Companion Carers – Service Policy

1. Introduction
The key purpose of Project Underdog Rescue’s Companion Carers program is to assist members of the community who are experiencing significant hardship by assisting with short term, in-home, basic care for their beloved companion animal while they recover.

2. Referral Process
We rely on you (‘Case Worker’) to liaise with us on behalf of your Client/Patient. If individuals approach us directly for assistance, we will refer them back to their Case Worker. A ‘Case Worker’ works with the Client to complete the application and liaise with the client during the case. For the purpose of this program, a ‘Case Worker’ is someone from one of the below professions:
a) Social Worker
b) Support Worker
c) Allied Health Professional

All requests will be appropriately triaged with the aim to let you know if we have capacity to assist with the case within 1 business day on receipt of application.

3. Eligibility Criteria
Applicants must have support from a ‘Case Worker’ and be able to adequately prove to a reasonable person that they are experiencing significant hardship.

Service Area: Metropolitan Melbourne

Dogs (Maximum of 2)
Guinea Pigs
Other animals on a case-by-case basis – please contact us directly about the animal before submitting an application.

All dogs and cats must be desexed, vaccinated, treated for parasites and microchipped. Animals must not be used for breeding purposes.

4. Services Provided

a) Dog walking and enrichment activities: We can provide 20 minute, lead walks. Dogs will be walked on a harness and a flat collar at all times, we will never let a dog off lead outside of the property and we will make all efforts to avoid other dogs while on walks.

b) Enrichment activities: Some dogs may prefer an enrichment activity such as a scatter feed or Kong stuffed with food. We may be able to supply the dog with food puzzles, toys and supplies to keep them busy throughout the day.

c) Cat enrichment and playing: We may be able to supply the cat with food puzzles, toys and supplies to keep them busy throughout the day. We will play and socialise with the cat if the animal wishes.

d) Feeding and watering: We can provide animals with clean water and food.

e) Cleaning: We can clean food/water bowls, litter trays and collect and dispose of waste.

f) Cleaning enclosures (small animals): We can clean the enclosure of small animals. We will ensure the animal has a safe, clean, species-appropriate place for them to rest and play.

g) Administering medications: In consultation with our veterinary team, we may be able to assist in the administration of medication.

h) Transportation of animals: We can assist with the transportation of animals to/from the vet clinic or boarding facility.

i) Food and supplies: We may be able to provide animal care supplies such as food, treats, parasite control, bedding.

j) Emergency Veterinary Treatment: In the event that a pet reasonably requires veterinary care or any form of medical assistance during the service period, the Client acknowledges, agrees and authorises any actions to be taken concerning the pet which a veterinarian recommends. We will cover up to $200 for emergency care.

5. Risk Assessment
Before providing any service to a Client we may be required to conduct a risk assessment in the home, to identify potential hazards and put appropriate controls in place to reduce the risk of injury or illness to Clients, Carers and other workers. If a risk cannot be adequately controlled then the service may be denied.

6. Use of Aversive Tools & Methods
Project Underdog Rescue stands with the Pet Professional Guild of Australia’s position statements relating to aversive tools and training methods. We advocate the use of reward-based, positive reinforcement training and holistic care of all companion animals. Project Underdog Rescue requires aversive tools to be removed from all companion animals whilst they are in our care. Aversive tools include, but are not limited to; choke chains, prong collars and electronic/citronella collars.

7. Welfare Issues
Animals are conscious, sentient beings that feel pain and experience emotions. All animals should be safe from physical and psychological harm. They need access to water and species-appropriate shelter and food and should fulfil their essential behavioural and social needs. They must receive prompt veterinary care when required and have as painless and stress-free a death as possible. Where a person does not meet their obligations to animals in their care, animals may suffer. 

As such, if we are concerned about an animal’s welfare, then we may:
a) Document and report our concerns to the Case Worker;
b) Take any actions deemed necessary to improve the welfare of the animal; and/or
c) Document and report our concerns to the relevant authorities such as RSPCA or local council

8. Photography
As an organisation that relies on community support to continue our work, we request your consent to obtain the client’s story, animal photographs, and, where possible, clients photos. This encourages community support and helps our donors and supporters be engaged and updated with our work. All stories can be de-identified to protect your client’s identity and privacy. We understand that in some instances, this may not be possible and you must notify us in writing if that is the case.

9. Feedback
To improve our programs and processes, we may ask you to complete a short questionnaire once the client’s case is complete.

10. Non-adherence to this service policy and T&Cs
If you do not comply with these terms of service, we have the right to temporarily suspend or permanently revoke your ability to use our services.

11. Privacy
Your privacy and that of the people you serve is important to us. For more information on our Privacy Policy, please see here.

12. Notification
We may amend or update this Service Policy from time to time. When we do this, we will notify you in writing at the nominated email address provided by you.

13. Questions
If you have any questions about this policy, please contact us here


Rights & Responsibilities

Carer’s Responsibilities
All Project Underdog Rescue’s team members have a duty of care to:

  • Take reasonable care for their health and safety in the workplace. They must also take reasonable care for the health and safety of others who may be affected by what they do or don’t do
  • Cooperate with PUR about any action they take to comply with the OH&S Act or Regulations. For example, use equipment properly, follow safe work policies and procedures and attend training
  • Not intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything at the workplace to support health, safety and welfare
  • Never give or accept money or gifts of any kind from the Client
  • Uphold the PUR values and abide by the PUR Code of Conduct at all times

Carer’s Rights

  • To be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect at all times
  • To work without feeling any risk of physical/psychological harm or harassment
  • To be able to complete their work in the manner in which they have been trained
  • To advise clients when tasks requested of them are unsafe and to assist the client to find other solutions to resolve the problem
  • To have personal information and circumstances kept confidential

Client’s Responsibilities

  • Take reasonable care for their health and safety and that of others who may be affected by what they do or don’t do
  • Cooperate with PUR about any action they take to comply with the OH&S Act or Regulations. 
  • Ensure supplies & equipment required to provide the service are on hand and easily accessible
  • Ensure Carer’s are able to safely gain access to the property when they are scheduled to come out

Client’s Rights

  • The right to be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect
  • The right to be informed and consulted about available services
  • The right to be part of decisions made about their animal’s care
  • The right to pursue any complaint about service provision
  • The right to privacy and confidentiality