Grilled Cheese Mania challenged their patrons to match their $500, and donate to Have a Heart Fund with RHSPCA. They did it! You can too…
We had a terrific month of adoptions with 164 cats and dogs finding new homes. This was great for our feline population which was reduced from 200 cats and kittens to 138 in shelter. However, we are continuing to see high dog intakes, a trend that unfortunately has carried over from last year. Pet ownership is becoming increasingly more expensive and for some the cost of care for their pet is getting out of reach.
We first started seeing an increase in dog intakes towards the end of 2021. It was apparent by the Spring of 2022 that this increase was not an anomaly, as national groups like Shelter Animals Count were also reporting increases in shelter intakes. This increase has been attributed to rising cost of pet ownership (cost of supplies and veterinary services), access to affordable pet friendly housing, and people returning to work as workplaces opened back up.
The reasons ascribed to the increase were consistent with what owners surrendering their pets to the RHSPCA shared with us. We also saw an increase in stray intakes and a reduction in dog reunifications despite the even heavier emphasis we placed on efforts to reunite pets with their owners. Not surprisingly, we did not see an increase in returned adoptions. This is because of the care taken when matchmaking pets with potential adopters by our staff and volunteers.
One major initiative for us this year is to reduce intake of animals to the shelter. Felines account for two thirds of all intakes to the shelter. Our Community Cat Voucher program was incredibly impactful last year and was directly responsible for the deferral of 80 feline intakes and the spay or neuter of 500 felines in total. In 2023 we plan to partner further with local groups to further reduce the number of free roaming community cats.
Intakes to the shelter can be reduced by providing resources to pet owners needing help. We will continue to provide medical and behavioral assistance to help pet owners keep their pets in the home and assist with finding new homes for those unable to keep them any longer. Dog intakes have continually risen over the last two years and we must proactively start addressing the concerns leading to this.
We expect to have these programs underway by July 1st of this year. I would love to hear from you if you are interested in supporting these two projects or if you would like to learn more about them. This is a big undertaking, one that I am confident will yield great results with the continued support of our donors, volunteers and staff.
As we bring in the new year, our 50th, I would first like to thank each of you that made our end of year fundraising campaign successful. Thanks to the generous support of donors we surpassed our goal of raising $75,000 and will enter 2023 with the financial support needed to build upon our success.
There was a lot to celebrate in 2022 but our greatest impact was made by saving the lives of over 3,200 animals. We ended the year with a live release rate of 94% last year. This was no easy task since we had 3,200 animals come into our care, an unprecedented increase of 600 animals over the year before. We are fortunate to have a supportive community full of volunteers, fosters, adopters and donors like you that share our vision for creating a community that values animal welfare.
Last year was our most impactful year to date. We found adoptive homes for 1,829 animals. Over 1,000 animals benefited from temporary placement in foster homes. Our dedicated volunteers donated 11,000 hours of their time and we helped reduce the feline overpopulation by getting 500 outdoor cats spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.
This will be my fifth year with the RHSPCA and I am still in awe of the generosity and support of our donors and the dedication of our staff and volunteers. I am excited for us to further expand our programs and services this year as we continue to fulfill our mission of decreasing pet homelessness through advocacy and adoption. Together, we will make sure that our 50th year is our most successful year as we continue to proactively address the causes of pet homelessness in our community.
Pam Miller knew better than to purchase a puppy from a pet store. She knew that pet stores very often get the puppies from puppy mills and there was no way she was going to support such a thing. This is why when she was ready to add another dog to her family, she chose to adopt Arlo, a then six month old puppy who was rescued from a puppy mill in West Virginia. What Pam didn’t realize was the extent of the psychological trauma that dogs from puppy mills carry.
November was Adopt a Senior pet month and nine deserving senior pets found loving homes. All too often senior pets are overlooked by adopters. So each of these pets’ adoption fees were reduced to only $25, and it worked! It’s especially rewarding to see the older animals find loving homes to be with a family this holiday season. In addition to the senior pets, 196 other animals were also placed in adoptive homes..
Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, kicked off our annual fundraising campaign this year on November 29th. This year’s effort was focused on raising awareness and funds for senior pets and we exceeded our goal of $10,000 for Giving Tuesday. These funds will go towards providing for the special medical and behavioral needs of the senior pets that come into our care. The funds also offset the reduced adoption fees that incentivize the adoption of pets in need.
Twenty five dollars does not come close to covering our costs to get an animal ready for adoption. Each animal is vaccinated, dewormed, microchipped, blood tested, and spayed or neutered (if intact) before being placed for adoption. They are provided with nutritious food, treats, toys as well medical treatment for what ails them. As pet owners can relate, the cost of veterinary care has skyrocketed over the last two years. Our experience has been the same as we continue to provide the same excellent care for all our ‘temporary pets’ here at the RHSPCA.
