Hard to place, but easy to love

KOIN 6 stopped by Animal Aid this week to meet some of our adoptables like Harriet who are featured on Core Paws. Fun fact: Animal Aid was Core Paws’ first-ever partner nonprofit, and we’re so thankful for all that they do to help promote our hard-to-place but easy-to-love shelter and foster animals!

If you haven’t been acquainted with Harriet and our other adoptables yet, be sure to stop by the shelter soon to meet your purrfect match or read more about them here.

Join us for Yoga with Cats

Dates: Sunday, October 29 and Sunday, December 3, from noon-1:00 p.m.

Location: Animal Aid (5335 SW 42nd Ave.)

Cost: $20

Find your center (and a little cat hair) by joining Harriet and her friends at the Animal Aid shelter for Yoga with Cats from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 29 and/or Sunday, December 3. These classes will be taught by Yoga NW instructor Bonny Chipman. Guests should bring their own mat and arrive at the shelter at 11:45 a.m. Spots are limited, so click here to reserve your seat today.

Back Fence PDX Mainstage: Cats

Date: Saturday, September 16. Doors open at 7:00, show starts at 8:00

Location: Alberta Rose Theatre (3000 NE Alberta St. )

Cost: Advance tickets: $16 General admission, $28 VIP.  At the door: $20

Let’s be honest: we all love a good cat story.  And no one does live storytelling quite like Back Fence PDX, which features a mix of local and out-of-town performers telling true personal tales based on each night’s theme. Join us on Saturday, September 16, for storytelling all about cats. Back Fence will be donating a portion of the night’s ticket sales to our shelter, and Animal Aid representatives will be onsite to share our own cat tales and other exciting news happening at our shelter.

Learn more about the night’s performers and purchase your tickets here: http://www.merctickets.com/events/40469766/back-fence-pdx-mainstage-cats

Thank you for your support of animals like Huck!

Dear Friend of Animal Aid,

Have you ever tried to imagine how the world looks through your pet’s eyes?

Last September, we took a special dog into our care named Huck. He is a charmer, a goof ball, and, most importantly, a good boy. His favorite word is “treat,” and his favorite thing to do is be with his people—whether that means going for a walk, playing a game of tug-o-war, or lying quietly at your feet as you work. But Huck also experiences a high level of anxiety when being introduced to new people. Many details about the first few years of Huck’s life are unknown to us, and he is often scared and reactive in the process of learning to trust.

We can only guess what the world looks like through Huck’s eyes, but there is one thing that is clear to us: We are committed to doing everything we can to make the world Huck sees a safe and joyful one. But we need your help to do that.

Since day one, Animal Aid has been dedicated first and foremost to serving animals. We commit to the cats and dogs we rescue for life. In Huck’s case, this means dedicating as much time and as many resources as necessary for him to live the very best life he can. It means scheduling at least five dog caregiving shifts a day. It means allocating funding toward ongoing, one-on-one behavioral trainings. It means staff and volunteers rearranging their days and their lives so they can contribute to the betterment of his. It means working diligently right along side Huck to be the best companions we can be.

Without Animal Aid, Huck would not have the opportunities available to him that he has today—and without your support, neither would we. Please consider giving to Animal Aid today so that we can continue providing animals like Huck with the time, attention, and resources they need to be healthy, safe, and happy.

It’s the unfortunate truth that Huck’s case is not unique. Many cats and dogs in Portland and beyond need our help. They need the time and space that our shelter and foster programs allow for. They need the attention and devotion that our staff and volunteers can give. They need the veterinary and behavioral care that our community programs make available.

Our work is only made possible through your generosity, and every little bit provides something valuable for our animals, like Huck:

  • $10 will provide flea treatment or a microchip for an animal.
  • $60 will provide a month of high quality food for a homeless pet.
  • $100 will provide veterinary exams for four animals.
  • $150 will provide a behavioral training session for Huck.
  • $300 will provide dental treatment for a painful mouth.
  • $500 will provide spay/neuter operations for 10 animals.

We’ve taught Huck new skills during his time with us, but the truth is that he’s taught us even more. He’s reaffirmed our belief that all animals are individuals who deserve to be treated as such. He’s challenged us to think deeply about the expectations our society places on pets. He’s humbled us with the reminder of how remarkable the bond we share with our companion animals really is.

When we imagine the world through Huck’s eyes, we see the joy of simple things: a good stick to chew, a good plant to sniff, a good ball to chase—a good boy who will give you his heart just as soon as he feels confident enough to lend you his paw.

