Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue

Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue (GGRR)

Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue, a Missouri 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that rescues and places unwanted and displaced purebred and near purebred Golden Retrievers for adoption in loving homes.

Web Coordinator, June 2002 to present

The Web Coordinator’s role consists of developing and maintaining the Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue (GGRR) website and the Facebook page.

I inherited a poorly written website, from my predecessor, which was always out of date and took 60 seconds or more to load each page. The original website was developed using Microsoft Frontpage.

Immediately, I started to redevelop the public-facing website using Microsoft Active Server Pages (years before ASP.Net existed and years before it would be referred to as ‘Classic’) and Javascript with a Microsoft SQL Server backend.

After renovating the public-facing website — pages loaded in under 5 seconds — I started working to solve another problem that often plagued the GGRR Coordinators and Officers. Each time a new Officer or Coordinator was elected, the transfer of records was problematic. Each Officer and each Coordinator would do things their own way. There was no continuity in the records.

I developed several subsystems, in a members-only portion of the website, which provided a common set of records to be used by the Officers and Coordinators. I created the following subsystems:

  • Membership subsystem for the Membership Coordinator, to accept and process membership applications, and maintain proper records of our members, and set member-access privileges based upon their GGRR jobs;
  • Animal tracking subsystem for the:
    • Intake Coordinator to track dogs being surrendered to GGRR,
    • the Adoption Coordinator to track dogs leaving GGRR, hopefully through adoption,
    • the foster homes to update the foster dog’s biography and photographs on the public-facing website pages, and
    • the Web Coordinator (myself) to keep the publicly-facing webpages up-to-date by driving them with data created by the other Coordinators and Officers. For example, when the Intake Coordinator marks a dog that was surrendered, as ‘Ready for Adoption’, the picture of the dog and his/her biography, automatically shows up on the Available Dogs webpage.
  • Adoption application subsystem for the Adoption Coordinator to manage the process of accepting applications, approving or denying applications, assigning an applicant to a dog upon a successful adoption, and finally being able to recall who a particular dog’s forever family is at a later date. The Adoption Coordinator has assistants that help with processing the applications. I created a round robin process such that all of the assistants would get the same number of applications to process;
  • Documents subsystem, essentially a library, was created to allow the members to download copies of organizational documents (such as the Adoption Agreement, the Dog Information Form, the Dog Transfer Agreement, the Home Visit Report, and the Phone Interview form) and legal documents (such as our GGRR 501(c)3 letter from the State of Missouri, our Bylaws, our Constitution, our Logo, and our Policies and Procedures documents). Over the years, we have added a lot of other documents to this library.
  • Bulletin Board, which allowed the members to participate in discussions that affected the whole organization. This subsystem was a Snitz Forum that I integrated into the GGRR website code to keep it private within the organization’s membership. This subsystem, while still available on the website is no longer used by the members and will not be replaced in the new WordPress plugin.
  • Various other tasks such as AVID microchip tracking, the ability to send email to other members within the application, various breakdowns of the member roster according to the things they’ve volunteered to do, statistics tracking, and the ability of the members to keep their own membership information up-to-date.
2016 to present

Beginning in late 2016, I started investigating an upgrade to the website. The whole website was developed using Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP), Javascript, and MySQL, but now, Microsoft has dubbed ASP, ‘Classic’ ASP in favor of their ASP.Net environment. Unfortunately, upgrading to ASP.Net would still necessitate a major rewrite of the whole system, and the new website will require my successor to also be a volunteer programmer.

Instead, I chose to build the new website in WordPress so my successor wouldn’t have to be a programmer to maintain most of the content for the public-facing website. Additionally, I’ve started rewriting the members-only areas of the website as a WordPress plugin. My plan is to make the plugin a generic Animal Rescue Accounting System, that may be used by other rescue organizations throughout the English speaking world.

I am writing this WordPress plugin in PHP and Javascript with MySQL as the back-end database server.

In addition to the Web Coordinator role, I have also served Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue:

  • as a foster home for more than 35 golden retrievers,
  • as a fundraiser, attending and representing GGRR at local events whenever possible,
  • as a transporter of golden retrievers, driving as many as 500 miles round trip on numerous occasions to pick up golden retrievers being surrendered or drop off golden retrievers being adopted in far away places,
  • and as an educator, educating the public about the golden retriever breed.
 

© 2017 – 2018, Paul Swarthout. All rights reserved.