Local animal shelters work tirelessly to get homeless pets into loving homes


-Written by Erik Sargent 

As the pet population continues on a  constant rise, so too does the need to find the proper solutions for handling these animals and providing them not only with the appropriate care and treatment, but also finding them happy, forever homes.

All across the globe – from big cities down to small communities – are working to find the answers for dealing with homeless animals, mainly to prevent them from suffering neglect and potential death. It’s a complex issue, filled with hurdles like finding resources, having the proper space to house an animal, and having the proper staffing to provide support.

It’s up to the hardworking individuals at animal shelters and rescues to not only come up with the solutions for these animals, but to continue doing so each and every day with such constant turnover.

“We’re an open admission shelter, which means that we are completely open to the public and that all animals are welcome here from our service area,” said Wendy Welch, communications director for the Human Society of Huron Valley, located in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Thanks to the support we have in the community, we are able to treat many animals that come through our doors, and save the mass majority of them. We have about a 97 percent save rate, and an incredibly high adoption rate as well.”

The facilities at Huron Valley feature a full-service veterinary clinic that is open to the public, and they are able to provide treatment to most animals that come through their doors.

“We try to keep rates low [at the veterinary clinic], because our ultimate goal is to keep animals in homes,” Welch said. “Our vet staff takes a look at them and can treat them for different things. If there is something beyond the scope of what we are able to do here, we have partners in the community that can help as well. We also have behavior specialists that can help with differing conditions animals may have.”

Other facilities like the Heartland Animal Shelter, located in Northbrook, Ill., focus their efforts in providing safety for animals who are in danger, particularly ones who are on the streets and facing euthanasia.

“We get animals from all different situations,” said Stephanie Mueller-Simpson, executive director for Heartland Animal Shelter. “We will take owner surrenders sometimes, but mostly, we try to focus on animals that are in danger. Many of our cats and dogs come straight off the streets, and most of our dogs and cats come from municipal shelters where they are on the euthanasia list because there just isn’t room for them.”

Finding the resources

With organizations like these, money and resources can often be tight, and without the proper backing, they aren’t able to treat as many animals.

“One major challenge for us is the nature of being a no-kill, nonprofit means that we are a private organization, so we run entirely on donations,” Mueller-Simpson said. “So, if we don’t have particular items donated or money donated, we just can’t provide. That’s always an on-going challenge.”

It’s a difficult road relying on donations, and in order for a place like Heartland to operate, they need the money from any source possible and from people who care as much about animals as they do.

Another aspect that allows animal shelters and rescues to operate on a day-to-day basis is from volunteers in the communities they operate. Whether it’s with something simple like hosting community events or participating in the various volunteer programs these shelters offer, it provides a great service to the organizations trying to operate at a high level.

“We are fortunate to have many foster parents, so in addition to the space we have at our facilities, we have foster parents in the community who are able to take in the animals,” Welch said. “Whether it’s a medical emergency or a behavioral problem where the animal needs one-on-one attention, they are taken care of.”

Help from those in the community

22365597_1772764639425131_5775562813298348519_nThe impact of donations and volunteer work are hard to measure as shelters house hundreds of animals each year, and it’s people in the community who make the difference.

For the international moving company TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, select franchise locations do their part to make a difference with their Movers for Mutts campaign. Movers for Mutts was a program developed by the company, and franchises who elect to run this during the fall months use their moving services and equipment to help transport food, toys, and other essential care items collected in the community for local shelters or rescues that need it most.

DSC01626It’s a good way for the company to not only give back in the communities they operate, but also to work toward saving or improving the lives of as many animals as they can.

“It’s very important to us to give back with efforts like Movers for Mutts, because we have been in this community for a long time, and the community has been good to us,” said Eric St. Pierre, co-franchisee at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Colorado Springs, Colo. location. “It’s the least we can do. We want the community to know how much we appreciate them, and we want to help out animals, too.”

Not only does the charitable work go toward a great cause in the community, it also gives the franchise team members a break from the everyday grind and a chance to make a difference.

“We order the materials, make up donation boxes, and get in contact with local shelters who need the help,” St. Pierre said. “I think it gives our team members something different to focus on and takes away from the monotony of work. Our workers are extremely passionate about it.”

Join the cause

“There are so many ways to help,” Welch said. “We have many volunteer opportunities from youth volunteers to adults, who can do anything from laundry and administrative assistance to dog walking and cat comforting – these are the most popular ones. Even more skilled things – we have them help out with our dog play groups and dog pack walks, and many other things.”

Outside assistance to these types of organizations is crucial, and gives people a chance to help better protect the lives of these animals and take stress off of the organizations working to save them.

Whether you’re working with one tasks mentioned above, working to become a foster parent, donating your time with their volunteer activities, or just handing over a cash donation – everything helps.

“Just spreading the word is such a major thing,” said Mueller-Simpson. “There will always be issues with pet stores and breeders, and there will always be an overpopulation of animals. Spreading the word about why adoption is important can make a big difference.”

