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The Ultimate Donation
Not money or gifts., just volunteer your time at the shelter.
It's a 'Soul Changer' on both sides!
Not money or gifts., just volunteer your time at the shelter.
It's a 'Soul Changer' on both sides!
** Time Is Valuable ** Volunteering Is Invaluable **
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Director Animal Protection League
Hoosier Park helps make first Pet-tacular great success
October 25 and 26 was the first Pet-tacular volunteer/staff appreciation and fund raising event at Hoosier Park. It was a great success in a number of ways; it raised much needed funds, it helped to raise awareness about the animals in our community and the work the Animal Protection League does and it was also a show of a community coming together to help support a cause.
Due to the generosity of Hoosier Park October 25 was dedicated to appreciating and honoring the staff and volunteers at the Animal Protection League. These people work tirelessly for the animals in our community and are dedicated to making a difference. I and the Animal Protection League Board wanted to let these wonderful people know how much we appreciate them and all they do; but we simply didn’t have the funds. Hoosier Park did it for us. APL staff and volunteers had a wonderful time and were overcome with all we were given. Hoosier Park had heard that we struggle to get our property mowed which includes the dog park. They donated a riding mower. I told them we need more indoor and outdoor kennels. They are donating the building materials and the workers to provide a more humane environment for our dogs.
The event on Sunday included many activities; contest for pets with cash prizes, a silent auction to mention a few and a walkathon where people and their dogs (or a shelter dog) walked the Hoosier Park Race track and got pledges from friends, family and businesses based on how far they walked. All proceeds going to the Animal Protection League.
As the director I believed it was important that I walk as well. I challenged anyone and everyone to walk longer or to raise more money than me. I made the ridiculous challenge that I would walk all four hours of the event if I could raise $5,000. The day of the event I had only been able to beg the amount of $2,500, so I said that unless I got the rest I’d just walk two hours instead of four.
I was breathing a sigh of relief until one of our board members came up at 11:45 (the walk started at noon) with a nasty little smile, holding up a check. “It looks like you’re walking four hours.” The check was for $5,000. Don’t get me wrong, I was ecstatic to get such a large check….but four hours? I need to learn to keep my mouth shut.
The good news is, for my part of the walk, almost $9,000 was raised to help our animals. All I can say is I earned every dollar out on that dirt track.
Hoosier Park is an important partner for the Animal Protection League; I can honestly say without their financial donations for 2013 we would have struggled to make ends meet. Many only see Hoosier Park as a race track and casino and have very firm opinions regarding this. I was one of those people. Many people and again I was one, have no idea of how much money and support Hoosier Park gives back to this community….to non-profit organizations like the Animal Protection League. It is safe to safe Hoosier Park gives hundreds of thousands of dollars in both monetary and in-kind community support. Hoosier Park is wonderful to work with and their support, generosity and kindness take my breath away.
October 11, 2014
Never a dull moment at the Anderson Protection League
You can say a lot of things about the shelter but the one thing you can’t say is that it’s boring. I’ve often thought we should try to get a reality TV show down on 613 Dewey St., to raise big money. It sometimes has a Jerry Springer feel to it. There are times that I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Or run…
People don’t really understand that it is a business and has procedures for dropping off animals. Some are indignant that we ask them to fill out paperwork. When you drop off dry cleaning you fill out paperwork, why would dropping off a living creature require less? What we hear is: But it’s not mine. Why should I have to fill out paperwork? Why do you need to know my name and address? Well, because we do.
I was in my office the other day when I heard a door slam and yelling. I rushed out to see our office manager very upset trying to hang onto a dog that a man just taken the leash off of and turned loose at our front door. The man was just standing there watching her struggle then he high tailed it to his car. I thought ah oh, now he’s done it.
My office manager had that look in her eye. She goes after him asking him to come in to fill out paperwork. They come in, then they leave; she goes after them again, they are in their car and starting to drive away. She rushes out armed with her phone and is taking pictures of the license plate as they are backing toward her. She gets it done and jumps out of the way just before they run over her. Something is mentioned about calling the police, the woman storms out of the car and into the lobby yelling and thus our Jerry Springer moment escalates. This is about when I thought about running. It was kinda like watching a train wreck.
I tried to reason with the irate woman. She told me to just give her the blanking dog back. I told her no she wasn’t getting the dog back. She then said she wasn’t doing the blanking paperwork so just call the police. So I acted like I was calling the police. She said she’d do the paperwork if my employee took the picture off her phone. After much yelling and nastiness she did the paperwork and finally left. She was still cussing and screaming as she drove out of the parking lot. How can you not love this job? And most people think it’s just about the animals…
August 24, 2014
We are an open admission city shelter which means that we have to take any animal brought to us from within the city of Anderson or any of the entities that we have contracts…even if we have no space.
