2017 isn’t quite a memory yet as I write this, but it soon will be so I’ll take a little time to offer some reflections on 2017 before we launch ourselves into 2018.
1. Old Dog Haven continues to grow in many ways. I could offer all kinds of statistics here but you can read them in the January E-newsletter so I’ll just generalize: We have more dogs, more foster homes, higher vet bills, increased staff, and thankfully … more donors than we have had in the past.
2. ODH has truly become a haven for old dogs. 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 permanent Final Refuge dogs. We’ve only had a couple of dogs during this past year that were adoptable.
3. Our special fund for major procedures—The Maranda Fund—continues to help dogs, thanks to our generous donors. Max, seen left, needed extensive surgery to repair a nasty spiral fracture of two bones in his leg.
Max is healing and doing very well. Max will be available for adoption soon. Watch the Old Dog Haven website (www.olddoghaven.org) for his posting!
4. Once again The Walk for Old Dogs was a howling success with close to 500 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 a personal example of my throw-away shelter dog that’s now very happy and comfortable with her foster family:
When Corrie, a nine year-old Pembroke Corgi, was brought to the shelter by Animal Control she was emaciated, flea-infested, had serious skin issues and she hadn’t been spayed. (She’d probably been used as a breeding machine) At the shelter she was spayed, a large malignant mammary tumor was removed, as well as the mammary gland and a lymph node. Unfortunately the cancer had metastasized and the shelter called Old Dog Haven to see if she could be placed in hospice care.
Four months later, Corrie now weighs 30 pounds, (recommended weight for her breed) her skin has improved, and she’s a very happy dog. The cancer in her body doesn’t define who she is and she lives her life with joy and she loves having the opportunity to be a happy dog.
Corrie goes for a walk (in her case it’s a run) on the beach every morning and it’s the highlight of her day. She’s become the official greeter and runs to meet every person and dog she sees. She never saw a treat she didn’t think was just for her and now she has her beach friends well-trained so they all bring her goodies. She loves to ride in the car, especially if the car ends up at Starbucks because … well, you know why.
In spite of what must have been an awful background, this charmer is trusting, affectionate, entertaining, and a very welcome addition to our family. However long she’s able to stay, each day is a gift. She’s an amazing dog.
7. 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 $90,000 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.
8. The longer I’m involved with ODH the more impressed I am with what is being done by this organization to help homeless senior dogs. Extraordinary effort by many dedicated people.
9. Our posts for other rescue organizations, shelters and individuals have resulted in many adoptions.
10. I like to think that there’s a growing awareness out there in the ozone, in part inspired by ODH, that senior dogs are valuable and deserve to be in homes with families who will love and cherish them.
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.