The CHS envisions a Connecticut where each companion animal finds a permanent, compassionate home, where communities are enriched by the special bond between people and animals, and where animal cruelty no longer exists. Their actions and decisions are based on providing the best medical and shelter care, and services to the most animals. They respect the life of each individual animal while focusing on the welfare of staff, community, and the animal population as well. The general public, the staff members and volunteers are all viewed as their partners in improving animal welfare and in fulfilling their mission.
Welcome to the ARPA Animal Shelter of the week podcast where we introduce you to incredible organizations around the country that are focused on helping animals. We’re proud to be sponsored by Doobert.com. Doobert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters, and the only site that automates rescue relay transport. Let’s meet this week’s featured animal shelter. The Connecticut Humane Society (CHS), the oldest and most comprehensive animal welfare organization in the state and helped thousands of pets every year. They envision a Connecticut where each companion animal finds a permanent, compassionate home and where communities air enriched by the special bond between people and animals and where animal cruelty no longer exists. The CHS is the leading resource in the state for enriching the lives of families and communities through adoption services, medical care, education and prevention of cruelty. Hey, Susan, welcome to the show. Hey, Thank you. Yeah, I’m really excited to have you. And you are with the Connecticut Humane Society on you guys air celebrating 138 years this year, which is really awesome. I’m excited to dive in. Why don’t you kick this off and tell us a little bit about the history and where you guys are located her. So one of the coolest things about the Connecticut Humane Society is that we were started by a high school student. All of this over 100 years later came from someone who was still in school. Gertrude Oh, Louis. And she, at that time in 18 81 just was looking around, seeing the abuse of at that time farm animals and also women and children. So the Connecticut Humane Society initially served all of those populations. And it wasn’t until decades later, when the state of Connecticut started department children and families. Is that the connected me study, then only focused on animals. So today we serve companion animals. So cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, Paris hamsters, durables of volition rolls on right? The occasional pet mouse rat is, well, quite the variety. But anything you’re gonna have inside your home, of course, if they’re cases we hear about or that people come to us concerned about, if it’s, you know, farm animals or what have you, we will connect them with the resource that they need for the group that can help them. And so we were started up in the Hartford area of Connecticut, and today our headquarters is in Newington, and we also have locations in Westport and Waterford as well. Those are our shelter locations. And at our Newington building, we also have our Fox Memorial Clinic, which is a public veterinary hospital. That is reduced fees. So when people are going there for routine exam vaccination, some sort of surgery, maybe diagnostics, they’re paying a much more reduced rate than you would at your traditional veterinary hospital on its way to open that thing was around 20 years ago. Still go in super strong. There is a wait. What has to get an appointment there? It’s an overwhelming need that we’re seeing in the community. But we’re describing could be here for people who really need that service. Yeah, that is a pretty cool back story. Just to know that back then, right in 18 81 it was it was created by, you know, a young woman still in school. That’s pretty fascinating on DH that you have that information sometimes, you know, throughout history, that information gets kind of lost our buried and so for you guys to hold on to that. And remember where you started I think is really important. You also mentioned having three locations. So I am not from Connecticut. How close in proximity are those locations? They are each probably about an hour from each other. Okay. And each one is very different. You know, sometimes we have an animal that isn’t finding the right match at one location. So we bring them to our other location, and within a couple days, they find the right family. So it is really interesting, and it’s kind of helpful. Tohave are a little network it away s o. We can, you know, move an animal to place where you know, has the vast chance of finding its write, natch. So we have our Newington headquarters, you know, right outside of Hartford. So we have, you know, sex suburban there, and then West Core, which is in Fairfield County, no closer to New York City. So against suburban, I would wonder, for though it is more rural, it’s if I’m in that close to the highway and you’re just going by, you know, a lot of open space farmland. It’s very quiet out there compared Tio Newington and Westport. And you know, so are, you know, the demographics that we’re serving in those areas. So you just see different needs depending on where you are. But we want to help people and pat statewide. So it’s really nice that we have those three locations And you know the same programs at all of them, though, so that we make sure something that somebody needs somewhere is also available at either of our other two locations as well. For example, our Cat Food Pantry program. We run at all three of our locations. So it’s not just where they have to goto, you know, Newington only to get food that they need. They goto water from Westport, too. Yeah, that is kind of nice that you offer the same the same services at all three locations. Everybody kind of deserves those same programs, right? The same resource is and so I like that. That’s the approach that you guys are taking is one community doesn’t deserve it more than another. I’m curious, though, having to kind of more urban locations and one rural what’s the difference, or what are the what are the community differences, You know, between the two urban and the one rural that you guys are seeing with the demographics. Yeah, I feel it also changes depending on the year, the time of year. Like in Westport, we do a lot of assistance for trapping you to return groups. So they will come to us and get pro bono space and neuters vaccinations for colony cats. And then they take them back and return them to their colonies. Right now, in Waterford, we’re seeing it. Massive requests for care for kids, strays or letters that still have Mom, they are just overloaded right now with kittens in water For Newington is where we do a lot of our work with animal control officers. Towns up here have really been appreciative of this service that we provide our medical department where they can bring John sarcastic primarily dogs for that pro bono medical care so they can bring them for just this Venator vaccinations and take them down and adopt them out through their municipal shelter. Or they can choose for the pat to stay with us and be adopted out here. So we see you know, such a range of you know ages and breathes air mixes from animal control. And so a good chunk of our animals who we adopt out do come from animal control because the town budgets, it’s just not there for those shelters. You know, Connecticut. We’ve been seeing so many budget problems at the state level at the town level, you know, having to cut back on things. And, you know, that filters down to the animal shelters and they want to do everything they can for these tests in the towns. But it’s just hard when you don’t have that budget s o, they do turn to us, and we’re glad to be here for them. Yeah, definitely. You know it Definitely. It’s almost like you’re running three different organizations, right? Based on the location and the different the different community types. Gosh, I hope you guys have ah, fairly large team. That kind of Yeah, that kind of helps you manage all three of these. Otherwise, I can see that getting a bit overwhelming for you now a total of 138 years. What is the newest edition for you guys? Is it Newington? Westport? Waterford, Who’s the newest addition to your organization. Wow, that’s a tough question. Waterford was renovated. It was around 10 years or so ago, and then the Newington building, this around 20 years old. But it had previously been in a different spot on this property. So where we now have our pet food pantry in a garage in the parking lot That used to be what, the building wass here, esu. We just moved a little bit on the land. Westport’s been there forever, our oldest building. It needs a lot of how it is on a very busy road, so we don’t have a lot of space to walk the jobs the way we do at Newington. We have trails. It’s actually really nice. Wouldn’t trail area that I think is open to the public as well. So I’ll see people coming in and out like to walk their dogs on these trails. Perfect for our volunteers who are dog walkers taking the pups out. Waterford. We have because, as I said, in water for there’s just so much, you know, open space out there. It’s not as crowded, so they have a lot of land, have a couple of play pens they have areas where they can walk the dogs. And then at Westmore, um, there is, you know, retailing businesses. I’m just surrounding us. So we have kind of a smaller yard there. We do have played pens fit in as well, but we don’t have the trails are you know, they’re kind of just circling the building when they’re doing. They’re they’re dealing Were a couple times a day box down in West work. Yeah. I mean, you’re different. You’re you’re having to adapt, right, Tio Tio what you guys have and it sounds like so far, you’re doing a fabulous job on that. Now, you did mention your pet food pantry, and it is at all three locations. You guys also have several different programs. You mentioned the clinic as well. But you also have programs for both your youth and adult volunteers. So why don’t you spend a few minutes and kind of tell us about what those programs look like? And how those came about? Yeah. So a huge part of what we do now is not only adoptions, but also keeping pets and homes, preventing them from coming to our shelter or any shelter in the first place on DH. Part of that also starts with educating. Kids stood out there growing up, understanding how to care for a hat. What are all the different things that a pet needs so that they don’t end up in a situation where you know they’ve got 10? Say I can’t keep this animal anymore because we don’t want to see families having to break up because of whatever the situation might be. S o. You know, for our bathroom pantry program, for example, we are giving people packed food to get through that rough cash you know, might be a layoff. It might be an illness in the family. There’s a mom whose son has been battling cancer, and she said, The last thing I want to do is have to take his job away from him while he’s going through this. So and there is a big dog. I think it’s making a great Dane or is something really good eats a tot of food? Yeah, I understand that it’s tough to have to them think about okay. Paying my child’s medical bills to fight cancer. They also got afford all this, you know, care and food for my giant dog. And so she has been coming to our food pantry to get food, and it’s just, you know, it’s a little boost, but it helps to get people through. It’s one less thing that they’re shouldering themselves. So we have. You know, that program is part of our keeping pets in homes aspect of our mission, the educational parts, The classroom programs also talk about just being safer on animals because we I don’t want to see dog bites happening. You know, it’s another recent impact might land in the shelters if they’ve been or have to go to animal control. And so we are going into classrooms, libraries, Boy Scout troops, Girl Scout troops, kind of any community space that will like to have that program. And we have a life sized stuffed animal dog so we can show kids, you know, ask somebody first. Hey, can I pet your dog? Is it friendly how to let them sniff you first? Where’s a good place to pet them? Don’t just run up into their face and start, you know, shouting doggy or whatever, right? So and then we do that program or other programs for adults as well. You know, invite groups in for two words they want to do with service project. You know what kinds of things that they made for our pets that they need or collect food for the pet food pantry or do address down day at work? We’ll go speak at people’s offices. We have a lot of businesses around here who like to each month pick a different charity that they want to support. And so we go in and tell them you know all about us. Here’s the ways you can help. Maybe bring a pet and show them. Here’s the actual face of a pet that you are about a sitting by supporting the Connecticut. You mean society. Yeah, that’s our youth and our adult programs and just goes back to the central mission of having that right match for that pet keeping them in that home, you know, in preventing cruelty as well. Because, you know, we see those cases around here, and some things are called in to help with them or taking a path through space cruelty and kind of give them that rehab. Yeah. You know, one of the things that I really like. And I was just looking at your website as your as you were talking to me about that. And one of things I really like, especially about your youth programs, is that they’re starting as young as age for for your pack pets and carrying kids on go all the way up to 18 with different with different programs. So it starts with kids at the age of four. But I also see, you know, you talk about the bite prevention, which is, you know, 4 5 to 12 and then at the age of 10 year, already offering them an opportunity to think about their professions. Right As they grow up, Tio, see how they want to be able to help animals. So I love the variety that you guys are offering the youth in your community. I think that’s really cool. And that’s something I don’t see in talking organizations a whole lot of. So I love what you guys have done with that. Thank you. Yeah. Thank usually popular. It only started I was around last year. We had a couple basic programs this year and expanded. Teo, I think the high school level in talking about the pact professions. They are community outraged and actually interviewed a bunch of us here on video and said, You know, what do you do in your job? How do you work with the animals here? Because, like a lot of a set when we were kids, we thought, We want to work with animals. Well, you have to be a zookeeper or a veterinarian. And if you’re not brave enough to go, you know, do surgeries and deal with all of that. You’re like, Well, yes, I can. You know how that is a job. But we want to show kids there are all these different ways to professionally help and work with animals or as a volunteer. Now, if they wanted to get started, that can’t do hands on in our locations. Do you have to be 18 or older? But they’re family could foster a pet and you get everybody involved. Or they can make blankets for the cast or cardboard scratchers for the cats or being Dana’s for the dogs, which is, you know, people I think love seeing the dogs dressed up a little bit when they come in and are looking to adopt, so it helps the hats find a home. So there’s ways for kids to get involved now, or just so show them. Hey, when you grow up, you are 18 or older. You can come in and be a volunteer dog walker or work in our maternity department with Qin’s helping to bottle feed them and get them big and strong so they can get ready for adoption or even help with cleaning or go into the community and kind of spread the word about all the things that are going on here. Ways that people in the community can help pets we have. I think it’s like a couple dozen different roles for people who want to volunteer here. So there’s so many different ways, depending on what their interest ISS. So one of the things that you did mention is the education and keeping the pets in homes. Is that something that you were seen on A on a rise previously to making that commitment? Was an owner surrender in your community? Yeah, I mean, a good amount of our pets were coming from that, you know, we still had heads coming from animal control or private rescues when they had a pet that they thought would fit well in charm program. Or they were just really crowded or that had a big medical issue. But, you know, we had all these people coming in being like, Oh, I wish I could keep my pat. Can’t afford it. Has a medical issue. Can’t afford the food. Maybe they’re on grain free or something that’s a little bit more, you know, pricey. That is typical pass food. And so we’re just like, what? Can’t we try to prevent this problem? You know, because they still want this pet. Let’s keep this in its home to keep room at the shelter for pets who truly have no other option, whether it’s somebody has allergies and they can’t keep the animal. Or if it was found as a stray and has been living in a parking lot eating glass. True story. Cat named Yeah, mid. We hope I’m pronouncing that right, and they know. I think he was up for adoption, but then started having weird symptoms and they had to go in and do exploratory surgery because they felt there was a blockage and they found glass in this cat’s stomach because, gosh, I’ve been living outside. Yeah, so that hat, you know, options no home to keep it in. You know, we have space come to us because we are working hard to keep other pets were going through a crisis in their home, so it just made sense. So the pet food cancer, I think, has been around for about 20 years. And when there is a crisis going on in the community, we can use it to help out. So, for example, this winter, when way had the government shut down, federal workers were not getting their paychecks. And, you know, a lot of human food pantries were offering how I know, like the coastguard had its own pantry. But we said, Well, hey, who’s taking care of the pets? Because again, if you have a big draw or an animal, a special diet that’s expensive, dainty food for them too. So we were able to open our pet food pantry to federal workers, and we’re showing, and I d telling us. Okay, have these pets. This is typically what they be. And if you could get that for me, great, I can take something else. and we also worked with a couple municipal animal control shelters so that they could also be a pickup location. We got them food for our country to those municipal shelters so that people, if they didn’t live near one of our locations, could go somewhere that was closer to them. Also brought a ton of food poppy P pads, cat litter, Cuban Coast Guard s so that they could hit it out to people who are coming for people food for themselves. So that really played a big role this year. And then, you know, we were also hearing for people the veterinary bills. I just can’t handle that. You know, when it’s something unexpected and your job is seeing something, they should know they need surgery to get it out or if it has not been stayed. And now this, You know dot has pie. Mitre needs emergency surgeries to that. That infection isn’t spreading. That’s a surprise. And what people can’t afford that. And so that’s where our Fox Memorial planet comes into play and the rates already reduced there, no matter what they have done. Any service, they’re all lower than a typical hospital. But what’s important there is. We also have our special assistance fund that is all supported my donors, and it’s for people who really I cannot hate anything or it’s, um, super small about We can cover the cost of that with the Special Assistance Fund. Way had a man who came a few months ago with a Doberman that he has had since this dog was a puppy. Her name was Echo best friends. He calls her Velcro because she’s always at his side. And so she ended up having Miami Trust this middle aged had been stayed and, you know, he went to another vet. It was over $1,000 or something, and he had gone through just a real rough patch in his life where he’s like, I can’t afford that right now called us and said, I think I have to give her up to you. I just I want her to get this care. I want to save her life. And if I have to give her up well and so we send you still want to keep her and he’s like, I love Tio. We said, Do you know about Fox Memorial Clinic and our Special Assistance Fund. We can do this for you. And so she got that lifesaving surgery, you know, came back later for a check up, and she’s doing amazing. And she’s back to herself running around and getting excited when she sees him grab his keys because she can go for a ride in the truck S O. That is one of our favorite stories because behind that, these two have I met them. He took some pictures. I mean, that is her person to tear them apart, you know, because of this unexpected surgery that came out, you know, there’s no point in doing that, so we kept them together. We also do free community clinics that we started things around three or four years ago, and there was one really underserved community in Southeastern etiquette Hold Norwich. And so we started our Norwich Pet Wellness clinics, and so people can come and it’s all free and it’s a wellness exam. Heads are getting wait nail trims, flea and tick collars. They’re getting hard work tests at one of them. We were able to offer heart room competitive there getting ready stock scenes and when the town clerk’s office is able to come. They’re even doing dog licenses for the people who live in that town. So I’m trying to try to make it a one stop shop, and they can take home food and supplies also if they need. So that’s just another way, you know, trying to keep pets in their homes, and especially for senior citizens. You know, they come and they say, If my pat doesn’t have its vaccine and isn’t up to date, I can’t live in my senior housing anymore. And so they would have to move and, you know, if they couldn’t afford that, you know, they were either giving up their path so they can keep living in their senior housing are they have to move somewhere else, find a new place to live with their pet. So it’s helping so many different people, and they have. You know, all these different reasons for why this is so essential. You know, beyond, of course, your patio this care but just infects. You know where they’re living, too. For me, the takeaway and all of that, Susan, is that you guys air listening to the community at your absorbing what they’re telling you and what they need help with And your building programs, right? Your your extending your reach to make sure that you guys are a solution for your community on DH. I really like that because listening is one thing. But to implement right away toe actually help them is a little bit more difficulty. But it sounds like you guys have been able to do that very successfully on DH. It sounds like, you know, the more people hear about this and the more people talk about it, the more successful you’re becoming not only in the animals and the people that you’re helping, but in the volunteers and how they’re able to donate time and money, right? I feel like it’s an all encompassing system that you guys have going on. It just hits, and it seems like it’s working flawlessly. No, thank you. I mean, I guess on the upside, hopefully doesn’t think, thinks it takes a lot of people a lot of effort, a lot of research to I mean, you’ve been just starting that wellness clinic. They wanted to make sure they found a community where there was, you know, extreme need. And so it was talking to social services, you know, in different areas food pantries, you know, all these different groups that do work together already. And so when we found the community that we thought this would really work, we brought all of them in. And so that’s how they’re connecting people in need to the clinic. You know, it’s groups that already helping that that population and we couldn’t do it without their support and animal control support as well. They play a role in it. And so this year we got additional grant funding to expand it because people hear about it and they say I live on the other side of the state and I wish I could go to this. I need it. And so we’re super excited to be able to offer and a few other towns this year on DH, then in Norwich, we’ve still been doing a couple of clinics, but also that scene clinics. So it’s kind of in and out. You’re getting vaccines you need and then you know, and if you need food as well and then we’re moving on to the next one. But if we see something that should be followed up on Beacon. Say, Hey, come to our next clinic. It’s here on this day or whatever the case may be, or refer them to our Fox Memorial Clinic Way had a case that our last one out in Norwich, where the dog definitely needed to be spayed and had a really, really bad to that. We said that tooth needs to come out. You need dental surgery is very expensive and they said it, you know, that’s good to know that. What? I can’t afford it. So that person, I think they came this week to our fax tomorrow clinic to have that work done, and I think they’re able to pay a little bit. But then again, the Special Assistance fund will cover the rest of it. So when we really see those cases and they can’t go anywhere else, we can refer them to our full fledged animal hospital. Yeah, again, You know, the relationships that you guys are our building, I think, is incredible. So you guys have the community support of individuals. Are you partnering with other organisations and or other businesses either to extend your reach or Teo play a bigger role in the community. Yeah, we partner with us in any animal rescue groups, private ones that we can and municipal animal control as well. You know, it benefits everybody because men animal control gets in a dog that has a severe medical problem. They can call us. I mean, I can think of three cases off the top of my head where they were, like, just calling us immediately. This dog means immediate care Way had one last year named Daisy Mae, and I think she was also kind of nature case, and she wishes crashing. She was a mass, and so are Westport. Location has a medical area medical space, but not for very full complicated surgeries. They don’t have a full team the way we do it. Our Newington location. So a majority of our medical workers done at new eight ten 10. We have a full medical department, a lot of staff down there, you know, that’s that tax that assistance volunteers, even some with experience in the medical field. And so Animal Control in Bridgeport had called our Westport location and said, I have this emergency case for this dog. What can we dio? And so they got her tow us, and then we transported her with help from an emergency animal group in Connecticut that’s fairly new. That helps out during natural disasters like hurricanes we had, or just transporting animals. If they have fallen, I think they broke something and they’re too big for their family to move into a car safely. It’s kind of like a pet ambulance service in a way. And so that was who helped us get this job to our Newington medical department. She was ready on Ivy’s. Those needed to stay in. She need to someone watching her for the whole ride, just in case something really bad started to happen. And so when she got here to Newington, everyone was gowned up, ready to go right into emergency surgery. And they saved your life on DH. That was a dog that came from animal control. I think they found her tied up to a fence, Um, either at their shelter somewhere near it. So you know, they rely on us. We rely on them. If we say, Hey, we’re hearing about potential cruelty case. Can you go out and investigator, just see what’s going on here on day will do that for us. And then you have the smaller groups that private, other private groups. You know, we had one last year who encountered account hoarding case. They heard it was only 35 cats they knew is probably a little bit more. Okay, let’s line up all the groups that are going to help, you know, take some of these cats. And so it was us that the Connecticut Humane Society a group of Massachusetts I think a group in Rhode Island ever was right. They went into the house. It turned out to be around 90 casts. This took multiple days going in? Yeah, finding them in the ceiling in furnish er on your couches in Providence. They were everywhere. So many of them were pregnant. Police, upper respiratory infection, eye infections, everything you could think of and still having kids. Yeah, but so there are a group that we have are closely with, and we work closely with them for many months after that because the cats that they had taken in and we’re keeping in there foster homes, they would come to us for their medical, and then they would take them back and adopt him out. You know, if we have, you know, a certain degree that won’t candle well, for example, great pyramids that we had a few months ago. She had only ever lived outside. And she was middle age. And so she came in here and she’s like, What’s the floor? I e can’t walk on this. I want to say hi to you, but I don’t know what I’m walking on. I’ve only ever been, you know, during grass. So we did her medical heartworm testing, grooming and then connected with a great tyrannies specific rescue. And they had a great home in mind for her, and it worked out. And she’s doing super well. So it’s everyone kind of helping each other out and just kind of keeping tabs on. You know who is a special case you have right now. What do you need help with our even Just giving food, Teo Animal Control or the smaller rescues, because way have a partnership with Hill Science diet. So we were able to have that food for pets or, you know, we have other donations coming in that we’re able to that kind of share the love if we find a group one of our partners, that their shelves are empty. We’re actually not going to let them stay empty. We’re going toe, step in and say This is what we can give you right now Let’s see what we can dio to get you more. I love that you’re taking the partner into a whole nother level, right? I think organizations see, I feel like there’s a couple things either one they don’t partner while with other organisations. Right, because this is the animal welfare industry. And unfortunately, there are those situations. Then I think there’s others who think of partnering as we need help. You need help. Let’s you know this one time transaction, right? That’s another level. I think what you guys are doing is you’re building a long lasting partnership. It is a given take, but you’re not just helping them when they can’t find homes for animals, you’re giving them product, right? You’re helping with services. And I don’t know that I’ve really heard that before, Susan. So I don’t know how that kind of evolved, but I wish more organizations would do that. Now. I know part of that is financial, right? So not a lot of organizations are in a financial position to do that, but I just love the openness and the willingness to have these conversations that you’re having with with other organisations other groups, not just in your state but in surrounding states as well. For me, that’s really special. I just wish I heard more of that. Yeah, it’s huge for Connecticut. I feel like all of our groups here and animal control e they really do try Tio team up because like we all say, it takes a village. You know, when there’s a special case, somebody’s gonna know somebody who would be the perfect fit for that dog. Wait. A hospice case recently is kind of a funny story. How you got here because he was at animal control. She was bringing another job, tow us, and she had this old dog come for the ride and we saw him were like, What’s his story? And she’s like, Oh, he’s old. He’s a bit of a mess. He’s just going to, you know, kind of live it out here with us. And we said, Well, let’s try to, you know, work on him, see what he needs done lumps and bumps everywhere. You know that teeth, All these conditions. We worked on everything that we could count into a stable, comfortable state. Andi think it was cancer. One of the lumps and bumps was a cancerous mass. And so we knew of a group that does some hospice where hospice, whatever you wanna call it. And they said, I think I have the home for him because these guys still looked great. He loves stolen his blankets. He liked going for his walks. That is called Your life was still really good. And so they found the perfect home for him. And he’s like on a farm down. There’s pictures of him on a tractor. I think they have a ponder room like So we get pictures of him with siblings, you know, Waterfront. I mean, he could it. It’s amazing, you know, he came from, you know, cattle in animal control. And now he’s living this amazing life for however long he has. And it was, you know, the three of our groups working together to make that happen for him. But it happened, and so I think that type of thing kind of spreads and so other groups. They’re like, Oh, if we all work together, look at what we can do what we can make happen together. So we try to show people like, let’s all just be a team. Yeah, I hope more people can take that right when they’re listening. I just here so often, right that that the relationships aren’t stronger, that they’re hard to come by and nothing really ever comes easy. And animal welfare, right? Great work here does. Yeah. Yeah, time. Yeah, develop those and then just to maintain, you know? Yeah, definitely. So I hope that, you know, people understand that I think that can be a barrier for people. But you have to put in the time and effort and energy, right? And then once you make that connection to your point, you have you have to maintain it. It’s just a cz much work work to maintain those relationships as it is to go out and build them to start with. So, like, yeah, yeah, I think you could get so much more done. So we feel like, you know, it’s just so important here. Everyone helps each other. It’s not just us helping people like you know, their people are doing what they can as well. You know, everyone’s kind of good at something different. I think sometimes, yeah, it’s that That is definitely a good reminder for people as well. So one of the things that I’m curious about, Susan and is how many animals do you have in your chin, your three shelter locations and how many are in your foster home program? Let’s say I was just thinking about this the other day. So between our relocations and also in our foster homes, we have 306 pets. Andi. That will grow Teo probably close to 400. As kitten season goes on, we’re gonna keep getting those calls of people finding letters outside thie amount. Of those 306 who are in foster care is 192 on DH. That number is so high because so many are letters. No. So money is right now and, you know, we even will send a foster care getting pigs who have babies. Ahh. Few years ago, a man came to us who was homeless, and he had dozens of rats can’t pass. I think they were just in a Rubbermaid Containers. They were all living with him in his car, and many of those were pregnant. And so those ones went to foster homes. One of the foster homes adopted a couple of these baby heads after they were born does happen if if it so, we will send, you know, to foster for so many reasons. So too young and little to be adopted. Maybe you’re a kid with no mom cat. You need to be bottle fat and day and night. So we have amazing Foster’s who you know, even at night. They’re getting up every couple hours and there trying to bottle for you, no matter how long it takes. I know it’s also really messy job, but they do it more. It’s a pet who needs a lot of dental work, and it’s just there fostered until they have that time slot in our medical department to have that dental surgery or it’s a pet with, you know, skin allergies we see so much of. And so while they’re healing and medicine to get better, you know why I have them in a shelter environment. Have him in a cozy foster home with a family where they can sleep on the bed at night. So are fosters are amazing. We couldn’t do this without them. And same for all the volunteers who volunteer in our buildings. You know, that’s how we’re able to have couple 100 pats at any given time because they are all pitching in and doing amazing work. And in 2018 close to 1,000 tests received foster care at some point. So a huge part of what goes on here Yeah, which is great on. Got to tell you, foster homes are sometimes hard to come by. I have to imagine with, you know, 1,000 of them in 2018 and even now, having 192 of them. And in foster homes, like you said, many of them have multiples, right, whether they’re kittens or give you the ass or, you know, whatever the case might be but still at that, even even if you had that, I have to assume you’re looking at probably what, 75 active or soul foster homes? Not sure. Let’s say you don’t have that number in front of me. Yeah, but you know, a lot of the ones that do it. It is a constant stream of Foster’s going in and out. They just keep going the whole time. And, you know, some people they don’t have their own pets because they say, I want to just be a foster home and have how it has You have no right now, which is pretty, Which is pretty incredible when you think about it. Yeah, so are you guys always looking to grow? Are you guys always looking? Teo Obtain more foster home volunteers and what’s that process look like? If somebody were interested in doing that, how did they get in touch with you? Guys has to participate. Hey, so a few months ago, we put the call out for to sit before foster homes who had medical experience, whether they had a pet committee, had diabetes or maybe their event tech. And they’ve worked at an animal hospital or just experienced giving medications things like that because you typically wouldn’t come into fostering and expect to have to do all that. But we are seeing more and more pets coming in with these extensive medical problems, where it’s either a chronic condition. We have to stabilize it or they just have, you know, a sickness right now that has to get better, like the skin allergy. And once on is under control, I’ll be fine. But in the meantime, you know they are itchy and losing for and needs special medicated bass on extra care. So we first surety foster homes who have had that experience and again, whether it’s their own pet or through work. Maybe in the animal field on DH, they can and other people is, well you, especially people who will bottle two kittens whether they are going to learn and do it for the first time. Er, they’ve done it before because it is tough. You want to get those little ones through this first, you know, a few weeks when they are so fragile, and so it’s so important to have them in a home where they could be constantly monitored. So we really love that the kid’s bottle feeders or gable, who are just gonna foster just any animal who needs it. And they can go to C t humane dot orc and read all about it. They can apply online. We do ask for a minimum six month commitment because, you know, there is a lot that goes into it finding out their experience and who they like to foster and training them on. You know, if it is bottle feeding kid or some sort of medical situation with a pet and just you know what our procedures are, such as coming back and forth for veterinary appointments. Is that something that you can fit into your schedule? So but a lot of people will stay on for years and years. We have a board member who is also a dog walker, who I think just celebrated, like 40 years of volunteering with Amazing. So people stay for a really long time. They fall in love with it. They love seeing the success stories with these pets, and so they will just stay in volunteer in all different ways. So I guess that’s a weird, according to people who do this and fall in love and never leave. It’s a good warning, I think Right, right? Usually mornings aren’t so positive, but I think this one’s a good one, eh? So, definitely speaking of success stories, you shared a couple of memorable stories with me today. I’m wondering if you have one. That kind of hits you personally that you want to share. Probably one from last week, actually. OK, for a minute. So another type of pet we’ve been helping lately again because of support from the community and donors and just kind of rearranging things in here. If you get how it works, is taking in pets who have mysterious wounds. So we call them here, connect it wounds of unknown origin, cursed state law. If you do not know the origin of a wound, and Pat has an unknown vaccination history, they need to be quarantined for six entire months so that we’re making sure no rabies is going to come out and reared its ugly head. And so when you take a hat in and you know they’re there for a minimum of six months, it’s a huge commitment. So, you know, that’s of course, all the medical care for whatever wound they have, uh, their daily care, you know, feeding checkups. If they get the sniffles or something while they’re here. Of course, taking care of that and then making sure you have ample space for them because they cannot send a cage for six months. It wouldn’t be fair to them. So we put them in offices and people who like our executive director or operations director. And so they will be set up with a pet for six months, so they also have some human companionship. Tio on DH There’s just, you know, hearing regular noises and smelling regular cell thing might smell in a home environment on the people that they are rooming with our radios vaccinated. So it’s safe for those people that interact with these animals. And so we have this cat and spunky common six months ago with a massive wound on his neck. Hey, had been a strange neighborhood. The person did not see it happen, doesn’t know exactly what happened. He was a stray. So no idea about any rabies fascination for him. So we said, You know what? Where is this Captain ago? Who else can accommodate, you know, cat like this for six months and take care of his giant Ah, wound took him in, stitched him up, you know, made sure that it was healing, right. And when he was ready, he became an office helper to our executive director, Gordon Willard, for six entire months. You had a whole set up in there with no cat condo scratching post. Of course, he instead would choose to lay on Gordon’s desk be a paperweight play with the mouse on the computer, dead for part of Gordon’s lunch on and then people could play with them. We have our doors, our split so you can have the bottom half closed and open the top half so we could do feather one with him, you know, over the door, which he loved. So he finally became available last week, and she was also fnd f b positive. So for that into the mix, Yeah, middle aged. You know, Male cat, You know, people comma y want to Qin Yu Whatever, Yu. Now he’s gotta be him s o. That was just another thing that we had to explain to people that would maybe kind of determine that. And so somebody came in for him. A couple came in for him, and recently we had introduced him to another. If I ve cat, who is also a six month quarantine for a wound of unknown origin on my civil aged boy, his name was Henry and we’re like, you know, they just became friends and so I don’t know Would you think about potentially taking bold? And they said, Well, we can’t leave you no one behind They doubt spunky and his new friend, Henry, and now they have a Twitter account that they just started the other day. So we’re seeing updates of the cats, you know, watching TV and hanging out, and they’re, you know, sniffing around the house. And the amount of Staten balled here is streaming through their adoption room to, like, say goodbye and congratulations. It just, like, kept going. The whole morning was Friday morning. It was the best way to end the week. That is a special story, right to know that your first off, that you’re able to take in animals right that require that much commitment, I think, says a lot about your organization. You know, I just the memorable stories for me is such key because there’s so much maybe not negative. But there’s a lot of things that are really sad, right, an animal welfare and and the memorable stories and those happy adoptions, I think, are what we really need to hang on to. And that’s why, you know, I just think it’s really important to share those. I think other people can feel that. And can you know if they have a way to remember their story? But here, other stories. I just think there’s something really special in that. So I’m really happy, spunky, and Henry found there forever home. And you guys are part of that, right? Yeah. Teo. Yeah. I want to feel, you know, positive and cheery when they come here. You hear from a lot of people who were like I’m afraid of, is it? I don’t want to be sad on one. Take them all home and we’re like, It’s not like that. Like, Come in. You will see them playing with volunteers, having peanut butter calls. You helping Gordon in the office because they’re in office. Help her right now. You will not feel sad. And the average time on the adoption for once the cat is medically cleared is only two days. That’s pretty incredible. Yeah, they are finding homes, and I think part of what helps us here is we’re open seven days a week. So people work on the weekdays. They can come on a Sunday, look at all the available pats and try to adopt because for a lot of the municipal shelters, they have very limited hours because they need to be on the road investigating or responding to calls. And so a lot of people are repeated doctors with us because we try to make it work for their schedule, and I just be open