On behalf of all of us at Animal Aid, thank you for supporting our shelter, our programs, and animals like Huck.

Warmly,

Paige O’Rourke
Director of Operations

P.S. This summer, Animal Aid will begin the process of a complete facility remodel that will allow for the rescue and adoption of up to 25% more cats at our shelter! We hope you’ll consider join us in taking our organization to the next phase of its evolution and its potential by giving to Animal Aid today.

Thank you to our nonprofit community!

One of the great things about nonprofits is the sense of community they often build–whether it’s a legion of volunteers who come together to fulfill a mission, individuals who open their hearts and pocket books for the cause,  or fellow nonprofits sharing resources for the enrichment of the community as a whole. In the last month, Animal Aid has been the beneficiary of several of these acts of kindness and giving, and we want to take a moment to give thanks and recognize what an amazing community we are a part of.

Adoptable Addy enjoying a midday snooze.

On May 18, we held our second-ever $5 Fursday to request assistance with purchasing a new HVAC system after ours had suddenly and unexpectedly quit on us. With the hot summer weather already encroaching, the need was urgent but the price was high: it was going to cost us $10,000 for a new system. When we put out the call for donations to help “keep our kitties cool,” our hope was that our supporters could help us raise $1,000 to offset a fraction of the cost. However, we were once again amazed and humbled by the generosity of our community: our supporters rallied together to help us raise $6,500, covering more than half the cost of the new system! Now our kitties, like Addy, have been able to enjoy this week’s 85-degree weather in comfort. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who helped make this happen!

Over Memorial Day weekend, we found ourselves surrounded by fur of a different kind while attending the 2017 Furlandia convention as their Charity of Honor for the third year in a row. One of the beautiful things about this convention and the people who run it is how unfailingly welcoming and kindhearted everyone is. The Furlandia staff made us feel like a special part of this convention by creating and sharing a video about our shelter, including an article about us in their convention booklet,  allowing us to present about Animal Aid to their attendees, and providing donation solicitation shout-outs throughout the weekend. By the close of the convention, over $1,200 in donations had been raised for the animals in our care. We are so thankful to the Furlandia team for helping us fulfill our mission and excited to return to the convention again next year!

On June 1, our friends at SCRAP PDX spent their community craft night making cozy (not to mention adorable) pet beds for Animal Aid and other local rescue groups. As you can see, these beds have been given the official paw of approval by one of SCRAP’s rescue pups, and we can’t wait to share them with the cats and dogs in our care! Thank you for helping us make sure our animals are resting easy, SCRAP!

Facility upgrades, by order of King Jerry

First thing’s first: Yes, I’m adorable. You were all thinking it; I’m just saying it.

The name’s Jerry, and from the corner office that I kindly share with our Animal Care Coordinator, I think it’s safe to say I basically rule the shelter. You should hear me ordering my subjects around: “Bring me foooooood!” “Play with meeee!” “Scratch my chiiiiiiiin!”

But enough about me right now. I want to tell you a little bit about the plans I’ve got my subjects working on for improvements to Animal Aid’s facility. See, I want Animal Aid to be able to help more cats like me, and they agree, which is why I’ve got them working on a remodel of the upper and lower levels of the shelter. You read that right: It’s time for shelter 2.0, people!

Phase 1 of this remodel focuses on the shelter’s basement space and will create two new cat isolation rooms and a conference/work room, in addition to updating the emergency dog kennel, the laundry room, and the remaining storage space. As a result of this phase of the remodel, Animal Aid will be able to intake more cats and better isolate sick cats from the main population, cutting down on illness within the cat population as well as time spent in isolation. It will also create a dedicated multipurpose room that can be used for meetings, projects, and public events and better equip the basement space to help the staff and volunteers fulfill Animal Aid’s mission.

The remodel is kicking into high gear soon, and I can’t share all of the details with you. Look for a lot more information on this project to hit your doorstep in the coming months, and please consider donating to Animal Aid this year to help them help more animals like me. Don’t forget to tell them King Jerry sent you.

Knittin’ for the kittens: Animal Aid cat hats

Baby hats. Santa hats. Wizard hats. Pointy Elf Hoods. You name the hat type, and Animal Aid volunteer Leisa Refalo can probably have it knit for you before you can say, “Thanks! You’re one cool cat, Leisa!” And a cool cat she is indeed, which is why we’re so happy and thankful that the theme of Leisa’s knitting binge this year has been one of our all-time favorites: the cats of Animal Aid!