Our fundraising efforts will continue through the end of the year as we try to reach our goal of $75,000. You’ll be hearing from us a little more often during the Holiday season as we share with you our accomplishments over this past year and goals for next year. It is through your support that we continue to expand our impact and further our mission. To create a community free of pet homeless and animal suffering through adoption and advocacy.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the RHSPCA family and the pets in our care.
The cooler weather seems to have slowed the intake of cats to the shelter with ‘only’ 200 cats and kittens coming into our care last month for a total of 300 animals. 19 of them were senior pets which is especially heartbreaking to see. The older animals have a much harder time adjusting to the shelter environment and are more often suffering from neglect. Nearly 15% of dogs and cats coming into our care each year are over seven years of age (seniors).
All of the animals are special to us but the seniors always get a little extra attention from the staff and volunteers. They like to spend more time on the dog walks and brushing the cats. Only the more comfortable blankets are used and a little extra attention is given to their food prep. I often find the best soft treats stashed in the food pantry for the older pets. They tug at the heartstrings a little harder than the others.
More often than not, the senior animals come into our care with unaddressed medical concerns. The ones surrendered to us tend to be in better shape than the strays. More often than not the owners are giving up the pet because they have tried and can no longer afford the cost of veterinary care.
It typically costs us between $190 and $275 in veterinary expenses alone to get a dog ready for adoption. Senior dogs on average cost $375 more. Dental disease and X-rays are the most common reasons for offsite vet visits. Joint supplements, pain medication and prescription diets also contribute to the added expense. Their needs are unique and we do what needs to be done to ensure a positive outcome for them.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month and to highlight the senior pets we are reducing all of their adoption fees to $7. It is a myth that what someone pays to acquire a pet is an indicator of the level of care the pet will be provided. It is the extra time our staff takes for all pets when performing adoption counseling that ensures the animals will be as loved in their new homes as they are here at the RHSPCA.
Help us find the perfect retirement homes for the seniors in our care by sharing our upcoming promotion.
September was even busier than August with 355 animals coming into our care (306 in August). We had some great adoptions last month but were very reliant on our transfer partner shelters. Such is the case because the number of cats and kittens we take in far exceeds the number of adoptive homes available for them. Greater participation in community events this fall will give adoptions a boost and get the word out about our community cat vouchers.
We will have dogs available for adoption at a community event each weekend this month. The largest of these will be Subaru Loves Pets on October 15th at Bob Wade Subaru. It’s a great way to showcase dogs that are sometimes overlooked in their kennels. I invite you to come out between 10am and 1pm and spend some time with us and our adoptable dogs and kittens.
Our community cat vouchers, free to residents of Rockingham County, help defer the intake of cats. Each cat altered through the voucher is also microchipped and registered to the caregiver. This ensures a responsible party for the cat and the opportunity to reunite the cat should it be brought into our care. We also offer resources to keep cats off your property for those that aren’t a fan of outdoor cats.
Pet reunification, adoption and transfer to partner shelters are the three ways we can create positive outcomes for the animals. We cannot rely on our transfer partner shelters forever. Decreasing the number of animals coming into our care by offering community cat vouchers and introducing new programming to keep pets in their homes is sustainable.
It is the support and generosity of compassionate individuals like you that make all of our efforts sustainable.
Summer is always the busiest time for us and this year has been no exception. We took 306 animals into our care during the month of August. Over half of those were kittens under five months of age. Spring, summer and fall all blend into one season for us here at RHSPCA… You guessed it – ‘Kitten Season’.
What’s unique this year during kitten season is we’ve seen a very significant increase in the number of dogs coming into our care. Adult dog intakes are up twenty percent and we’ve seen twice as many puppies this year. The increase in intakes has not been unique to us, as shelters across the country have experienced higher intakes ‘post-covid’. The increase in dog intakes has been primarily strays. Owners surrendering the dogs to us have cited ‘financial hardship’ as the number one reason for surrender. Specifically, access to affordable veterinary care and inability to afford or find a place that allowed the owners to keep their dog.
Adult dogs and kittens are the costliest to create a positive outcome for. Cost of veterinary care for adult dogs is higher especially as many were surrendered to us with outstanding medical needs. The sheer volume of young kittens and their susceptibility to illness and disease contributes significantly to the medical expenses.
Kitten season will draw to a close, hopefully, by the end of October. We are continuing to provide Community Cat vouchers to residents of Rockingham County. Proactively reducing the number of kittens being born is the only answer to Kitten Season. And let’s hope the increase in dog intakes this year is an anomaly and not the start of a ‘Dog Season’.