March 2015

Friends of the Animal Shelter

Fotas - Friends of the Animal Shelter

Describe your business: Friends of the Animal Shelter is a non-profit that provides volunteers to support the animals and programs at the Jackson County Animal Shelter on Hwy 99, between Talent and Phoenix.

Our vision is for all adoptable animals at the Jackson Country Animal Shelter to find a loving home.

Our mission is to recruit and train volunteers who will save lives by increasing pet adoptions at the Jackson Country Animal Shelter, improve the quality of life for the Shelter's animals, promote spay and neuter, and facilitate outreach and educational activities about the humane treatment of companion animals throughout Jackson County.

Our values are: Service, Compassion and Generosity

When did this business open? Friends of the Animal Shelter is celebrating its 25th year of service to the Jackson County Animal Shelter. It was started by a small group of women who wanted to help the Shelter care for the animals while they are waiting to be adopted. In 2014 alone, more than 250 volunteers donated 20,000 hours of their time with dogs, cats (and occasionally bunnies, birds and ferrets) that spend some time in the Jackson County Animal Shelter on the way to their "fur-ever" homes.

With dogs, we walk, train, play and cuddle the pooches, keeping them entertained, socialized and exercised to reduce stress and make them more adoptable. We even formed "The Pit Crew," which works with strong breeds that might need additional stimulation and training.

We also have a dedicated play area for puppies called "Puppy Place." Puppies are more susceptible to kennel cough, which, because their immune systems are not quite up to snuff, can be fatal. To protect the pups, Friends of the Animal Shelter built a puppies-only play area that can be easily sanitized, while giving the puppies lots of room to romp.

And to help the transition into their new homes, Friends of the Animal Shelter pays for a free in-home session with a professional dog trainer with every dog adoption.

For cats, our volunteers cuddle, play and care for kitties. The Shelter now has two free-roaming cat areas, Kitty Korner (paid for by Friends of the Animal Shelter donors) and Whiskerville (created and decorated by Shelter staff).

Friends of the Animal Shelter sponsors the "2-Fur-1" program – where you can adopt two kittens for one adoption price of $70, or two cats (1 year or older) for $45. We pick up the second adoption fee. Cats are very social animals and love companionship, so adopting two at a time ensures they will have a playmate. And who can resist having two kitties on your lap?

Foster Program
One of our important off-site volunteer opportunities is our Foster program. Volunteers foster young, stressed or sick animals, while giving them the love and affection they need to become wonderful companions for their new families. We need more foster homes, especially since kitten season is almost upon us. And we need foster homes for dogs that may find the kennel environment too stressful, so don't "show well" at the Shelter.

What can customers/clients expect? The Jackson County Animal Shelter has fabulous animals to adopt. Some are strays; some are surrenders; all are deserving of a loving and safe home. Because of the efforts of Friends of the Animal Shelter volunteers, improved County processes, more training for Shelter staff and volunteers, and improvements at the Shelter itself, the "live release rate" (animals that come into the Shelter vs. those that are returned to their owners and adopted) has increased dramatically over the past four years.

Many people ask if we are, or can be, a "no kill" shelter. Private shelters, such as Southern Oregon Humane Society and C.A.T.S. can choose which animals to accept, based on adoptability. The Jackson County Animal Shelter, however, has to accept "all comers." These could be injured or abused animals that are simply not adoptable. And some people bring their old or sick dogs to the Shelter to be euthanized. However, if an animal looks like it can be saved with a medical attention, socialization at the Shelter and/or fostering, the Shelter and Friends of the Animal Shelter volunteers jump in to make it happen! This tender, loving care saves hundreds of animals each year.

What can the public do to help?
License your dog (6 months and older), and keep current ID on your pooch at all times. If Animal Control finds ID on the dog, it will receive a "free ride home" the first time, and may not even be brought to the Shelter! Licenses are available at the Shelter and most veterinary offices. Proof of a current rabies vaccination (expiration date at least one year off) is required. The Shelter hosts a Low-Cost Vaccination Clinic for cats and dogs on the 3rd Saturday of the month, 11 AM – 1 PM. $10 per vaccination – cash only. Nail trims available for $5 – cash only. Vaccinate and license your dog on the same trip!
Chip your cats and keep your registration up to date! All animals are scanned for chips when they come into the Shelter, and it brings us joy to get them home as quickly as possible. And if your cat goes missing, check with the Shelter for at least a solid month to see if your cat has come in. Only 4% of cats are ever returned to their owners. Call the Shelter at (541) 774-6654 to report your missing cat (or dog), and then call and come into the Shelter often!
Come and Volunteer: Volunteering with Friends of the Animal Shelter is a wonderfully fulfilling experience. We invite interested people to attend one of our monthly New Volunteer Orientations at the Shelter on the first Saturday of the month, 1 – 2 PM. Space is limited, so reserve your seat by calling (541) 944-2021.