This is my first blog post, even though I have been executive director of the Petfinder.com Foundation for over two years. You know how it goes: start but don’t finish, something else to do, a fantastic staff who can actually blog. But no more excuses! I guess you can call this a resolution of sorts.
I love my job. In 2010, with the generous support of donors and sponsors/partners, we were able to give (literally) millions of dollars back to Petfinder.com shelter and rescue-group members to help further our mission of ending the euthanasia of adoptable pets. Sometimes I do get mired in the administrative minutia that is necessary
to run the foundation, but next week I’m busting out to help rebuild a shelter in need with a group of dedicated college students, professional staff, and colleagues.
To say I’m excited is an understatement. The idea of doing hands-on, down-and-dirty work at a shelter has a huge appeal to me (except for the 30-degree weather — I am a Tucson girl, after all).
I’m leaving on New Year’s Day to travel to Chester, SC, to participate in Animal Lifeline’s Rescue University program. Animal Lifeline’s amazing and dedicated staff will take college students who have volunteered(!) to give up their winter break (and New Year’s Eve) to ride in a van from Pennsylvania to South Carolina and Chester County Animal Control.
The students and professional staff will spend a week rehabilitating the shelter facilities to improve the quality of life for pets waiting to find their forever homes; we’ll also transport some dogs to the Northeast, where their chances of being adopted will be much higher.
Devon Lowry, the program assistant for the Petfinder.com Foundation, accompanied Animal Lifeline and a group of college students last spring on a similar trip to West Virginia. His personal account of the trip, along with my conversations with Denise Bash, the founder of Animal Lifeline, made me believe that this program not only helps pets but changes the lives of the students and transforms communities by offering hope and sustainability.
I know this trip is going to be hard work. We will work all day putting up kennels, tending to the pets, building housing and storage and offering education to other rescue groups in the area. I’m thrilled that my friend and colleague Betsy Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com and president of the board of the Petfinder.com Foundation, is driving up to pitch in. I know the students and volunteers are very excited to meet her and hear her story of how Petfinder started as a New Year’s resolution many years ago.
A junior-high student e-mailed me today asking what she could do to help. It’s actually a good question. I told her it’s about changing one mind, having the willingness to care about something and the courage to take action at any age. Adopt. Donate. Volunteer your time at your local shelter. Foster. Love your own pet. These remarkable students get it; the staff at Animal Lifeline gets it: We can all make a difference.
Follow me, Devon, Betsy and other guest bloggers as we document our journey with words, photos and video, and follow these pets on Petfinder as they find their forever homes.
Wish me luck … although I’m pretty good with power tools! BRING IT.
A big P.S.: This trip has been made possible through the generous support of The Animal Rescue Site and GreaterGood.org. Visit The Animal Rescue Site every day to make a free click donation that supports the Petfinder.com Foundation. Thanks also to ShelterLogic, a worldwide leading manufacturer of affordable shade, shelter and storage solutions, and Nylabone Products®, a division of Central Garden & Pet Company, which furnished kennels, fencing, toys and other products for the shelter.
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