Small Pets Task Training

Small Pets Butler Training

What does it mean to be a Small Pets Butler?

Small Pets Butlers provide cleaning, exercise, socialization and a loving environment for rabbits, guinea pigs, and other small animals.  This attention and care prepare them for their forever homes, ensuring they are happy and ready for adoption.

AM Responsibilities include:

  • Cleaning occupied cages
  • Cleaning and resetting empty cages 
  • Providing playtime for small pets while spot cleaning their cages
  • Socializing and playing with small pets while focusing on enrichment
  • Restocking items during the shift
  • Sweeping after playtime and before leaving the shift

PM Responsibilities include:

  • Spot cleaning and tidying small pet cages 
  • Cleaning and resetting empty cages
  • Providing playtime for small pets while spot cleaning their cages
  • Socializing and playing with small pets while focusing on enrichment
  • Restocking items during the shift
  • Sweeping and mopping after playtime and before leaving the shift

Supplies & Where to Find Them

  • Gloves- small pets shelf 
  • Vinegar spray- small pets shelf 
  • Paper towels- women’s staff bathroom
  • Newspaper- small pets shelf
  • Litter boxes- food prep room
  • Enclosure toys- small pets shelf
  • Gray water bowls, water bottles, & food bowls- small pets cabinet and food prep room
  • Empty laundry basket- small pets shelf and laundry room/hall
  • Towels, fleece blankets, & bath mats- small pets shelf and laundry room/hall
  • Floor time & playtime toys- small pets shelf
  • Dustpan & broom- behind the door of small pets room
  • Snacks- fridge in food prep room

Safe Snacks for Rabbit & Guinea Pigs

  •       *Please do not feed them anything that is not on this list.* 
  • Veggies: Alfalfa sprouts, basil, beet tops, bok choy (small amounts), celery   leaves (not the stalks), cilantro, collard greens (small amounts), cucumbers, endive, green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce (small amounts), kale (small amounts), mint, mustard greens (small amounts), parsley, romaine lettuce, spinach (small amounts), turnip greens (small amounts), carrots (small amounts) 
  • Fruits: All fruits should be given in small amounts since they are high in sugar: Apple slices (no seeds), banana slices, grapes, watermelon (no seeds), cantaloupe, orange slices with peels, strawberries    

Important Points to Remember 

  • Close, secure, and lock the large mesh fences at the start of the small pets hallway  before opening cages or letting pets out.
  • If an animal escapes from their enclosure during spot cleaning, gently guide them back using treats. Please avoid picking them up & ask a staff person to help you if needed.
  • Use vinegar exclusively to clean small pet enclosures. 
  • Ensure a steady supply of hay in hay racks, toilet paper rolls, small paper bags, and small boxes for the small pets to chew. Please do not place toilet paper rolls or bags on the front of the rabbit cages because it can block their view. 
  • Maintaining a clean environment for our small pets is essential for keeping them healthy and happy while they wait for their forever home!
  • Never use pine or cedar shavings for any small animal- only use fleece blankets or paper/carefresh bedding. 
  • No plastic toys can be left in cages with the small pets.

Rabbit Enclosure Cleaning Instructions

  • AM shift: Remove contents of the cage. Toys on the cage can stay if not heavily chewed.
  • AM shift: Remove pillowcase on shelf, wipe down shelf, and replace the pillowcase. Pillowcase must be changed daily.
  • PM shift only. Check the shelf in the cage.  If the pillowcase is not soiled, sweep off the shelves. If the pillowcase is soiled, remove it, wipe down the shelf, and replace the pillowcase.
  • AM shift: Remove the litter box and box and set on top of the cage. Remove newspaper from bottom of the tray, sweep the bottom of the tray, and wipe it down with vinegar solution.
  • Place several layers of newspaper on the clean tray. Note: Please do not use the obituaries on the top layers and do not place new newspapers over the soiled newspapers.
  • PM shift only:  Check the newspaper. See above AM shift instructions if heavily soiled.
  • AM shift: Dump out the dirty litter & wipe the litter box with vinegar solution.
  • Place several sheets of newspaper on the bottom and place about one-inch layer of shredded paper and timothy hay on top.  *Note: Long-haired and post surgery rabbits will need pelleted pine litter or “Yesterday’s News“ instead of shredded newspaper.
  • PM shift only: Check the litter box. See above AM shift instructions if heavily soiled.
  • Check and sweep out the cardboard house before placing it back in the cage. Replace the cardboard house if it is soiled or chewed.
  • AM shift: Replace small towels in the cardboard house. Place the house back into the cage.
  • PM shift only: Replace small towels if heavily soiled. *Note: Use plain cotton hand towels or small bath towels with no embroidery, fringe, or holes in them. Place them back into the cardboard houses. Place the cardboard house and litter box back into the cage.
  • Both shifts: Return or replace all non-plastic toys. All rabbits should have the following in their cage: A few wooden chew toys, at least one willow stick, a willow or ball, etc. & multiple hanging toys. 
  • AM shift: Pull out and sweep behind and under cages.  Mop this area before sliding the cage back to the wall. 
  •  Both shifts: Replenish the timothy hay in hay racks, toilet paper rolls, small paper bags, and small boxes..
  • Both shifts: Provide clean water in water bowls & water bottles. *Only rabbits have water bowls in their kennels. Dump water, wipe down, rinse, & refill bowl with water from the watering can (bowls).  Refresh water bottles by pouring out water, rinsing, and refilling with fresh water.
  •  Both shifts: remember to give them a few snacks from the approved snack list!