Matching the furry shades of our shelter cats and accompanied by a watercolor portrait of each cat (she calls them doodles; we call them masterpieces), Leisa’s cat hats were an instant favorite. “I brought them with me when I went to volunteer, suspecting that I could find someone to wear them,” she said. “They were snatched up by the staff, and other volunteers who saw them wanted one too.”

When not volunteering for Animal Aid (which she began doing last November) or spending time with her own kitties (one of them an Animal Aid alum, formerly known as Elaine and now named Jiji), Leisa works for Kaiser Healthcare designing and developing mobile apps. She is also currently working on a Certificate in Illustration through Pacific Northwest College of Arts.

“In the short term, I want to make little personalized illustrations and animations for family and friends. The response to the little drawings is so good that I have been trying to think of other ways to use them, including enamel pins, greeting cards, candles,” Leisa explained, going on to say, “There seems to be more demand [for cat hats] than I can keep up with, so we are talking about having a Knitting with Kitties event at the shelter to teach people who want to learn how to knit and have a knitting circle for people who do. Cats are fun with yarn.”

We dig the way you think, Leisa. Thank you for making Animal Aid apparel the height of fashion in Portland!

Volunteer Spotlight: Susan Brown Philbeck

“Susan is a wonderful volunteer not only because of her serious passion for the animals, but because of her outgoing personality and the positivity that she brings to the shelter,” said Animal Aid volunteer Becca Ferguson.

“The four-legged residents love her cuddles and kisses. The two-legged residents enjoy her sense of humor, work ethic, and enthusiasm,” added fellow Animal Aid volunteer Pat Jones.

As you can see, Susan Brown Philbeck has a bit of a fan club around here, as well she should: A multi-day cat socializer, emergency dog kennel volunteer, event assistant, and goddess of the clean laundry, there’s rarely a task Susan isn’t ready and willing to handle. What’s more, she does it with kindness, a smile, and a heart full of love for the animals.

“I adore them,” she said of the animals. “I absolutely love it when a cat will climb in my lap for a nap or jump up on my shoulders and wrap themselves around my neck. And seeing a hard to place cat or dog find its forever home is the best thing ever.”

Now going on her fourth year of volunteering for Animal Aid, Susan discovered the shelter after moving to Portland from Florida, where she volunteered at the Humane Society of Pinellas and the Suncoast Animal League. When not at Animal Aid, Susan enjoys spending time with her two rescue pets (a nearly nineteen-year-old cat named Chloe and nine-year-old dog named Teddy), her two-year-old grandson, and several of her fellow Animal Aid volunteers, whom she’s become close friends with.

“I chat up Animal Aid to everyone I know,” she said. “Whether they are looking to adopt or know someone who is, or if they are interested in volunteering, I tell them how rewarding it is, how much fun they will have, how much they will enjoy the staff and volunteers, what an outstanding shelter it is regarding the excellent health care provided for all our animals, how clean it is, and how diligently we look for the very best match for each cat or dog—I think we pay more attention to that than just about any other shelter.”

Thank you, Susan! Everyone at Animal Aid appreciates you very much!

Tips for the vet: The human-animal bond

Guest article written by Dr. Andy Frost, Pacific Veterinary Clinic

It is well recognized that humans obtain health benefits from our association with animals. Pet owners recover from surgeries and heart attacks more quickly and at higher rates than non-pet owners. Stroking a pet prior to or during a stressful event lowers a person’s blood pressure even more than holding a family member’s or friend’s hand. The benefits of therapy animals in hospitals, nursing homes, or as individual companions are so established that they are allowed in places that public health laws normally restrict animal access.

Is this a one-sided relationship? Do animals gain health and emotional benefits from their associations with us?

Clearly, a well-cared for pet in a home obtains the obvious advantages of good nutrition, adequate shelter, appropriate vaccination and parasite prevention, spaying/neutering, a healthy environment, and mental stimulation. Beyond this, a pet in a home gets the positive effects of recurring social and play interactions and continuity—not just providing physical and mental exercise, but a strengthening of the social context.

There is more recent research on dogs’ ability to copy behaviors that humans “model,” something previously thought unique to humans (now known to be done by dolphins and other species) and another clue that positive dog and human interactions are absolutely “wired” into both species’ behaviors. Canines and humans have co-evolved for about 32,000 years, changing dogs’ physiology (different dietary needs than wolves and wild dogs, changes in brain chemistry, etc.), as well as social structures. More research by ethicists is being published all of the time on how we humans influence our animal companions in addition to the ways animals have and continue to exert positive effects on us, our societies, and our environment.