Monday we were down two employees. One due to a death in the family, she will be gone all week, and another was at the hospital for his child who broke his arm and may need surgery. We operate with a skeleton crew on a daily basis so when an employee misses work, it makes it tight for all of us. Everyone’s work automatically doubled.
Noon: A poor man brought his 17-year-old rat terrier to be euthanized. He was a crying mess as were my staff and myself. A woman who has brought us multiple animals over the years brought yet another dog. It was terribly thin and had a 104-degree fever. We tested for Parvo; it was negative. I asked the woman why the dog was so thin she said the dog wouldn’t eat for her. Well, the dog ate for us; two bowls of food right off the bat. I think she might have lied. The little dog has perked right up.
A woman called last week wanting to bring in five cats, she said they weren’t hers, she had been taking care of them. I asked if she could hang onto them for another few days we were completely full. Well, she brought them today… we were still full. Actually we have over two hundred cats and kittens; we always seem to be full.
A man brings in an eight-week-old kitten covered in urine and feces. The little cat’s eyes and nose are crusted shut with thick mucus and it is breathing through its mouth. It is covered in fleas and terribly thin.
It is now 1 p.m. We have no more kennel space, not one empty crate. Two dogs are sitting in the outside kennels. Devonshire Veterinary Clinic provides us two free boarding kennels so we need to decide who gets to go. So hard to choose, there are so many…
A man brings in his 13-year-old dog along with his buddy Bella, a year- and-a-half old beagle. He’s moving he can’t have them. Both dogs are scared out of their minds. I get on the phone and find a foster to take the 13-year-old. We decided to send Bella the beagle and Sonny the 9-year-old pit mix who is in the lobby to Devonshire. That opens up two cages. Before I can get out of the parking lot to take the dogs to Devonshire, a man is pulling in with two dogs to surrender. Once again we have no space.
By the end of the day we had taken in 25 animals into a shelter that was already crammed full. We close at 5 p.m. At ten minutes after five a man pulls in with his dog who he wants to turn in, it is aggressive to humans, other animals and has attacked a child. He has four more at home, none spayed or neutered ... and it continues
August 14, 2014
Give honor to parents by caring for their pets
My Mom had a dog named Picasso who she rescued as a puppy. He was a little Border Collie mix who was a bundle of fur. He looked like a little black and white bear. Picasso was one of the cutest puppies I’ve ever seen. I adored him and my mom loved him to death.
When Picasso got to be about 14, he started getting a little nippy with mom. It broke her heart to admit that she was getting a little afraid of him. Mom was living at home in Tennessee at the time. On one of my visits I told her I would bring him home and see how he did with me. She would miss him but could not bear to euthanize him simply because he was getting a little too much for her to handle.
I promised I would do my best for him.
I did not need nor want another dog. But I did it for my mom, because she loved Picasso, and I did it for him because I loved him too. He lived happily with me for another three years. Basically, I did it because I could and it would ease my mom’s heart. It was a gift to her.
The ease with which some people bring their loved ones’ pets to shelters always amazes me — whether their parents are deceased, going into a nursing home or cannot care for the pets any more. These are pets whose ages in animal years are probably close to their elderly humans. These pets are missing their humans, and the next thing they know they are in a stressful shelter.
I don’t think this is how their owners envisioned life after their death or their ability to care for their beloved pets to be.
It seems that people would want to keep and care for a pet that their parent loved so dearly. These pets are a link to that person, a little piece of their heart. I understand that for some, taking on a pet — no matter how beloved by a parent — is just not possible. But often they simply do not want the pet. It is just one more thing to take care of while wrapping up the life of a person who has passed.
Pets can make life so much better for us as we get older. They provide company and love and are always there, even when children are too busy in their own lives to make time for their aging parents.
Making sure a loved one’s pet is cared for and cherished is the last gift we can give them. It is a way to honor that person and what was important in their life. It gives solace to the pet. And it can give solace to us.
We have numerous animals whose owners have died at the Animal Protection League. They are senior pets who are depressed and sad. If you have room in your heart and your home, please consider giving one of these pets a place to live out their remaining years
August 6, 2014
Since I’ve taken this job as Director at the Animal Protection League it is a wonder that I’ve not bitten my tongue completely off. I wish I could tell you things are better….but I really can’t.