To learn more about the work being done at both of these facilities, visit the Heartland Animal Shelter website and Facebook page here and here, and the Human Society of Huron Valley website and Facebook here and here.

Animal rescues using the power of volunteer work to save pet lives


Written by Erik Sargent

For many homes across the world, dogs and cats are more than just pets – they are meaningful members of a family, and are loved by everyone.

Unfortunately for many animals, this lifestyle isn’t always an option, as the rising number of animals in shelters continues to increase as the pet population continues to skyrocket, particularly in urban areas. The sad reality is the more animals entering these shelters, the higher number of animals being put down by euthanasia.

According to estimates from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters each year. Of this number, approximately 3.3 million are dogs, and 3.2 million of them are cats. Within these numbers, it is estimated that approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year because they did not get adopted.

Due to the sheer number of animals, the solution may never be resolved. However, thanks to wonderful people across the country, there are numerous animal shelters and rescues working tirelessly to ensure these loving animals are given a second chance and an opportunity to find a forever home.

A rescue that’s doing fantastic work is the Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a volunteer-powered nonprofit dedicated to rescuing homeless, neglected, and abandoned animals from certain euthanasia and finding them loving homes.

“Lucky Dog is what we call ‘volunteer-powered’,” said Mirah Horowitz, executive director for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. “We have a very small number of paid staff, and a vast majority of everything we do is done by volunteers. We have no facilities or shelter. The number of animals we can save is directly dependent on the number of volunteer foster homes we have, because obviously, the animals need a place to go until they are adopted.”

Horowitz and Lucky Dog are based on the east coast, and work primarily in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Puerto Rico. They partner with shelters or rescues that have very low adoption rates, and work to bring the animals to the Washington D.C. metro area.

Lucky Dog has volunteers who drive vans to shelters all over this region, and Horowitz and the Lucky Dog team have people they trust all over this area who are able to send them photos and descriptions of the animals they have so they know which ones will fit in their rescue. Last year, Lucky Dog rescued more than 1,725 animals.

“Our typical work is with ‘high-kill’ shelters, where the animals come in and their adoption rates are so low, that less than 10 percent of the animals leave alive,” Horowitz said. “Lucky Dog is able to take 40 to 50 percent of the animals that come in over the year and make a huge impact by saving their lives.”

There is no offseason for the Lucky Dog Animal rescue, either, as their work is non-stop, around the clock, all year long.

“It’s constant, it really is constant,” Horowitz said of their work load. “You see a little bit of a spike around the holiday season when people get rid of their dogs – especially older dogs – when they are trading them for younger dogs. There is a constant need for animals that need to be saved, it never really lets up.”

Movers making a difference

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we have a special place in our hearts for pets, and have formed our own initiatives to make a difference in the lives of animals all across the country.

22814443_1789794957722099_8643915050224876084_nOur Movers for Mutts campaign was developed to help local animal shelters support and foster stray animals in communities across the country. This program is hosted each fall, and the franchise locations that run this partner with local businesses, schools, and organizations to collect essential care items for pets to ensure they are taken care of while being housed in a shelter.

“We have many rescue organizations in our area that rely 100 percent on community support,” said Kirk Fishel, former marketing coordinator for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh, Wis., locations. “If they do not receive support from the community, they must use their personal funds to help neglected, abused, and homeless animals. We felt this was an opportunity to help these animals and organizations by coordinating a Movers for Mutts campaign in our community.”

Movers for Mutts provides TWO MEN AND A TRUCK franchise locations and their employees not only the chance to make a difference, but also to work with pets and provide a positive experience for them – something everyone can enjoy.

“We are a local company that cares about the community we work in,” said Patti Pula, sales team lead for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Bay City, Midland, and Saginaw, Mich., location. “We try to give back to our community as often as possible. Most people know families that are in need, but don’t stop to think there might be pets in need, also.”

Getting involved

Shelters around the country vary in quality, and according to Horowitz, some of the bigger problems that shelters – particularly in rural areas – are facing include lack of resources, not enough high-quality food to give the animals, and not having the proper health protocols in place to ensure the safety of animals.

Most of all, the problem lies with low adoption rates, and as the rising number of pets increases, this will continue to be an issue.

As mentioned previously, a majority of the work done by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue stems from the help of unpaid volunteers, as it does with most major animal shelters and rescues. Horowitz encourages people who want to get involved to do so, reminding readers than any amount of help can go a long way in making a difference in the lives of animals.

“Lucky Dog always needs volunteers,” Horowitz said. “They don’t have to be physically located where we are, they can be remote. The other big way people can help out is with donations. We’re always in need of monetary donations, so if it’s not Lucky Dog, people should find another reputable shelter or rescue and commit their time or money. There’s never enough, there’s always a need for more.”

To learn more about the work that Lucky Dog Animal Rescue does, click here.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.