Category Archives: Blog

Home for the holidays: Audrey & Midas

Dear friend of Animal Aid,

One thousand, one hundred and seventy-seven days. 

That’s how long bonded pair Audrey and Midas patiently waited to spend the holidays in their forever home. Rescued in 2015 from a backyard breeder alongside more than 40 cats and numerous snakes, Audrey and Midas came to Animal Aid having suffered physical and emotional neglect for their entire lives. We can only imagine the nightmares they experienced: scarcity and competition for food; lack of proper medical care; absence of human contact and comfort. Covered in mats and ear mites, and terrified of human touch, it was obvious that they had a long road ahead of them.

Thankfully, that road led them to Animal Aid, where instead of a cage, they were given a free-roam room, complete with windows for sunbathing, meals delivered straight to their cat tree, and plenty of cozy places to hide away from the people so eager to show them the kinder side of humanity. Because when you’ve been freed from a world of fear, sometimes what you need just as much as a world of compassion is a world of time. So it was time that we gave them. Time to explore their new landscape at their own pace. Time to observe us and assess our intentions. Time to snuggle into each other’s fur, just a little less burdened than they were the day before.

As a no-kill rescue, this is the bedrock of our work: to provide time—even if that means a lifetime—to our adoptables. It’s for animals like Audrey and Midas that this commitment matters most, and it’s through support from community members like you that we’re able to fulfill this mission. With your support, we’re able to open our doors to cats and dogs in need. With your support, we can provide them with individualized attention, including any and all medical or behavioral care. With your support, we have time to give them time to find their way home.

While we make it happen, it’s you that make it possible, which is why I hope you’ll choose to continue your support by making a year-end donation to Animal Aid. It only takes a minute to give, but the difference it makes for animals like Audrey and Midas lasts a lifetime:

• A $10 donation provides flea treatment or a microchip for an animal.
• A $60 donation provides a month of high quality food for a homeless pet.
• A $100 donation provides veterinary exams for four animals.
• A $300 donation provides a dental cleaning for a painful mouth.
• A $500 donation provides spay/neuter operations for 10 animals.
• A $1,000 donation provides surgery for an injury or medical condition.

Despite all that Audrey and Midas have been through, what stands out most about them is how incredibly bonded they are to one another. The love that they were denied by humans in those early years of their lives, they poured into each other. They became each other’s lifeline. And because of your generosity, we were able to provide them with the safety net they needed and the promise that they would always be together, whether at our shelter, in a foster home, or perhaps, one day, in a forever home of their own.

We didn’t know when Audrey and Midas would find their forever home, and honestly, we weren’t sure if Animal Aid might not end up being that place. And we were ready, should that be the case—to watch over them, to take care of them, to be there for them as long as it took. Then one day it happened: After more than three years in shelter and a lifetime’s worth of waiting, in walked the person who would spend several hours over several days visiting them, asking questions about them, studying them while being studied by them, and, ultimately, welcoming them home for the very first time.

Adoption delivery days at Animal Aid are always joyful, often tearful, and full of promise: The promise of new beginnings, nurturing companionship, and a lifelong commitment from Animal Aid to be there in whatever way our rescue animals, both adoptable and alumni, truly need us.

On behalf of all of us at Animal Aid, thank you for supporting our rescue and animals like Audrey and Midas.

Warmly,

Paige España
Director of Operations

P.S. While Audrey and Midas are home for the holidays, each day brings more animals who need our individualized care and lifelong commitment. Please help us to be their lifeline to a brighter tomorrow by making a one-time or monthly donation to Animal Aid today.

Mark your calendars for Giving Tuesday on 11/27

It’s TransFURmation Tuesday, and we’ve got our largest newly renovated free-roam cat room to share! We’re so excited to have this space nearly completed and ready to hand over to our rescue kitties, but we feel like something’s still missing….Be sure to check your inbox on Giving Tuesday on November 27 (that’s one week from today!) to find out how you can help us make this and our other 11 free-roam rooms into the purrfect spaces for our shelter cats! With your help, we hope to make this Giving Tuesday our most transFURmative one yet!

P.S. Haven’t heard about our Shelter TransFURmation remodel before? Learn more today at https://animalaidpdx.org/campaign!

The Long Way Home: Neil the Heartstrings Dog

Dear Friend of Animal Aid,

Neil first came to our rescue in the fall of 2011, a young adult dog from a large county shelter who was suffering from the stress of life in a kennel. At the time, that’s pretty much all we knew about him. As we came to understand his likes (neighborhood walks, playtime in the yard, barking at friendly passersby), his dislikes (cats, lazy mornings, people invading his personal bubble), and his needs (patience, perceptiveness, an appreciation for his independent nature), Neil’s unique personality revealed itself to us. Three homes and seven years later, our journey to find Neil’s match continues. Neil is a Heartstrings animal: a harder-to-place dog in search of a meant-to-be companion.