A family brought their two small dogs and two cats to surrender to us on Monday
. The animals were in the car. Their minister for whatever reason came with them. They told us that their landlord suddenly decided they couldn't have their pets anymore and they would be evicted if they did not get rid of them.
My staff and I went to the car to get the animals. They were all in a thirty six inch wire crate with no bottom. One of the cats had tried to get out and was stuck. He was crying. We managed to get him unstuck. The car was so small that we could not open the crate so we had to lift it and set it on the ground. Meanwhile the other cat got stuck while the dogs were going crazy barking which caused both cats to hiss and go nuts. We finally got them out unscathed… at least physically. At this point my tongue was in definite danger.
I asked to speak to the minister since he seemed to be the leader of this mess. I asked him if he thought the manner in which these animals were transported was appropriate. He seemed completely dumbfounded by my question. I explained why it was inappropriate. He still didn't understand. Compassion for all living creatures must not be in his ministry.
Someone else brought in four tiny kittens. They explained they didn't want them. The kittens were barely alive; covered in fleas…inside and out. There were fleas in their mouths, their noses ears and private parts. One of our volunteers bathed them and picked fleas off of them. I hope they survive.
What concerns me is the lack of empathy we see on a daily basis at the Animal Protection League. For some of these folks it’s as if they are incapable of compassion and empathy. This is even more concerning because they are raising children….and as the saying goes children are our future. I think we should be scared out of our minds. There are people in our community who watch children and animals suffer…and do nothing. I believe this lack of compassion and empathy flows over into how they conduct their lives on other levels…how they treat their children; the elderly the challenged…the weak…
I don’t know scientifically if the ability to feel compassion and empathy is genetic or a learned trait…if children who have cruel parents will end up being cruel as well…maybe it would be safe to say the children will mimic the behavior of their parents. I suppose we can hope there is a teacher, coach, minister someone out there to show these children a different way to be in the world….Perhaps as a community it is up to us to be that role model
August 2, 2014
The 'Cat Coop' tale or 'How I Spent My Summer'
In 2008 I turned my sun-room into a small cat room for cats from Animal Care and Control. I took the cats and kittens who had little chance of leaving ... the sick ones, the deformed, the old. We managed to adopt some and put the others in the 9 Lives prison program but a few are still with me.
One of my dogs decided to dig under my privacy fence last year. To combat this I had eight tons of gravel delivered and put around the perimeter of the fence. Problem solved ... Curtis is afraid of gravel. I was looking at these poor rag tag cats and thought how nice it would be for them to be able to go outside. They are so timid I was sure they would not go over the fence. I put a cat door in the window and out they went. They loved it. I swear I could hear them giggling as they streaked across the yard. A couple of them got adventurous climbed the fence into the tree and went to the front yard.
But I think they talked over the winter and decided that there was a huge world out there and they wanted to see it. I spent a lot of time running around like a nut rounding them up. They never went far, my front yard or my neighbor Andy’s yard. But I didn't like them running loose; it goes against everything I believe. A friend suggested that we put an electric fence around the top. We did, sure that would deter them. I looked out right after we’d finished, one cat was standing on the wire looking back at me before she jumped in the tree and off she went. So we raised the voltage. They laughed as they went over.
I cut the tree down that they used to escape. Ha Ha I thought. Take that. We all know gravel settles…they started to dig out under the fence. Every time I found a hole I put chicken wire down and covered it in gravel. They watched my efforts with nothing less than glee.
Then I saw this great idea on Facebook. PVC piping with another pipe on a cable around the top. When they would try to stand on it; it would spin. I got the piping. But when we got ready to put it up we realized our mistake. It was designed for a chain link….if we put it up inside the panels they would climb up the posts if we put it over the posts they would go under. What to do? We built an enclosure.
Of course my friend who did it said it wouldn't be any big deal…we could do it in a couple of days. Well, two weeks later after much trial and error and yelling we had built a 22 foot by 14 foot enclosure of PVC pipe, chicken wire and zip ties. And yes it has a top. It has a tunnel leading from the sun-room window and a gate. Little houses are inside for them to lounge in the sun. I call it a cat coop.
They had been locked up for quite some time so they were chomping at the bit to get out. When they flew out the window the first time they were a bit dismayed. They sat and looked out to the rest of the yard… I could almost hear them talking…I can’t believe she did this… I watch the little monsters walk the perimeter searching for a way out. I imagine the chatter: “It’s just a matter of time…Dig. Or pick a spot and chew. Or guys just accept it and enjoy the sun, the grass and the air.” So for now they are contained. It is a monument to my passion; or my insanity. All depends on how you look at it
July 23, 2014
Staff @ APL
I often talk about the wonderful volunteers and community support we have at the Animal Protection League. And that volunteers are every non-profits’ life blood…this is true for the Animal Protection League as well. In fact as I've said before without our volunteers and all they do for us we would not be as effective in making a positive difference for the animals in our community. We would be lost without our wonderful volunteers….
