I know it probably seems like Animal Welfare Society is always begging for donations of some sort every time you turn around. I thought this would be a good time to give you some facts regarding the operating costs of our shelter and the responsibilities of our staff, volunteers and board members along with some helpful facts regarding this holiday season.
With every one or two cats and kittens that get adopted it seems we take in three or four. We feed them twice a day. In the morning, they get canned food with a side of dry. In the late afternoon, they are given a little dry food in their dishes to hold them over until morning. Of course, the kittens have food available at all times. I can easily go through a case of canned food feeding our two cat rooms and our floor cats. That doesn’t include our isolation room or grooming room that houses our overflow. I can’t remember the last time grooming has been empty of cats in cages. This is the reason we are always asking for donations of pet food. It is very hard to keep up with the demand.
Every day they each get a fresh scoop of litter in their boxes, and in the large pens the litter boxes take five scoops each. We get our litter delivered from Agway by the pallets on a call-in basis. We can’t rely on an automatic refill because each month we use a different quantity depending on the number of cats we take in. We have an overabundance of cats and kittens, which causes us to go through an extremely large amount of litter.
Our dogs are basically the same scenario minus the litter, of course. We have 18 kennels that can house our dogs, and when we have very small dogs, especially in the colder months (if we have the space), we house them in isolation and grooming. We also have a gated area at our front desk where we can keep the smaller dogs.
Some facts from the month of October’s Profit & Loss Statement:
Total income—which includes, but is not limited to, adoptions, fund-raising, canisters, shelter store, spay/neuter and membership dues—totals $12,797.74.
Total expenses for the month of October—which includes, but is not limited to, medical, insurance, supplies, food, utilities and advertising—totals $33,135.00 (medical alone for October totaled $9,240.42).
We had a net income of (minus) -$20,337.26. So you can see why we have to ask and ask some more for help.
Our staff members are very dedicated employees. They are not in it for the money. As you can see, we don’t have much money to go around but we do value our employees and are as generous with their pay as possible. Every one of them has the well-being of our animals at heart. Our staff members work weekends and holidays. Our manager is available 24/7 for emergencies. As we all know from experience, most problems arise “after hours.”
Our shelter is run by a Board of Directors, which consists of our president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, director of public relations/marketing, director of fund-raising, and shelter manager. All positions (except shelter manager) are non-paying positions. We put in countless hours consisting of brain-storming, meetings, public relations, education, animal training, fund-raising and awareness programs—all of which is done after we’ve worked at our day jobs.
I personally have never done anything so rewarding in my life. I cannot explain the satisfaction and happiness we feel when we receive updates on our adoptions and see how well our past shelter animals are doing. Most of our rescued animal’s lives may not have started out very well but from the moment they enter our shelter their story changes. It definitely will be a happily-ever-after story.
With the cold weather and holidays approaching, please be aware of the dangers lurking around for your pets.
Did you know…
· Many holiday plants can lead to health problems in dogs and cats. Among the plants to keep out of reach are holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies.
· Antifreeze is poisonous to pets. Just a small amount can be deadly. Snow globes often contain antifreeze so keep them away from your pets.
· The extra cords and plugs of holiday lights and other fixtures can look like chew toys to pets. Tape down or cover cords to help avoid shocks, burns or other serious injuries. Unplug lights when you are not home.
· Pine needles, when ingested, can puncture holes in a pet’s intestine. So keep pet areas clear of pine needles.
· Pets, particularly cats, can be tempted to eat tinsel, which can block the intestines. Keep other ornaments out of reach of pets. Ingestion of any ornament, which might look like toys to pets, can result in life-threatening emergencies. Even ornaments made from dried food can lead to ailments. And remember, shards from broken glass ornaments can injure paws, mouths and other parts of the body.
· Keep candles on high shelves. Use fireplace screens to avoid burns.
· Do not let pets drink the holiday tree water. Some may contain fertilizers, and stagnant tree water can harbor bacteria. Check labels for tree water preservatives and artificial snow, and buy only those that are non-toxic. Some folks use screens around trees to block access to electrical cords and gifts.
· Very important: Do not put aspirin in the water (some folks do this thinking it will keep the tree or plant more vigorous). If a pet ingests the aspirin-laced water, his health or even life can be at risk.
· Avoid toxic decorations. Check all labels for any hidden dangers. Snow sprays can cause reactions when inhaled, styrofoam poses a choking hazard and water in snow scenes may contain toxic organisms such as Salmonella.
· Holiday time can be very stressful to your pets. Make sure pets have a safe place to retreat in your house away from noise and guests. Make sure they are wearing current ID in case they escape out a door when guests come and go.
· Always make time to spend and care for your pets. Do not take a holiday from the responsibility of pet ownership.
· If your pets are stressed, Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence available in most health food stores, is a natural stress reliever that many folks keep on hand at home and in travel kits. It can often help both people and animals recover from injury, fright, illness, travel fatigue, chocolate ingestion and irritation. Put a few drops in the water bowl or a drop on a towel in their crate.
· Do not let guests feed your pet’s human food. There are many holiday foods, including fatty meats, gravies, poultry skin, bones, chocolate and alcohol, that can cause illnesses from vomiting and diarrhea to highly serious pancreatitis and other toxic reactions.
These are just some of the dangers of the holiday season. Always try and look at a situation from your pet’s point of view. Walk around your home and survey each room. They are like young children always ready to explore the unknown. Just because it looks like a toy doesn’t mean it is! They are counting on you to keep them safe and secure.
Everyone at Animal Welfare Society wants to wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season.