Just as we were going to send this newsletter our entire world changed. What surely was a magnificent article on our exciting legislative issues became irrelevant, both because there are more important updates to share and because the state legislature is on hiatus and it is unclear what will happen with the bills we have been sheparding. Thankfully this VIP update is a perfect opportunity to share how the League has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Animal shelters and veterinary hospitals are essential workers. We are needed right now more than ever to facilitate animals staying in homes when unemployment has threatened the ability for many folks to keep their pets fed and healthy. These are the same homes where isolation is taking an emotional toll, and the companionship of pets is life affirming.
At the same time animals are still being relinquished, stray animals are still being brought to us, and animals suffering at then end of their lives still deserve a humane ending. And we must do all of this while protecting our team’s health. This reality has led to many changes around how we operate but it has not changed our commitment to speak for those who cannot.
One of the hardest changes we have had to make is to cancel all volunteer shifts at the Malone Center and the Buddy Center. We miss our volunteers and look forward to the time when we can welcome you safely back. We have also separated our staff in to two teams that are never exposed to one another, which has decreased the number of staff members at the shelters at any time. This has allowed us to follow physical distancing recommendations and team members are jumping in wherever they are needed regardless of their “usual” job.
The adoptions process has changed as well. Any time we encourage people to leave their homes, any time we interact with the public, any time the public interacts with one another…we are adding to the devastation of this pandemic. While we must place animals, the adoptions process is inherently challenging. Instead, we are using our foster system to get our animals into homes, and if a foster parent wants to adopt the animal we have sent to them we are happily making that happen. Over 2000 members of our community have signed up to offer their home to one of our animals, and we are grateful for this outpouring of support.
And while we do not allow the public into our shelters, we are still accepting the animals that need us. Initially there was a sharp decrease in our intake, but we are now seeing many more animals that people can no longer keep despite resources we offer them.
Solutions veterinary hospital is overwhelmed with demand. Our incredible team set up a “pop-up veterinary hospital” to serve even more animals with urgent medical needs. Everyone is working together for our community’s animals.
I have deep gratitude for our volunteers who are understanding why we have had to make these changes, to the staff members who are working long days and showing up for the animals despite their own fears, the high risk staff members who are working from home, and especially to our donors who, despite uncertain times, are sharing their resources so we can ensure animals aren’t forgotten.
We look forward to getting back to normal when we are on the other side of this public health crisis. In the meantime, remember you matter, and we need you to stay healthy and safe. And know that we will never stop caring for the animals.
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