Wow, this year has been a challenging, yet rewarding year at Furry Friends. Navigating the organization through a Pandemic was not something I thought I would have to be doing when I volunteered for the President role at the end of 2019, however this year has been very beneficial for Furry Friends and has shown what a strong organization we have!
If I had to pick one word to describe our efforts throughout 2020, it would be Collaboration. During a time where access to vet care has been restricted and many community programs are closed it was vital that we collaborated with like minded organizations within the community to be able to continue to accomplish our mission of helping abandoned, homeless and abused cats in our area. A few organizations that have been essential to work with this year include:
Claus Paws: It is a lot of work for a Vet clinic to work with a shelter because there are always new cats and new issues that need to be addressed quickly. Claus Paws has been amazing during the pandemic, having to pivot and change their operations to meet demands and ensure they are able to still help the community they serve. I cannot wait to be able to work with them in a non-pandemic capacity.
West Columbia Gorge Humane Society: We have formed a partnership with them to be able to utilize the spay/neuter clinic for our cats and kittens at Furry Friends. If we did not have this vital partnership, we would not have the access we need to continue to adopt out our cats and kittens.
SW Humane Society: They are always available as a resource to us and we are working on strengthening this relationship for future collaboration.
We have formed many other relationships within the community to ensure that each cat is getting the absolute best care and resources we can provide. This individualized care approach has helped lead to an amazing number of adoptions at Furry Friends this year. Some things we have been working on this year in terms of adoptions is our average shelter stay and removing barriers to adoptions. Being able to look at our efficiencies to ensure we are doing the best thing for each cat is important when running the organization to make the necessary changes. We are always asking ourselves; how can we do things better? How can we do things differently to accomplish our mission?
We have many exciting ideas for 2021 on ways to improve our shelter with an aim to be more Fear Free, upgrades to our shelter management software to alleviate a lot of the manual processes, make improvements to our adoptions processes, and be able to offer additional services to the community. Some of these things depend on access to resources and if 2021 decides to play nice, but we are optimistic that we will be able to accomplish our goals, grow and continue to be an asset and resource to the community.
We are still unsure what 2021 is going to look like regarding the pandemic, but one thing we know is we have a strong organization that can face any challenge head on, we have amazing donors, sponsors and partners who have stepped up during our times of need, and we have very dedicated and loyal volunteers. We look forward to next year and are excited to continue building our relationships within the community so we can make a bigger impact together.
Some memorable medicals cats from 2020:
Not all care is measured in the amount of money that is spent per cat, we have many extraordinary medical expenses to save the cats lives, as well as the TLC that is required for each cat that we help.
Monnie came to us a few months ago and he was in pretty bad shape, he was severely underweight, had sores all over his legs and it was very obvious he had severe mouth and teeth issues. Even getting a peek inside his mouth was painful for him. Watching him try to eat his wet food and get drinks of water was heart breaking as he was in so much pain. We quickly got him an appointment with Claus Paws who was very happy he came to us because we could make his life so much better.
He had to have all his teeth pulled except for his 4 canines due to a severe infection and would require round the clock care to nurse him back to health. Because of the pain he was in eating was difficult and he had to be syringe fed every few hours along with sub-Q fluids to remain hydrated. He was on two different pain medications every 8 hours, as well as antibiotics and topical medications for his sore spots. He could not maintain his body temp. so he had to have his temperature taken every hour throughout the night and had to stay warm. This was all done by one of our amazing fosters who knew that he would recover so much faster in a home environment.
Monnie is still not out of the woods quite yet, has weekly vet appointment and is still in foster care, however he is making so much improvement he is going to be like a completely different cat! His care will end up being in the thousands, but he will get to live the rest of his life pain free and we will find him an amazing home. He will be available for adoption in a little over 3 weeks if he continues to make all the needed improvements!
Pepper is a recent Furry Friends arrival. He came to use through a vet clinic that needed some help for this poor guy. He had a urinary blockage and needed emergency intervention to save his life. Pepper is a 1-year-old flame point Siamese who is a very lovey guy, he has a long life ahead of him with an excellent prognosis. Furry Friends got him the care that he needed immediately, and he is now in recovery with another one of our amazing fosters. His care will end up roughly around $3,000-$4,000 pending any complications. He will be available for adoption in a little over a month if he continues on this course of recovery!
Goonie is a now 10-week-old kitten who just weighed in at 15oz! Late one afternoon we got a call from a local organization who had just taken in a tiny kitten that was perishing fast, they did not even think he would survive the night but wanted to give him the chance to try. It was unknown at the time that this little kitten was 7 weeks old! He was thought to be days old based on his size and development. Our foster said no problem, I will take him and monitor him over night and if he doesn’t make it at least he will have love during that time.
It was touch and go all through the sleepless night, watching this little kitten and checking to make sure he was still breathing. He could not keep his temperature up, could not eat on his own and was very lethargic. Come morning, he was still alive! We knew that this little kitten was a fighter. Since that time, he has started to put on some weight, very slowly and is almost up to a pound at 10 weeks old. Normally kittens are well over 3lbs by this time. He eats on his own, plays, and acts like any other kitten should. He beats up on the other foster kittens who are three times his size and does not let his small size hold him back.
He also has a birth defect in one of his arms, so he walks a little funny and his ears are bigger than his head still. It is still unknown how he will develop over time and if any unknown medical issues will arise as he gets older, but right now he is a happy, healthy, tiny kitten who would not have made it through that first night without Furry Friends.