The new year is off to a busy start as the Second Chance Program welcomes hundreds of pets in the first month of 2022.
Shelters in communities with limited resources and fewer adopters rely on the Second Chance Program to provide a lifeline for pets in need. Each week, Second Chance trucks are on the road transporting pets to OHS from areas around Oregon and beyond. Close to two years into the pandemic, requests for help have steadily increased, driven in part by limited veterinary and spay/neuter services in many communities.
Puppies, Puppies and More Puppies
This year has started off with a usually busy, and very adorable, influx of puppies. In fact, 30 percent of the pets received at OHS through the Second Chance Program this year have been puppies.
Shelters in eastern and southern Oregon, and rural California are seeing the effects of economic challenges in their communities and limited access to spay/neuter services.
When a young puppy or pregnant dog arrives at a shelter, putting a plan into motion quickly is essential. Getting puppies out of a shelter and into a loving home is also the best way to protect their health and ensure proper behavior development.
The Second Chance Program and OHS’ large network of foster homes are critical to helping these vulnerable pets. Many young puppies and pregnant dogs require time in a foster home before being ready for adoption. There are currently more than 30 puppies in an experienced foster home getting the care and socialization they need to set them up for success in an adoptive home.
Love is in the Air
The first large transport of 2022 touched down in Oregon after a long flight from Oklahoma. OHS Second Chance partner Fetch Fido a Flight works with under-resourced shelters to save at-risk pets.
Staff and volunteers welcomed 29 dogs and puppies from Oklahoma on Jan. 8. Most have been adopted, including Millie, pictured left. Her underbite and silly personality made her an instant celebrity among the new arrivals.
Helping Cowlitz County Cats
OHS’ Second Chance Program has a long partnership with Humane Society of Cowlitz County and regularly helps when the Washington shelter is full or needs help.
OHS Donor Relations Manager, Margaret Clement, joined the Second Chance team during a recent transport of cats and kittens. She provided the following chronicle of her experience.
On Jan. 10, I joined our Second Chance Manager, Mia, on a drive to Longview, WA where we picked up 31 unaltered cats and kittens and brought them back to OHS. In the hour-long drive Mia shared how this partnership benefits the pets of Cowlitz County.
Humane Society of Cowlitz County struggles with a common issue in smaller shelters: they don’t have an in-house hospital. They contract with local veterinarians to come in one to two days per week for treatment and spay and neuter surgeries. Much like OHS, all Cowlitz County cats and dogs must be altered before they can be adopted. However, this means that some pets might wait weeks or even months before there is time on the schedule for them to be altered.
The need was clear as soon as we entered the shelter’s main cat holding room. Temporary kennels were stacked on top of each other to create an island in the middle of the room and along any bare wall. More than 60 cats meowed, reached through their kennels, and climbed the bars as we walked through, showing their confidence and excitement.
In the far dark corner, hidden by two temporary kennels stacked a foot in front of his kennel door, I spied two yellow eyes quietly watching as Mia and I greeted his neighbors. Stewy hid in the shadows, his black fur blending in with the dim kennel. His paperwork showed he’d only been there a week and had burned on his back when he came in. The fur was beginning to grow back, and it only took him a few moments to headbutt his giant head into my hand. He would later weigh in 16.5lbs, but his large frame relaxed in my arms as I picked him up and slid him into a travel kennel.
In less than an hour we loaded 31 cats into the van. They were layered with blankets and towels to ease the travel, and soft meows could be heard.
A Humane Society of Cowlitz County staff member paused as she walked into the shelter to say, “Are you here to take some cats? Thank you! This is awesome!” The staff cleaning the cat room began cleaning and folding up temporary kennels – for now they no longer needed them.
Within 48 hours of their arrival at OHS all 31 of the cats will be altered and ready for adoption. Stewy and his burns were examined by a veterinarian just hours after he arrived. Within seven days of their arrival most will be settling into their new homes in Portland!
Transfers like these come to OHS multiple times each week. Together we can give smaller shelters respite and pets a new chance at love. By working together, we can help even more.