But I rarely talk about our staff. As with most animal rescue and city shelters we are understaffed and underfunded. At the Animal Protection League it is not unusual to see the Director or office manager mowing the yard, painting, cleaning kennels and cages; going out in the community and picking up animals even though animal control and picking up animals is not our job. We basically do anything that needs to be done. We do not have the luxury of saying “It’s not my job.” In order to provide a compassionate, humane environment there are things which have to be done and we all pitch in to make sure that it does.
My staff are all passionate about animals. That is a requirement to work there. They come early and stay late if there is an animal in need. My staff adopt and foster our animals…particularly the ones who no one else seems to want; simply to save them. The staff at the Animal Protection League are the ones who take your fourteen flea infested kittens out of a urine soaked card board box, bathe them and remove the fleas.
We are the ones who comfort animals when the owners surrender them; we are the ones who hold them and give them comfort while they are dying because the owner abandoned them or beat them or neglected them. We are the ones who wash them clean of feces and urine because they were locked in a cage. We are the ones who put ourselves in harms way because the owner trained their dogs to be aggressive. We are the ones who watch once happy healthy animals become depressed, stop eating and become ill because of the stress of shelter life.
We are the ones the public yells at and threaten when their animals are taken away by the Anderson Police or the Madison County Sheriffs Department. We are the ones the public yell at because the adoption application they turned in online at midnight has not been processed as quickly as they believe it should be.
The staff at the Animal Protection League are the ones whose hearts are broken on a daily basis because they see first hand what a segment of this community does to its animals. We are also the ones who get to experience the generosity, kindness and support of our community which gives us hope and energy to do the job another day. Why do we do this….Because how we treat our animals matters.
Hats off to shelter workers everywhere who strive to be compassionate and make a difference for the animals in their communities. But especially hats off to my staff at the Animal Protection League.
Director Animal Protection League
A young man and his mother came to the Animal Protection League last
week.They had an adorable four month old Dachshund mix on a
leash. They explained that they loved him so much but they couldn't
keep him. We had to find him a good home.As the story progressed
the young man said he was moving.They kept telling me how they
hated to give him up…that he would be so scared of being in the shelter; that he
was afraid of everything.I then asked if they had signed the lease
yet and if not there are places willing to take pets.The mother
said no the young man said yes and stormed out the door to stand outside with
the dog.I followed him out.
He was calling me some names that were a bit unpleasant.I asked him to
repeat himself in that I hadn't heard him quite clearly.He did and
went on to ask why I was making him feel bad for turning in a
dog.That he couldn't afford to loose a fifteen hundred dollar
deposit.I didn't have much to say to that.I simply
picked up his dog and walked away.In my head the little voice I try
not to let speak in public was asking if you are able to afford a fifteen
hundred dollar deposit on a rental why can’t you afford to find a place that
will allow you to have your dog instead of subjecting him to shelter
life.The mom told me that she watched him being born; and that they
had to give up the mom as well.
Another woman came in and wanted us to take her
nine six week old kittens.She assured us that they would be adopted
quickly because they are so cute.They are adorable but we have
about fifty other adorable kittens.We asked about the momma
cat.They were keeping her. We of course asked if they were getting
her spayed.She said no…why…kittens are so cute and if she got
pregnant again she’d just bring them to us.We offered to pay for
the spay….again she said no…she said that spaying is cruel.
As long as we have this mentality in this community where animals are concerned we
are fighting a losing battle.In a way the existence of animal
shelters allow irresponsible owners to be irresponsible. When they
get tired of the pet, are moving, or pet is simply too much trouble they can
simply surrender to a shelter with no repercussions.Yes, bringing
an animal to a shelter is better than dumping the animal…and I've been asked why
I think animal shelters exist…that that’s what they are for…to take
people’s unwanted pets…And that’s what the Animal Protection League
and other shelters and human societies do….we accept the responsible of caring
for pets that irresponsible pet owners should never have gotten.
COMMUNITY BUSINESSES LEND A HELPING PLACE IN THEIR HEARTS...AND BUSINESSES!!!
The following businesses have agreed to house some of our great cats for your convenience. This helps us allow our cats to get out into the community to meet their potential new owners and relate to people as they shop. We appreciate this community of animal lovers and are thankful for them offering cage space for us while our adoptable animals await their forever homes. They would love to go home with you today!!