This requires a significant investment of time and money. But we think that this is both what our mission charges us to do and what the community wants us to do: save more lives.

I haven’t written a blog entry for a couple of weeks because I have been busy with a grant application. Several months ago I put our name on a waiting list for a special ASPCA relocation program, and just recently got the green light to submit a full application. This may or may not turn into anything, but we thought it was worth a try.

Members of the Adair County Humane Society may be familiar with our relocation program from reading the annual newsletter. But other folks probably have no idea how many hundreds of dogs we save every year by transporting them to rescue organizations in other parts of the country. In 2012 alone we transported 598 dogs! This is above and beyond the number adopted from our shelter! This is a tremendous achievement!

Before I go any further, let me first say that adoption is our number one priority. If we could find homes in our area for all of the homeless animals at the shelter, we would be more than happy to do so. But it’s not the case; there aren’t enough adopters here to provide homes for all of the homeless dogs and cats. So we try hard to promote spay/neuter to limit the number of unwanted animals in the area, and we also work hard to transport animals from our shelter to rescue organizations in more populous areas where there is a greater demand for adoptable animals.

Our shelter manager (Missy) began our relocation program several years ago. The shelter was suddenly very crowded after state inspectors confiscated twenty dogs from a breeding facility and brought them to us. That’s when Missy started making phone calls. With the help of a network of other animal welfare advocates, she was able to move these animals out of our shelter and to rescue groups.

In recent years her collaboration with rescue groups has been especially important for helping mama dogs and their puppies get through their first eight weeks together. If we can transport these animals together and guarantee them a spot in a foster home, we usually do it. This reduces the stress for mama and also frees up room in our shelter for other dogs in need.

Rescue groups tend to specialize in a particular breed of dog. A couple of years ago we arranged for several Beagles to travel to a rescue group in Colorado. Two rescue volunteers, a retired couple, drove their RV on a multi-state trip to save Beagles. One poor old dog who had been malnourished and tick-infested before coming to the shelter was one of the lucky ones to travel with them. He has since been adopted and is now living at a resort in Vail, Colorado. Must be nice!

We lose money on every dog we send to a rescue because we provide basic care (including de-worming and vaccines) before transport. Plus sometimes we have to drive the animals hundreds of miles to meet our contacts. This requires a significant investment of time and money. But we think that this is both what our mission charges us to do and what the community wants us to do: save more lives.

Which brings me to this grant. The ASPCA grant challenges us to transport even more dogs this month than we did last May. If we are successful, we will get a small stipend to reimburse us for some of our costs.

To be honest we could really use the money. The cost of food, medicine, and fuel continues to rise. And our treasurer is already starting to worry about next winter’s heating bills. Support of our relocation program – whether it be from a large organization like the ASPCA or from local individuals who want to encourage us to save even more animals – is always welcome.

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