Extending our Reach to Save Lives

By Lindsey Chadwick, Admissions & Transfer Coordinator

Although dog overpopulation isn’t nearly as big of a challenge as it was 10 years ago in our area as a result of the success of spay/neuter efforts, there are other parts of the country that are still struggling. Thanks to the generosity of our friends at FedEx Ground, we have created partnerships with organizations outside of the Pittsburgh area to help even more homeless dogs.

The sad reality is that in many areas – particularly in southern states – euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals is all too common because of overpopulation. By teaming up with FedEx and reputable shelters in the Memphis area, we are now organizing transfers of dogs so they can find loving families right here in the Pittsburgh area. While we remain committed to supporting the animals in our region, we feel this partnership is an important opportunity to work with even more dogs in need.

The drive from Memphis to Pittsburgh is about 12 hours. These transports can be stressful for the dogs because of the time spent in the transport van, close proximity to other dogs barking and traffic noise. But, once the dogs safely arrive to Animal Friends, a whole new life begins. The pups receive a brand-new collar with an Animal Friends tag and are led to their new kennel space which is all set up with a comfortable raised dog bed, a blanket and fresh water. After a good night’s sleep, the dogs will then receive a thorough medical exam and a warm bath! After that, they are officially an Animal Friends resident and they begin to prepare for their adoption day.

Since the start of this new partnership in September, we have already transferred dozens of dogs from Memphis and its surrounding areas. And, many of those dogs have already found their loving homes with the help of our Adoption team.

A few of the most recent arrivals from Memphis were heartworm positive and were made available as foster to adopt. Being in a foster home is an essential part of a dog’s heartworm treatment plan, as these types of treatments can be lengthy, costly and difficult to manage, especially in a shelter setting.

Nearly half of the dogs from Memphis have come from The Pet Compassion Center, also known as Kitty City. Although Kitty City is typically a cat-focused organization, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they found themselves taking in homeless and abandoned dogs in their area. This was absolutely essential because some of the other shelters in the Memphis area had to close their doors or were completely full and could not accept any more dogs.

The remaining dogs came to us from Memphis Animal Services (M.A.S.). This shelter has enforced animal care and control laws in the Memphis area since 1972 when it was known as Memphis Animal Shelter. M.A.S. offers a wide range of programs and services, including the sheltering of lost and homeless animals, pet adoption and placement, spay/neuter programs, handling of animal control complaints and bite cases, dog licensing, cruelty investigations, public information, humane education and more.

The partnership between Animal Friends and these organizations is an essential and lifesaving effort. Unwarranted euthanasia is a devastating reality of many overpopulated shelters. Fortunately, with partnerships like this one Animal Friends is able to help save more lives!

This past fall, our Chow Wagon Pet Food Bank hosted a drive-thru dog food distribution event made possible through support from FedEx Ground and the Pittsburgh Pirates and a generous donation from Chewy.com. Together, we distributed 12 pallets of food hundreds of dogs in our community!

“FedEx Ground is thankful for the relationship with Animal Friends, and is delighted to support such a wonderful organization. Our employees regularly volunteer to support Animal Friends’ mission and find it rewarding to contribute to such a worthy cause. It’s extremely gratifying when we see the direct and real impact that our support provides. We look forward to continued opportunities to support the work that is taking place at Animal Friends!” – Steven Legg, Managing Director P&D Systems Engineering, FedEx Ground.

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