 Rabbit Empty Cage Cleaning & Resetting Instructions (Both Shifts)

  • Remove all contents of the cage. Toys on the cage can stay if not heavily chewed.
  • Clean cages by following the checklist above.  
  • Place a clean, empty water bottle and water bowl upside down in the cage, and set a plastic 
  • profile holder on the shelf. Place a clean litter box upside down on the left side of the cage.

 Guinea Pig Enclosure Cleaning Instructions

  • PM shift only: Check cage to ensure that linens are not heavily soiled. If they are, follow the AM shift instructions below.  *Note: Make sure water and hay are replenished.
  •  AM shift: Remove all items from the cage. Linens must be changed daily. Wipe down the cage with vinegar.  Place clean linens or base layers in the cage. 
  • All linens are available: Place 2 layers of newspaper down, followed by a clean towel. Add a clean fleece blanket on top of that. 
  • No linens are available: Place newspaper and a clean gray mat down, followed by fleece squares to go under houses and tunnels. 
  • No newspaper is available: Lay down a clean gray mat & add a clean fleece blanket. 
  • All cages should contain: Rinsed and refilled water bottles (see resetting instructions for empty cages), small food bowls (2 or multiple guinea pigs), replenished hay racks, toilet paper rolls filled with hay, toys, plastic and/or cardboard houses (2 in each cage), & a tunnel.
  • Guinea Pig Empty Cage Cleaning & Resetting Instructions

  • Remove all items from the cage and place them in designated areas for cleaning.  Discard chewed toys.  
  • Clean cage using above instructions.  Place clean unfilled water bottles and food bowls upside down in a cage.  

Rabbit & Guinea Pig Playtime

  • Ensure large mesh fences at the start of small pet hallway are closed, secured, and locked. 
  • Rabbits: Tuck gates between cages, securing door to gates with clips,  leaving enough room to maneuver. Alternate letting out every other cage for playtime. 
  • Guinea Pigs: Set up the guinea pig play areas in the small guinea pig room or between the mesh fences. Unfold the playpen from the shelf and set it up.  
  • For Both: Use clean mats/blankets, provide plastic toys like balls and eggs for exploration and large cardboard boxes and tunnels for them to run through.
  • After playtime, guide rabbits back to their cages and put guinea pigs back in their cage. Rotate new pets until everyone has had playtime.

Wrapping Up

  • After all Rabbits and guinea pigs have had playtime, follow these steps:
  • Clean all play areas and return all plastic toys to the appropriate bins and, if items are not soiled, return them to their storage places in the small pets area. 
  • Fold gates and return them to their original location, keeping them in neat piles.
  • Bring soiled mats to the laundry room and replace them with clean ones.
  • Restock and replenish hay rolls and bags and items in the cabinet and shelves.
  • Ensure that every cage is secured.
  • Sweep and mop the hallway floor using the mop found in the janitor closet .

Thank you for helping us take such great care of our smallest residents!

Small Pets Butler Training Requirements

  • Review the Task Task Instructions and Checklist!
  • Submit the quiz below. 
  • Your Volgistics Account has been updated and you will receive an email to let you know that you are ready to schedule your Training Session with a Mentor Volunteer or Staff member!