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Welcome to the Electronic Edition of The Scoop! You may have received our bi-annual print Newsletter, The Scoop, mailed to your home. This spring, in order to redirect more funds to the care of the shelter animals, we’re going digital!

Contents:
Karen’s Corner: Cost of Care in the First 24 Hours
Lefty’s Story
10 Reasons We Love Our Volunteers
Upcoming Events
Impact & Financial Report
Wrap-up


Karen’s Corner
Cost of Care: The First 24-Hours

The first experience any of our animals have at MHS might be the most important part of their entire stay. Our veterinary staff assesses the state of a new arrival’s health and makes a vet care plan.

We test for common diseases like parvovirus, heartworm disease, and feline leukemia. We vaccinate, as you probably do, against diseases like distemper, parvovirus for dogs, or calicivirus and panleukopenia for cats. Now that we have a vet on staff, we can give rabies vaccine, too. The Veterinarian and Vet Tech assess whether an animal requires immediate medical attention, testing, or a treatment plan. Their care plan may include prescriptions, x-ray appointments, dental work, blood work, or surgeries, the most common being a spay or neuter surgery. Every pet is checked for a microchip to ensure they haven’t been separated from a loving owner, and given a new microchip if they have none.

What does all that cost? The typical cost of care for an animal’s first day varies by age and species, but we figure that we spend $50-80 per animal at intake, not including personnel costs.

These estimates are for a basic intake only. But we must always be prepared for the pets that require emergency vet care in those first 24 hours, like Lefty, the stray cat whose leg was amputated after being struck by a car. Read Lefty’s story in the following article for the comeback story we’ve all been waiting for!

The average length of stay for MHS animals can range from a few days to months. The first 24-hours of an animal’s stay is the most important to maintain a safe and healthy shelter.


Lefty’s Story

When Lefty arrived at the shelter, her first 24-hours were anything but routine. Although we were able to provide life-saving care, her recovery in the following months reminds us that some pets need patience just as much as emergency care.

Lefty, the white and brown female tabby, was brought into the shelter by a concerned citizen after being struck by a car. Her leg was clearly broken.

Our veterinary team changed their schedule to amputate the leg the same day to control dangerous infection and pain for Lefty. We knew it would take time for her to adjust to the loss of a limb, but we had confidence she would lead a perfectly normal life. 

What proved to be more challenging for Lefty was adjusting to life in the shelter after successful surgery. Lefty was a stray, and was used to making her own decisions about her well-being and day-to-day life.

Now she’d been housed in a kennel where strange people made those decisions for her. Lefty spent most of her early days in the corner of the kennel, hiding and avoiding contact with anyone as she healed from her amputation. For three months she healed, yet continued to avoid human interaction. Our staff chose to take it slow and let her make her own decision about when to receive affection and socialization. Very slowly, Lefty started to pay attention to people, and eventually get closer and closer when they offered her treats.

As time passed our staff celebrated small wins, such as Lefty not being fearful or avoidant. The small wins built and built, until a few staff members gained enough of her trust to pet or hold her. Lefty continued to gain confidence and trust each day. Today Lefty has adjusted to maneuvering with three limbs and graduated from ‘Medical Hold’ to ‘Behavior Hold’ to ‘Available for Adoption’ and now (drumroll, please!) ‘ADOPTED!’ She conquered her fear of the shelter and new people, and now has the stability of a loving home. 


10 Reasons Why We Love Our Volunteers

We’re proud to have had the support of over 145 volunteers in 2023. Our volunteers serve enough hours to cover the work of 2-3 full time staff members, and we appreciate their dedication to the cause! We could go on and on about why our volunteers are so special, but here are 10 reasons why we love them.

  1. Their passion helps ensure the animals know comfort and love when they are at MHS.
  2. They help us get to know our pets’ unique personalities and capture great moments on camera.
  3. We feel better knowing there is a volunteer playing with the animals every day — they take a crucial role in how each animal’s stay at MHS succeeds.
  4. Fosters (who are also volunteers) open their homes to animals that we would otherwise have to turn away due to space and resources.
  5. Because they interact with the animals in different ways, they notice things, both good and bad, that staff may not.
  6. They are a huge help to the vet staff during surgery days.
  7. They help us make connections in our community and make sure the MHS message is heard.
  8. They adapt to changes at the shelter and are open to learning new things.
  9. They don’t just think about the animals, they are attentive to staff as well!
  10. Their dedication to come in on holidays and not-so-great weather days like snow storms or freezing weather makes them as reliable as postal workers!

Are you thinking about volunteering? 

You can give it a try by attending a volunteer service day, where volunteers prepare enrichment activities for the shelter pets together on a Saturday afternoon. The next Volunteer Service Day is Saturday, May 25.

You can volunteer to take a dog or cat out of the shelter on a Fetch Some Fun Field Trip.

Or apply online and use your talents to work your way up and become a specialist.


Upcoming Events

Join us for upcoming opportunities to support and celebrate the shelter’s work in-person!

Saturday, July 27. Tickets on sale May 31. Sponsorships available now!

Friday, October 4. Save the date! More information Coming soon!


2023 Impact & Financial Report (click for full-sized PDF versions)

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We hope you enjoyed our new digital Scoop! For fans of the print publication, don’t worry, the Fall Edition of The Scoop will return to the printed format and be mailed to any MHS supporter who has contributed or adopted within the last year. To ensure you’re on the mailing list, email Heidi Tuthill, Development Director, or call 219-872-4499, x103.

We appreciate your feedback! We would love to hear your thoughts on the digital Scoop. And we want each edition to provide interesting articles and information for you. Please let us know if you have questions about MHS that we can answer in a future Scoop. Reach out to Heidi, or to Johanna Humbert, Executive Director.

View our past Newsletters here: https://michianapets.org/resources/newsletters/.

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