Many of our Heartstrings cats and dogs are long-time residents who are still waiting for their forever family. They may be senior pets getting overlooked for the youngsters, animals with a medical condition, shy pets in need of extra reassurance, or animals with behavioral struggles due to abuse, neglect, or under-socialization.

That last description fits Neil. It’s likely that at some point during his early life, Neil experienced trauma that has made him react defensively to hands reaching for him. We can only guess what Neil encountered to create this reflex, and we can only imagine how hard it must be on him in a world where the common response to his wide, toothy smile and energetic disposition is to want to praise him with petting. What we do know is that Neil is in need of a little extra space, the freedom to be himself, and help to navigate his path through life with both tools for managing his fears and respect for his particular framework of happiness. When you give to the Heartstrings program, you help us provide the best care for every animal who enters our rescue and enters your heart—especially the ones, like Neil, who may be taking the long way home.

We know that you know Neil’s story, because it’s a story that is becoming all too familiar for homeless animals across our city and across the nation. It’s common to label dogs like Neil “difficult” or a “challenge,” but the real challenge lies with us. Will you join us in stepping up to that challenge? Together we can honor every Heartstrings pet’s individual needs. Together, we can work to make the world a safer, healthier, happier place for them. Together, we can be their next good thing.

Warmly,

Paige España
Director of Operations

P.S. Interested in learning more about Neil? Check out his full bio on our website and send your questions to adopt-dog@animalaidpdx.org. Or, if there isn’t room in your home for a special needs pet, we hope you’ll find room in your heart and donate to the Heartstrings program and animals like Neil today.

Introducing the 24 Karat Kitty

Dear Friend of Animal Aid,

“Give me your hand, and I’ll have all the strength I need.”

If Goldie could speak our language, we think this would be her motto for life. Arriving at our shelter as a trembling bundle of matted fur, Goldie had every reason to feel a little more than fed up. At twelve years old, she looks closer to sixteen and weighs less than half of that, battling a persistent barrage of ailments: hyperthyroidism, kidney issues, a shaky body, an irritable left eye, and a right leg that goes in whatever direction it pleases (the result of an old, unknown injury). Having had a person to call her own for at least the past two years of her life, her human’s passing left Goldie homeless once more.

The key word here, however, is battling. Having come to us in an understandable state of duress, it was this frail kitty’s inner warrior that came out immediately. We see it in the way that she steels herself for her daily medications; in her resolute steadiness during another trimming to get rid of the mats in her fur; in the way that she approaches a tough road to better health with patience and a bit of well-placed moxie. She has patently refused to give in, and in spite of all that she’s dealing with, Goldie’s love for people shines through, bright and dazzling. It’s unmistakable, radiating outward when she looks up and sees you heading her way. Or when she’s fresh and rested and feeling particularly spunky. Or when you manage to find exactly the right spot under her chin that sets her foot tapping to a fluttering beat. Or, sometimes, when she simply rests her paw on your hand as if to say, “Please, won’t you stay awhile?”

When Goldie looked into our eyes and asked us this question, there was only one way we could respond: Yes, we’ll stay, for as long you need us.

At Animal Aid, that’s our commitment: To be there for homeless cats and dogs—whenever they need us, however they need us, for as long as they need us.

It’s a commitment to welcoming animals into our facility who aren’t thriving in larger shelters and working diligently to find them the best possible furever homes. It’s a commitment to operating a no-kill, free-roam shelter and a network of foster homes so that they never have to live in cages. It’s a commitment to arranging any and all medical care and training that will allow them to live the healthiest, carefree lives they can. It’s a commitment to providing a place to stay for as long as they need, even if that means the rest of their lives, and a lifetime return policy so that they will always have a safe haven. It’s a commitment to remodeling our shelter so that we can rescue more animals, and to partnering with other organizations so that pets and their people can stay together whenever possible. It’s a commitment to standing by our animals during all the stages of their life: young or old, healthy or sick, shy or headstrong, easygoing or in need of extra tenderness and time.

It’s a commitment that, like Goldie’s paw, we hold close to our hearts—but the truth is we can’t do it without your help. Will you join our commitment to Goldie and all of the animals in our care?

Your support allows us to serve our rescue animals in every way:

  • A $10 donation provides flea treatment or a microchip for an animal.
  • A $60 donation provides a month of high quality food for a homeless pet.
  • A $100 donation provides veterinary exams for four animals.
  • A $300 donation provides a specialist exam for a special needs pet like Goldie.
  • A $500 donation provides spay/neuter operations for 10 animals.
  • A $1,000 donation provides surgery to treat an injury or medical condition.

And if you are able, please consider the option to give monthly: With a gift of just $5 a month, your generosity will have an ongoing impact on the life of a homeless pet in need.

When you hear about animals like Goldie, a senior pet with a laundry list of special needs and more to come, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. For us, however, it’s part and parcel of our mission to reduce animal suffering and honor our pledge to be kind, compassionate, respectful, and responsible stewards. And in return, we’re gifted tenfold—with animated chirps of greeting in the morning; with gentle head butts of affection; with intricate, impressionistic nap time poses; with sage eyes full of love ready to be shared at the touch of a paw.

