By Kathleen Beaver, President & CEO
We all know that the holidays are about family and those we love. Being the animal lovers we are, our families typically include the four-legged variety as well.
At Animal Friends, we are honored to be able to make so many of those life matches possible. Taking in animals who have no place else to turn, helping them heal, helping them trust and helping them find that critical second chance.
And while we know that every member of our team plays a role in this lifesaving process, there is a quiet force “in the middle” that deserves some extra attention.
Let me explain. We’re really good at celebrating the “in”— the story of how the animals get to Animal Friends. And the “out” – when they are matched with their new family. But there’s so much work that happens “in the middle” to bridge the “in” and the “out.”
What these team members “in the middle” do might sound pretty routine. They provide vaccines, medical care, cleaning, feeding, walking and socializing.
But what they do is anything but routine. Our Medical team is a group of skilled and passionate health care providers who balance high level veterinary care with patience, understanding and handling methods that reduce fear and stress which is common in a medical environment. From vaccines and routine exams to specialized surgeries and complicated diagnoses, this team cares for the youngest neonates to elderly animals in hospice care and everyone in between.
Our Behavior Care team makes it their business to know every animal under our roof – where they came from, what extra care they need to feel comfortable, what food will soothe their belly and what type of exercise and attention will make their stay with us the most comfortable and impactful. Our Behavior and Enrichment staff use only positive-reinforcement methods as they build relationships and trust with our residents and better understand their history, their stress, their energy and even their triggers. Our team knows who needs to move into a foster home, who would do well with some time in one of our calming cabins and who needs to run off some energy in our play yards.
Our team knows who is struggling and who needs more serious behavior intervention.
And they do this for each of the hundreds of animals in our care. Every day. No excuses. No taking a break for the holidays. Every day.
Please join me in saluting these dedicated staff and volunteers for making our lifesaving work possible. And as you make your year-end giving plans, I ask you to keep Animal Friends at the forefront.
Because you can make this kind of compassionate, individualized work possible and honor those “in the middle” who are committed to doing it so well.