Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue (GGRR)

Gateway Golden Retriever Rescue is a 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. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, and operate in St. Louis city, county, and the surrounding areas. We work tirelessly to give these Golden Retrievers a “second chance at life”. We strive to educate the public about Golden Retrievers, their lifespan, personality, activity level, and overall responsible dog ownership.

Volunteer, March 2002 to Present

While attending my first business meeting for GGRR, I used my web development expertise to ask several questions about how the GGRR website was created and used. The website showed available Golden Retrievers, but it was never up to date and the pictures took more than a minute each, to load. The members were thrilled to have a volunteer that knew something about building a website.

Web Coordinator, June 2002 to Present

In June 2002, I took over the website. Before I took over, the website was written in HTML using Microsoft Frontpage. My first iteration used Classic ASP (before it was known as ‘Classic’) with Microsoft SQL Server on the backend. Eventually, I converted the backend database to MySQL.

In 2017, I started upgrading the website that I built starting in 2002 into a WordPress website

A few of the major development projects include, but are not limited to the following bullets.

  • Developed a Golden Retriever accounting tool, that would track a Golden Retriever from the moment somebody called and wanted to surrender a dog until the dog left our program. Did the dog arrive into our program? What were it’s medical issues? Has it been to the vet? Has it had its shots? Has it been neutered or spayed? Is it in a foster home? Which one? etc. Once pictures of the dog were added to the dog’s record, it would automatically appear on the website for our visitors to see. When we determined that a dog was ready for adoption, the Intake Coordinator would make a change to the record and the website would show the dog was ready. When the dog would go to its forever home, the Adoption Coordinator would mark the dog as adopted, and record the date and select the adoption application that led to the adoption and the dog would automatically move to the Adopted Goldens page on the website.
  • Developed a user management tool where members could keep their own membership information up to date. They had access to the typical things, name, address, telephone numbers, the best time to reach them, and preferred numbers to use. They also could specify what activities they were volunteering for and what times of the week they would be available for volunteering. The members could make changes to their own information. The Membership Coordinator and the President had access to everybody’s information and could set member privileges which granted and revoked access to various parts of the administrative website.
  • Created an online adoption application and a round-robin application review process so all of the members that volunteered to review applications would get a chance to review applications.
  • Redeveloped the display of available Golden Retrievers and the display of adopted Golden Retrievers such that the information came from the accounting tool. I created an interface that let foster home volunteers directly update information about their foster dog themselves and it would immediately show up on the website. Now the website was always up to date.
  • Implemented an on-site bulletin board for the members to communicate GGRR business with one another. This was a Snitz Forum that I adapted to work with our user management system. This system, while still available has since given way to a method of sending email to members through the website.
  • And much, much, more.

In 2017, the GGRR membership wanted a new website. I created a WordPress site as the front-end, visitor facing site, and started developing a WordPress plugin to handle the administrative portions of the website. I adapted the Golden Retriever accounting tool to work with the new WordPress website and wrote a plugin to display the available Golden Retrievers and adopted Golden Retrievers on the new website.

Currently busy converting the Classic ASP code to a PHP WordPress Plugin for the rest of the members-only administrative functions. My plan is to create a marketable plugin, which could be used by any Animal Rescue organization to manage their animals, events, and members, and to create such an interface that the next GGRR Web Coordinator won’t have to know how to program to manage the website.

My current project is the implementation of the User Management tool. My first iteration was to use and enhance WordPress’ own User Management tool to meet our needs. But there are problems which have forced me to rethink this approach. One problem involves giving users who do not and should not have access to the WordPress dashboard, access to pages that are only accessible through the dashboard. I don’t want to do that. Another problem involves other plugins accessing data which could be considered proprietary to the Animal Rescue organization.

After the User Management tool is created, I will proceed with the Animal Rescue Accounting Tool. Much of this tool depends upon which member has access to what parts of it.

In addition to my duties as Web Coordinator and management of our Facebook page, I also volunteer my time at fundraising events and golden retriever transportation. Last year (2016), I traveled to Hayti, MO (from Chesterfield, MO) to pick up a Golden Retriever puppy with a chain embedded in its neck.

Additionally, my wife and I have fostered 34 Golden Retrievers and 1 West Highland Terrier in our home since 2002.

The image below is a partial snapshot of the GGRR Admin Menu. This is what it looks like for me as the Web Coordinator / Administrator. The Adoption Coordinator, for example, would only see the admin options under the headings “Adoption Coordinator” and “My Membership”. The Intake Coordinator, for another example, would only see the admin options under the headings “Intake Coordinator” and “My Membership”.

The admin options in the list below, plus a few more that didn’t fit on the screen during the screen-grab, must be rewritten in PHP for the Animal Rescue WordPress plugin. This menu is dynamically generated from the MySQL database. It will be replaced by a prettier dynamically generated menu on the finished website.

List of Admin functions that must be replaced by the Animal Rescue plugin for WordPress
List of Admin functions that must be replaced by the Animal Rescue plugin for WordPress






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