Palm Valley Miniseries: Change is Tough

by Hannah Horstman • Posted in: General

Animal welfare can be hard. It can be really hard. It can be emotional, and mentally and physically draining. Helping a facility get set up on its “No Kill legs” isn’t a simple task. It takes time, patience, understanding, and resilience.

Faith, an APA! staff member, has served as the interim Director of Operations at PVAC for the past several months doing the leg work to help get their No Kill wheels in motion. This week, Faith was joined by Michael Bricker, Sr. from Best Friends Animal Society who will serve as PVAC’s Director of Operations for the next 12 months. Michael will continue the important work that Faith has begun. While her last day there is fast approaching, she will be available to come back on an as needed basis and our Maddie’s Lifesaving Academy, through American Pets Alive!, is scheduled to be on site June 26th-28th to run a playgroup refresher course for staff at PVAC and PAWS.

The PVAC team is doing a phenomenal job staying strong and getting through the tough stuff day by day because at the end of the day, more lives are saved and that is something we can all feel good about!

Support from Rescue Groups

It has been quite a June for PVAC. Intake is up really high, but support from rescue groups continues to grow. Relationships with these groups remains a key component for number of lives saved. For just the week of June 17-24th, 45 cats and 263 dogs were transferred to rescue groups, along with 11 bunnies! Below is a comparison of June 2017 to June 2018.

June 2017:
42 cats and 452 dogs were transferred to rescue groups

June 2018:
141 cats and 609 dogs were transferred to rescue groups.

Staff Additions

PVAC has hired three additional cat medical positions which will greatly improve the cat intake process. With the additional staff members, intakes can be administered timely and efficiently, complete with taking pictures of the pets so that marketing can begin immediately! They are currently advertising and interviewing for an additional vet technician and a second veterinarian.

Challenges and Solutions

The area experienced flooding this past week, and without hesitation, the PVAC team jumped into action. Sandbags were put out, tarps were hung up on the kennels to help keep rain out, and the team succeeded

in keeping all of the animals dry! Even though only about ⅓ of staff were able to make it to work on Thursday due to flooding, the team rallied at the challenge and made it work. On Saturday, they received a senior German Shepherd who had been sitting on top of her house waiting out the water since Wednesday. The rescue community rallied and saved her within two hours of her arrival to PVAC. This is why we wade through the hard stuff – because seeing the impact we have on individual lives is so rewarding.

PVAC is currently struggling with over capacity. The team is making all efforts to help these animals, including reaching out to owners to let them know they are waiving reclaim fees or asking if the owner would be interested in “fostering” their pet while they work to rehome the animal. Adoption specials are another way to help solve this issue so they’re continuing to host the $10 per animal adoption special and have created a 2-for-1 special on cats – meaning an adopter can gain two feline family members for the adoption fee of one! Finally, they are waiving fees on altered animals.

So yes–- animal welfare is tough. Yes–- animal welfare can be physically, emotionally and mentally draining. Yes – every second is worth it. The work that is being done in this community means lives saved. It means that each day, PVAC gets closer to the reality of No Kill. The process can be slow, but because we’ve been able to send people and knowledge to help stand up lifesaving programs, and because staff on the ground has wanted and been receptive to transformation, changes are being made. Change is tough, but change is also necessary and important.