My name is Jackie Ricca. My
husband, Al and I share our home with our beautiful 13-year-old German
Shepherd, Gretchen, 2 horses, 2 potbellied pigs and 3 cats.
I have been a volunteer for GSRNE since February of 2005 and have
been the Shelter/Owner Intake. General and Events Hotlines Coordinator since October of 2006.
I am passionate about my role and proud to be a part of this
wonderful organization. I would like to share a synopsis
of my role to give you a better understanding of how the hotline functions.
The messages are retrieved on a daily basis by an
assigned volunteer and are then forwarded to our President, Karen
our Executive Board Members, Chris Harriman and Jeannie McMahon and myself.
The majority of the calls are for dogs being surrendered by owners or from
shelters, as well as calls on behavioral issues, medical questions and care
of the German Shepherd breed. As coordinator, I
determine if it is a call that I will return or refer to another volunteer
within the organization. All calls are returned within 48 hours.
Many of the calls can be extremely difficult on an emotional level,
but I take great pride in remaining strong and professional on behalf of
If the call is to surrender a dog, I complete a
detailed pre-screening that is forwarded to our Intake Coordinator, Chris
Harriman, for review. As much as we want to help every dog in need, we have
procedures, rules and guidelines that we follow for the safety and
protection of man and canine alike. For example, if the dog that is being
surrendered has a bite history or major aggression issues, it is unlikely
that we can safely take the dog into our foster program. I explain our
guidelines to the caller and give them other resources and contacts.
We may even try to network on their behalf. By completing a
pre-screening on the dog, it helps us determine if we can at least take the next step
in evaluating the dog for our program. We want to set these wonderful dogs
up to thrive and win and the ultimate goal is to find a wonderful, loving
"forever" home for every dog taken into our program.
As far as calls related to health, behavioral issues or
questions concerning the breed, I like to provide folks with resources and
support. As I am not a legal advisor or veterinarian, I
am very careful as to how I advise people, but am always willing to lend a compassionate ear or a
The result of each call is clearly documented, saved
and forwarded to Chris Harriman, our Intake Coordinator. Chris and I work
very closely together and work wonderfully as a team.
Detail and organization is vital to help the rest of the process run
smoothly. At the end of every month, I work up a
statistic sheet for the board reporting the total number of calls and the
nature of each call. I have provided these year-to-date statistics after my