Thursday, February 11, 2010

Things are Hopping at the Humane Society!

Construction Zone!
We are a few short weeks away from unveiling our remodeled adoption center lobby in Springfield! Formerly the waiting room for the animal hospital that was here when the MSPCA owned the building, our bright new lobby will include two large, glass, multi-level colony rooms where our adoption cats will be allowed to roam and interact with people; a smaller colony room for cats who have been diagnosed with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV); a waiting room filled with toys and activities for children; and adoption counseling stations that will allow our clients to sit and talk with DPVHS staff, rather than crowding around a small counter area.

The remodeling of the lobby is part of the DPVHS Three Year Plan to Adoption Guarantee. It was funded through the generosity of Barbara Sullivan, a cat lover who passed away in 2009 and left a bequest that was designated for improvements to our Union Street building. We are grateful for Barbara's forethought and compassion for animals.

Celebrate Valentine's Day by Loving Somebunny!
In honor of Valentine's Day--and in celebration of Adopt a Rabbit Month--we invite you to come to one of our adoption centers and Love Somebunny this weekend. While the cost of all rabbit adoptions will be reduced for the celebration, your new rabbit will still receive the same great services, including a veterinary exam, spay or neuter surgery, a rabbit care handbook, and, this weekend only, a special Love Somebunny adoption gift pack! Visit our adoptable rabbits online. Our good friends from the House Rabbit Connection will be on hand in Springfield on Saturday and Sunday to help adopters learn more about living with rabbits.

Taylor's Tavern Bartender Shoot Out Benefits DPVHS!
What could be more romantic than watching people try to slide a mug of beer the length of a bar in competition to see who can hit the target? I submit that nothing is more romantic. That's why I'll be spending Valentine's Day with the cool kids down at Taylor's Tavern in Greenfield for the 13th Annual Bartender's Shoot-Out. All proceeds from the contest will benefit DPVHS. Festivities kick off at 1:00 p.m. Your $20 entry fee gets you a very cool t-shirt, a Magic Hat glass, a couple of beers, and a shot at greatness.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

DPVHS: 2009 Year in Review

2009 was a wild year for Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society. We started the year off normally enough--setting our budget, applying for grant funding, dreaming of a new building...and then, at the end of February 2009, we received word that the MSPCA would be closing their Western New England Animal Care and Adoption Center by the end of March.

Those of you who follow DPVHS closely know that we worked with the MSPCA to negotiate the purchase of their adoption center at 171 Union Street in Springfield, closed on the purchase in mid-July and re-opened the busy adoption center on August 1st. For the first time in its history, DPVHS had become an open admission humane society. But we did so with one goal in mind: to end the euthanasia of adoptable animals in the Pioneer Valley by 2012.

With our Three Year Plan to Adoption Guarantee in place, we held on tight and plunged forward. Here are some statistics for the year 2009:

*Our Leverett Adoption Center admitted 14% of the animals arriving at DPVHS...but that tiny facility adopted out more than 40%!

*Adult cat adoptions in Leverett are the big news this year. For the past 3 years we've tried to increase our adult cat adoptions there with no success. The number of adult cat adoptions remained static...until 2009! This was the first year we were able to significantly increase the number of adult cat adoptions performed, from 375 adults in 2008 to 489 adult cats in 2009!

*We ended the year with an 83% live release rate! What's a live release rate? You better catch up on your reading here.

*Despite operating as an open admission adoption center for the last five months of 2009, DPVHS euthanized no healthy cats or dogs in 2009.

*We increased our volunteer foster program from serving 393 animals in 2008 to serving 557 animals in 2009, an increase of 42%!

*Thanks to our "Certified Pre-Owned Cats" program, launched in September 2009 as a way to save lives and encourage the adoption of adult cats, we saw a 37% increase in the average monthly adult cat placements. The average jumped from 67 adult cats to 106 adult cats per month finding qualified homes. That equals about 156 extra adult cat adoptions during the promotion.

*Even though it opened on October 12, 2009, the DPVHS Community Spay/Neuter Clinic served 1,358 animals by the end of December 2009!

*Of the animals served by the Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, 80% are cats and 20% are dogs.

*Of the animals brought to the Community Spay/Neuter Clinic by their own families, only 37% have ever seen a veterinarian prior to coming to us. The difference is most marked in cats: only 17% of cats coming to the clinic have ever seen a veterinarian (compared to 77% of dogs). But of those animals who had been to see a vet, PETCO or Luv My Pet low-cost vaccine clinics are the single most popular provider of services. Still, 83% of felines and 30% of canines did not have a current rabies vaccine, as required by law.

*The Community Spay/Neuter Clinic served 201 animals from other rescues, shelters, or animal control agencies, including the Thomas J. O'Connor Animal Control & Adoption Center in Springfield.

*DPVHS employed more than 400 volunteers by the end of 2009. The service they provide is the equivalent of having 4 additional paid staff members for each day of 2009!

*DPVHS was featured in the media 98 times, an average of 3 times per week, not including regularly-scheduled segments or advertising.

*DPVHS conducted regular humane education programming in 2009 at: Childrens Study Home (Springfield), Maple Valley School (Wendell), Victory House (Greenfield), Brightside (West Springfield), Behavioral Health Network (Springfield), Morgan Elementary School (Holyoke), Leverett Elementary School, Greenfield High School, Leeds Elementary School, Orange School District, and Deerfield Elementary School. Additional programs were delivered to schools and scouts throughout the Valley.

Thank you to all of you who volunteered your time, donated your hard earned money, or cheered DPVHS on from the sidelines to make 2009 a banner year! It is only with your help that we can create a community where every animal lives a full and peaceful life.