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Apryl’s Message – VIP Summer 2021

Apryl Steele with Cat

Being able to do our work with fewer restrictions is such a relief! Welcoming patrons to our adoption floors, connecting in person to people as they make the difficult decision to relinquish a pet, having interactive in-person conversations at our veterinary hospital, participating in meetings that allow spontaneous and ingenious discussion to evolve, re-connecting with our volunteers and supporters…these are just a few examples of what the Dumb Friends League has been able to bring back to our work. We are grateful for the resiliency, commitment and hard work that has gotten us to this point, and we are so very relieved that we are safely here!

These increased efficiencies did not happen a moment too soon. The number of animals in our care is challenging. We are at or above most of our pre-pandemic intake numbers, with many days seeing more than 100 animals come to us from our own community. The average time these animals stay with us is longer, which is likely because the animals we are receiving have increasingly resource intensive medical and behavioral needs. We are also receiving lots of kittens! No one knows if the lack of spay and neuter for several months led directly to this increase, but regardless of the reason kitten season came on strong this year. The support we have received from foster homes, especially those angels who are willing to bottle feed tiny kittens around the clock, is exceptional. Thank you!

One of our programs, Pet Assist, is seeing a several fold increase in demand. Through the Pet Assist program, we find temporary but vital housing for owned pets whose caretakers have a crisis that makes them unable to care for their pet for a limited time. These are often folks who have lost their housing and have a plan, but there is gap between losing their home and getting into the new one during which they either experience homelessness or stay with friends and family who cannot accommodate the pet. Imagine being in this situation and facing losing your best friend as well. We also see folks who are having to go to the hospital, and they often delay their own care because they cannot bear to lose their pet for whom they have no solution for temporary care. Domestic violence is another sad situation when providing a safe place for a pet often enables the victim to flee to safety. Both economic realities and mental health challenges seem to have increased the need for temporary homes. Pets in this program have their medical needs addressed by the League at no cost, and then they are placed into a foster home for weeks or even months. With the increased demand, we are in great need of more foster homes who are willing to house and love these animals during their family’s crisis. Please reach out to our volunteer services administrative assistant, Michelle at mnicholas@ddfl.org, to learn more about the program and how to get involved.

Through the impressive work of our volunteers and our staff we are making a greater difference than ever for vulnerable animals in our community. It is when the need is greatest that we shine.

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