We’re committed to serving animals, and with your help, we’ll continue to shape new beginnings for the ones who need us most. On behalf of Goldie and all of us at Animal Aid, thank you for your support.

Warmly,

Paige España
Director of Operations

P.S. Though pets like Goldie never ask for much, they often need extra care to help them stay healthy and comfortable. Please consider making a one-time or monthly contribution to Animal Aid today so that all of our animals can put their best paw forward.

Become a part of the fabric of our shelter by donating to our facility remodel this season

“The heart dog is born with great purpose, but he looks like any other.
He will find you, walk by you, and leave you better than you were…
The heart dog is one you needed more than he needed you.”

– Cristine Dahl, “My Heart Dog”

Dear friend of Animal Aid,

If we asked you to tell us about your heart cat or dog, what would you say? Would you describe their physical characteristics in vivid detail or delve straight to the core of their personality? Would you share the day you met, your life together, the moment you knew they were the one? Would you break out in a smile or in tears? Perhaps you’d simply look us in the eye and share something that goes beyond words.

Our work at Animal Aid began from this same ineffable relationship. In 1969, we set out to provide for the animals in need in our community, and what we were provided with in return was an identity and a purpose. We found ourselves in the hearts of our rescue animals and made it our lifework to serve their needs first.

Now, nearly 50 years later, that bond and the mission that emerged from it are stronger than ever. But we need your help to see us through the next 50 years and beyond.

This summer, we broke ground on our Shelter TransFURmation Remodel Capital Campaign, a two-year, $300,000 renovation project that will expand our rescue capacity by 25 percent. Phase 1 of the remodel—completed this November—saw our ground floor converted from basement storage space to a second operational level of the shelter, including the construction of two new cat intake rooms, a new meeting room, and the refurbishment of our emergency dog kennel, laundry nook, restroom, and animal care supply storage.

When we begin Phase 2 in 2018, we’ll add three new cat rooms to our upper floor and undertake major renovations to our current animal care, administrative, and exterior spaces, including an upgraded lobby, a pedestrian walkway, and a giant cat tree that will serve as the focal point of our main free-roam cat room.

But what does all of this mean for the animals we serve?

It means we’ll be able to rescue more animals with behavioral needs like Bixby and Eugene, who both came to Animal Aid extremely frightened of the world around them. Now, through the attention and care of our staff and volunteers, the benefit of a free-roam shelter environment, and the time necessary to build their confidence, both cats have made considerable strides, with Bixby’s forever mom describing him as “the sweetest cat I’ve ever known.”

      

It means we’ll be able to foster more senior dogs like Barney and Ruthie, for whom a larger shelter environment is particularly overwhelming. Today, both pups enjoy the tranquility of their foster homes, with our emergency dog kennel ready to serve as a home-away-from-foster-home should the need arise.

     

It means we’ll be able to shelter more cats with medical or dietary needs like Gloria and Diego, whose food allergies used to leave them feeling itchy and uncomfortable and who subsequently benefit from a room of their own to maintain their special diets. These days, both kitties enjoy their own cat suites and room service meals catered to their specific needs.

     

Our work is only made possible through your generosity, and every dollar counts, now more than ever:

  • $10 will help pay for a giant cat tree and bench seating in our largest cat room, for greater enrichment and interaction.
  • $50 will help pay for a walkway between parking lots, for enhanced safety.
  • $100 will help pay for new windows throughout the shelter, for increased comfort and decreased utility costs.
  • $500 will help pay for cat condos, to give animals new to the shelter a chance to adjust to their surroundings.
  • $1000 will help pay for one of the 20 new or renovated animal care and administrative spaces throughout our facility, to expand our rescue capacity.

When you donate to our Shelter TransFURmation, you quite literally become a part of the fabric of our shelter, contributing to a loving refuge for countless animals now and in the future—animals who may be abandoned, abused, injured, or elderly; who may have special behavioral, medical, or dietary needs; who may simply need a safe place to rest their paws while they wait to find you.

On behalf of all of us at Animal Aid, thank you for supporting our shelter, our programs, and the animals that we passionately serve.

Warmly,

Paige O’Rourke
Director of OperationsP.S. Interested in other ways to contribute to our remodel? Visit our website to learn about room sponsorship opportunities and our donor recognition wall!

Turn your old items into funding for Animal Aid

Declutter for the animals! We’ve partnered with Mighty Good Things to provide you with a way to turn your old possessions into fundraising for Animal Aid: Look around your home and collect items you’re no longer using, then send them to Mighty Good Things using the prepaid shipping label they provide. Items are sold on marketplaces like eBay, and our shelter receives 100% of the net proceeds (just make sure you select “Animal Aid” as your nonprofit of choice). Mighty Good Things will also send a donation receipt to you for tax time.

PLUS, from now until Giving Tuesday (November 28), if you sign-up and pledge to donate a pre-loved item someday, Animal Aid will receive $1 dollar today!

Click here to donate your stuff to support Animal Aid: