I’ve been thinking lately of how Wishbone is like the story of the little engine that could. Just a little more than three years ago we were a brand new shiny organization with lots of hopes and dreams but untested. When Allegan county asked for help to run their shelter other organizations said “no, the problem is too big”. But when Wishbone was approached, perhaps in our naivete’, we said “We — think — we — can”.
So from a slow start three years ago, we huffed and puffed our way up the hill. Many times along the way we wanted to quit when the grade seemed impossibly steep. But the mantra “We — think — we can”, kept us going.
Well, as 2011 winds down, I’m here to tell you we can. For sure, we have many more steep grades to climb, but we can face them with confidence. Consider these numbers.
1. In 2011 we re-homed a record breaking 546 dogs out of the shelter. By comparison that number exceeds the 2010 numbers of any other shelter along the west shore community from Muskegon down to Berrien counties. ( Their 2011 numbers will not be published until next summer ).
2. From a pitiful 15 cats in 2008 prior to our arrival, numbers skyrocketed in 2011, re-homing 482 cats & kittens. As with dogs, that number exceeds the 2010 numbers of any other shelter along the west shore with the single exception of Harbor Humane which re-homed an impressive 568 cats in 2010.
That is an astounding achievement for our little shelter group and tiny budget. Our hats need to come off to the adoption team of Karen, Josh, Angel, Tammy, Julie, Amber, and Carrie, who have worked tirelessly to photograph and promote pets, and organize the adoption and transport of so many cats and dogs.
On the medical front we have made huge gains as well. Our medical program is in full swing. With the help of Cindy Walker’s vocational vet tech students from the Allegan Tech Ctr., John and Shelly, our licensed vet tech volunteers, we now vaccinate all incoming animals and provide heartworm and/or FIV/FeLV tests prior to adoption. And if all goes as planned, we could start seeing spay-neuter services performed at the shelter by 2nd Qtr 2012.
Health at the shelter has never been higher. Animals are well fed, exercised when possible, and the kennel areas are kept clean by the tireless efforts of Josh, and the volunteers and trustee crews he directs on a daily basis. Thanks Josh, I know it’s exhausting work. We’re working on more staffing for 2012 !
Volunteer participation at the shelter has ballooned too. Through the efforts of Mike, Sara and Shalee, we now have regular volunteer orientation classes at the shelter. We’ll close this year with a roster of 73 volunteers! ..another record.
And of course, this is just Wishbones’s shelter work. Wishbone has made huge strides this year in our community service work through the Pet Food Pantry, community spay-neuter services, and most recently, public education programs. Watch for the Wishbone newsletter in January for stories about those programs and their 2011 achievements.
So.. thank you all for your tremendous commitment and efforts. Imagine what we will achieve for 2012 !