensation for denied boarding for their personal use. Individuals may not deliberately patronize a single airline to accumulate frequent flyer miles if less expensive comparable tickets are available on another airline.


Personnel traveling on behalf of Pawsitivity Service Dogs may be reimbursed at the single room rate for the reasonable cost of hotel accommodations. Convenience, the cost of staying in the city in which the hotel is located, and proximity to other venues on the individual’s itinerary shall be considered in determining reasonableness. Personnel shall make use of available corporate and discount rates for hotels.

Out-Of-Town Meals

Personnel traveling on behalf of Pawsitivity Service Dogs are reimbursed on a per meal basis at the following rates when they actually incur the cost of a meal. They will not be reimbursed for meals paid for or provided by others.

Breakfast:            $   7.50

Lunch:                 $ 12.50

Dinner:                $ 18.50

All meals for a day:      $ 39.00

Exceptions to the above limits may be made where available meal options require higher expenditures. Exceptions will require a receipt, and must be approved by [designated officer or director] of [name of organization].

Ground Transportation

Employees are expected to use the most economical ground transportation appropriate under the circumstances and should generally use the following, in this order of desirability:

Courtesy Cars. Many hotels have courtesy cars, which will take you to and from the airport at no charge. Employees should take advantage of this free service whenever possible. Another alternative may be a shuttle or bus.

Taxis. When courtesy cars and airport shuttles are not available, a taxi is often the next most economical and convenient form of transportation when the trip is for a limited time and minimal mileage is involved.

Rental Cars. Car rentals are expensive so other forms of transportation should be considered when practical. Employees will be allowed to rent a car while out of town provided that the cost is less than alternative methods of transportation.

Personal Cars

Personnel are compensated for use of their personal cars when used for organization business. When individuals use their personal car for such travel, including travel to and from the airport, mileage will be allowed at the currently approved IRS rate per mile.

In the case of individuals using their personal cars to take a trip that would normally be made by air, mileage will be allowed at the currently approved rate; however, the total mileage reimbursement will not exceed the sum of the lowest available round trip coach airfare.


Parking and toll expenses, including charges for hotel parking, incurred by Personnel traveling on organization business will be reimbursed. The costs of parking tickets, fines, car washes, valet service, etc., are the responsibility of the employee and will not be reimbursed.

On-airport parking is permitted for short business trips. For extended trips, Personnel should use off-airport facilities.

Entertainment and Business Meetings

Reasonable expenses incurred for business meetings or other types of business-related entertainment will be reimbursed only if the expenditures are approved in advance by [designated officer or director] of Pawsitivity Service Dogs and qualify as tax deductible expenses. Detailed documentation for any such expense must be provided, including:

  • Date and place of entertainment
  • Nature of expense
  • Name, titles, and corporate affiliation of those entertained
  • A complete description of the business purpose for the activity including the specific business matter discussed
  • Vendor receipts (not credit card receipts or statements) showing the vendor’s name, a description of the services provided, the date, and the total expenses, including tips (if applicable).

Other Expenses

Reasonable organization-related telephone and fax charges due to absence of Personnel from the individual’s place of business are reimbursable. In addition, reasonable and necessary gratuities that are not covered under meals may be reimbursed.

Non-reimbursable Expenditures

Pawsitivity Service Dogs maintains a strict policy that expenses in any category that could be perceived as lavish or excessive will not be reimbursed, as such expenses are inappropriate for reimbursement by a organization. Expenses that are not reimbursable include, but are not limited to:

  • Travel insurance
  • First-class tickets or upgrades
  • When lodging accommodations have been arranged by Pawsitivity Service Dogs and the individual elects to stay elsewhere, reimbursement is made at the amount no higher than the rate negotiated by [name of organization]. Reimbursement shall not be made for transportation between the alternate lodging and the meeting site.
  • Limousine travel
  • Movies, liquor, or bar costs
  • Membership dues at any country club, private club, athletic club, golf club, tennis club or similar recreational organization
  • Participation in or attendance at golf or  tennis tournaments, NASCAR races or other sporting events, without the advance approval of the chairman of the board or his designee
  • Purchase of golf clubs or any other sporting equipment
  • Spa or exercise charges
  • Clothing purchases
  • Business conferences and entertainment which are not approved by a [designated officer or director] of [name of organization]
  • Valet service
  • Car washes
  • Toiletry articles
  • Expenses for spouses, friends, or relatives. If a spouse, friend or relative accompanies Personnel on a trip, it is the responsibility of the Personnel to determine any added cost for double occupancy and related expenses and to make the appropriate adjustment in the reimbursement request.