Since 2016 is almost just a memory I thought you might like to read about some of the highlights of the year for Old Dog Haven. My numbers won’t be completely accurate because I’m writing this on December 22 and we don’t do year-end numbers until December 31, but you’ll be able to see the exact numbers in the January E-Newsletter, which will be available the first week of January.
1. We will probably have over 300 dogs in our care by the end of the month. Of these dogs, 99% of them are Final Refuge dogs (Permanent foster care). In past years we took in many dogs that were adoptable, but in the last few years the dogs that are coming to us are either short term hospice dogs or Final Refuge dogs. We’ve only had about six dogs during this past year that were adoptable. But several of our foster families joined the ranks of “Failed Fosters” and decided to officially adopt the dogs they were fostering.
2. So far over 350 dogs have been adopted from postings on our website and Facebook page this year. This is a service we’re happy to provide to shelters, individuals and other rescue groups. The success of these postings has been remarkable and we’re so happy to be a part of that process.
3. Our special fund for major procedures—The Maranda Fund—has helped 23 dogs this year … thanks to our generous donors. Let me tell you about one dog that was helped by the Maranda Fund in quite a miraculous way:
Scrappy, a terrier-Chi mix, arrived at the shelter with a seriously dislocated elbow. (He was probably hit by a car because there were other wounds as well.) The shelter felt that the leg would need to be amputated, but Dr. Mark Engen—the “Dean of Surgeons” at Seattle Veterinary Specialists—thought he could surgically repair it. Dr. Engen succeeded and Scrappy is doing very well. He will always have a little limp, but he has four usable pain-free legs now. Dr. Engen said that it was probably his “case of the year.” Because he’s only nine, Scrappy may be available for adoption once he completes his physical therapy … unless his foster family is unwilling to give him up, which wouldn’t be surprising since Scrappy is a great little dog with a wonderful smile.
4. The Walk for Old Dogs was a howling success with over 400 people and their dogs showing up for a wonderful afternoon at the park.
5. Our annual picnic for Fosters and volunteers was an event filled with joy and pride as our dogs strutted their stuff with the people who love them.
6. The year was filled with many success stories of dogs that underwent transformations once they were bailed out of the shelter and taken in by our dedicated foster families. Here’s an example of a throw-away shelter dog that’s now very happy and comfortable with his foster family:
Beau was sent to ODH by the shelter because he suffered from arthritis in all four legs. (The shelter called him “Bow” while he was there because his legs were so bowed.) His arthritis is now being treated with medication and he’s a happy, well-loved dog. First-time fosters Muriel and Mark McCarty say this about Beau:
“I smile as I write this because Beau, with his quirky, crazy personality brought with him a ton of joy. He truly is the perfect counterpoint to Nyssa (our German Shepherd) who is lithe, brainy, refined and attentive. Beau is solid, oblivious, carefree and over-eager. While Nyssa waits for us to tell her when it’s time to eat, Beau has a built-in food clock that he shows us by lying down behind our legs whenever we enter the kitchen around either mealtime. We’ve come to understand he has separation anxiety and have made adjustments to alleviate it although we experienced a few destroyed household items in the process. While the dogs aren’t cuddle pals, and Nyssa sometimes acts like Beau is the troll under the bridge, they get along just fine and give one another comfort when they’re home alone together. They also both LOVE their daily walks. We often wonder what his story is and how anyone could have let him go, or not looked for him. Our hope is that we get to love him for many more years to come.
7. When I talk with other Board members and staff about the year I hear comments like this:
- “I’m amazed at the number of people who know of ODH and how their faces and voices light up at the mention of the name.
- “Having fostered for over 10 years it is so gratifying to see the growth over those years and to see what it is today.
- “My favorite part of becoming part of the ODH staff is getting to know many of the new fosters.”
- “So much hard work and dedication by many.”
- “Our selfless volunteers, fosters, donors and Final Refuge sponsors are passionate about our mission and make ODH possible.
8. Based on feedback I’ve received, our new blog seems to be a hit. People have found the information to be helpful, educational and entertaining, which is what it’s all about.
9. Our Executive Director Judith Piper has this to say about 2016:
“In our 12th year ODH grew very large in some ways—315 dogs are in 220 ODH families’ homes tonight. At the same time we’ve been able to help many other senior dogs find adoptive homes by helping shelters, other groups and owners get the word out. All of this depends on so many people’s above-and-beyond efforts. Our foster parents, Board members, volunteers and staff are absolutely the best! To know that so many people care and are willing to do so much for homeless old dogs really is heart-warming. But the real treat is seeing those happy dogs, some almost unrecognizable from their shelter pictures; they glow and it makes it all worthwhile.”
10. Our donors really outdid themselves this year: The Walk, Give Big, Giving Thursday, and calendar sales earned many thousands of dollars for the dogs, as well as the constant financial support from individuals throughout the year. Because we are caring for so many dogs and our monthly vet expenses average about $80,000 per month we couldn’t possibly do what we do without your help. You have no idea how appreciated you all are because of your support and commitment to our mission.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to our donors, volunteers, fosters, staff, board and everyone who is a part of the ODH family. We were able to do what we did for the dogs this past year because of you. Paws up to all of you! We look forward to a happy and healthy new year for all of our dogs as well as the people who love and support them.
NEWS FLASH! OLD DOG HAVEN WILL BE FEATURED ON THE TODAY SHOW TUESDAY DEC. 27 BETWEEN 10:00 A.M.-11:00 A.M. DURING THE KATHIE LEE AND HODA HOUR OF THE SHOW.