OHS Admissions Manager Jessica Wiseley Kruger meets with shelters and transporters to save lives in her home state of Oklahoma.
The Second Chance program is about more than transporting animals from overcrowded shelters to OHS to find their forever home. Collaboration, sharing best practices, forming coalitions and managing resources is part of OHS’s core work with the 92 partner shelters that are part of the Second Chance program.
For Jessica Wiseley Kruger, OHS Admissions Manager, going to Oklahoma to meet with transport nonprofit Fetch Fido a Flight and local shelters, it was an opportunity to help her home state. “I was born in this area, and I still feel connected to this state,” says Jessica.
Animal welfare in Oklahoma faces many daunting challenges. A lack of spay /neuter services had led to massive pet overpopulation, resources are scarce, humane education is lacking and pet adoption is far from the norm. Adoptable animals are routinely euthanized for space. It’s overwhelming and heartbreaking work for the staff and volunteers at the shelters in Oklahoma. While Jessica met with the teams at each shelter, she noted that “they do a lot with very, very little.”
During her visit, the teams discussed animal-care protocols, infection prevention and other ways to makes processes efficient. “They all want to do more.” Jessica describes the staff and volunteers at the shelters as “beams of light in a difficult place.”
Fetch Fido a Flight has become a lifeline for the pets of Oklahoma. They raise money for chartered flights and coordinate the “passenger list” with each local shelter. OHS began working with Fetch Fido a Flight in June 2017 and the pets from Oklahoma all get adopted quickly when they arrive in Oregon. “There are great dogs in Oklahoma shelters,” says Jessica. “We are committed to working with Fetch Fido a Flight to give them a second chance.” All the dogs transported by Fetch Fido a Flight receive vaccines, are heartworm negative and undergo a behavior assessment.
Jessica had the opportunity to accompany the dogs on the flight back to Portland this past weekend. More than 100 dogs made the journey to start their new life at shelters in Oregon. OHS received 35 puppies and dogs and most are currently available for adoption.
Reflecting on her trip and the work that still needs to be done for the animals in Oklahoma, Jessica is optimistic. “There is definitely hope.”