most. He’s basically all the days except major holidays. Yeah, I mean, being open seven days a week, eyes definitely keys. So I’m glad you have. I’m glad it’s only a two day turnaround. I again, I think that’s incredible, right? Once they’re all cleared and their medical has been taken care of, that’s really quick. And that’s great for the animals that super medical care takes longer. You know, like these guys six months. The average time of medical care to get them ready for adoption is 24 days who comes? Sometimes We had a little trial who was here for over a year because he needed multiple surgeries on his legs. And so we’re like, we’re just gonna be here for a long time, but we’re gonna get him where he needs to be. And if it takes that long, it takes that one. Yeah, I definitely like that. The commitment doesn’t scare you guys away from from helping animals. I think that’s really special about you guys. So as we get close toe to wrapping things up, Susan, I do want to kind of talk about future events and fundraising for you guys. Do you have anything coming up that you want the listeners to knowabout? Yeah, so every fall we have our diamonds in the rough Are you F F course gala fund raiser. And so this year is in November, it isthe, Let’s see November November 9th. That’s a Saturday, the second Saturday, November and it is at the North House and even Connecticut. So it’s a really pretty facility that also has outdoor space looking really nice patio garden area. And so that is a sight gala. So it’s a little bit fancy or have her fancy want to make it. We have some girls who do run the runway, come these beautiful counts, which is great for the photo ops as we have photo booth three. Bring out some puppies from our foster care program just for a couple hours that night so people can take pictures of the puppies, kind of see if they might be falling in love and interested in adopting. And they just kind of actually see the faces of who they’re truly benefiting. That night. Here they are here, you know, some of the poppies who are now going to be able to get their space and neuters their vaccinations, any other medical care that they need to prepare them for adoption because it’s events and people like that who make that possible in the first place. So it’s also multicourse dinner. We have a deejay, and the other big thing that night is we honor someone. We induct them into our Gertrude Oh Louis humanitarian society, so named after our founder, the high school senior who started all of this. So it’s somebody in our area with a connection to us who’s been going above and beyond for animals. One of the people we honored was Bill Berloni, who, you know, it works with animals on Broadway and can’t. She adopted a Chihuahua from us last year who he was thinking would potentially be a star on Broadway. Now he’s just like living it up with the bail and all of his animals. So that’s an important part of that night is We’re looking at the history how far we’ve come celebrating all these cuts, success stories from, you know, the year that’s going by getting ready for all the new ones that are yet to come. So tickets for that will be on sale soon. At our website, people can check it out. C t humane dot or GE and, of course, clearly shelters is coming up on August 17. That’s a Saturday this summer. So we are the main partner for the NBC Connecticut affiliate because it’s an NBC National run adoption day that started several years ago. I think we’ve done it most of the years that it has been running, and we only just count our adoption piece slightly. So we get so many people who come throughout the year. But just to make it a special day, we do that. We follow the same adoption process that we do any day of the year. So that’s, you know, your application. Having an adoption counseling session going over which type of pet you’re looking for, what you might be interested in expectations for that pet and its medical care. Just what it’s going to need going forward and trying to make that that best mash. But of course, along the way, you know everyone across the country with NBC is able to promote adoption and remind people that these technique amazing companions and they usually landed in a shelter through no fault of their own. So you’ve really loved that programme, has reminded people and just really made rescue a movement. And that’s something we’ve seen here, especially in Connecticut. People are so proud to say, I rescued my cat is from a shelter or a rescue group and it’s this type of mix and who knows what’s in there? But we love him just the same. Yeah, yeah, that is really the key, right? People do get. They tend to focus on the breed. You know, the kind of dog versus the personality and really what that dog is about, asshole. So I love that you guys stand for that. I love the community support that you have in the relationships that you’ve built. Is there anything else that we may have missed Susan in this conversation that you want to share before we wrap things up. Yeah, we don’t get any funding from the government were not conducted tio No state government or any of that. Some people get confused and think we are because Connecticut’s in our name but way also are not connected to any national organization. So it is just us in our three locations and Newington Waterford in Westport. Andi. It’s all possible because of donors and friends out in the community and businesses who believe in this cause and believe in these pats and giving them a fresh start. So we just always want to think them because none of this would be happening without them. So, you know, it’s just people who believe that they should have a chance. Yeah, and so we just always wanted to, you know, give them all the credit because they are central to this mission. Yeah, there’s definitely nicely said, and I agree. The volunteers, they’re definitely the heartbeat of organizations, aren’t they? Know, my gosh. I mean, they do. They have, you know, and and everything that goes on here. Yeah, which is great. I love everything about you. I think you guys are doing fantastic work, and I really, really am honored that you guys were able to join me today and I was able to a little learn a little bit more about what you guys are doing over there. Thank you so much for having us. We really appreciate the opportunity. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member, join the ARPA to take advantage of all of the resources we have to offer. And don’t forget to sign-up with Doobert.com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.