It’s the time of year when we reflect on what unfolded in 2017. It was a big year, especially since we started managing both the Appomattox and Pittsylvania County shelters. I must admit
that taking on two shelters in one year, on top
of starting our No Kill Virginia initiative, was a little much at times. It caused the staff to be stretched thin, and there were a number of major challenges. Now that 2018 is here, we are glad that we have gotten over many of the bumps in the road, and we are ready to tackle any others that come our way.
The Lynchburg’s Center for Pets took in 4,119 pets in 2017; that is 138 more than last year. We were able to help bring 638 pets to safety from at-risk shelters, and we found new homes for 3,188 pets.
In Pittsylvania, we had 1,075 pets come into the center between July 1st and December 31st. We had a save rate of 98%, with 742 pets being adopted into new homes, or being returned existing homes after they were brought to us as a lost pet.
Our Appomattox Center saw an increase of 72% over last year’s intake, with 689 pets coming into the shelter. 119 pets were adopted, and 363 were transferred out, enabling us to reach an incredible 99% save rate.
These stats only tell part of the story, so let me share with you the story of Penelope. Penelope was found by an Animal Control Officer in Appomattox County. She was living under a shed with her six puppies who were only a week old. She was so emaciated that she couldn’t even feed them properly. Thank goodness Penelope and her pups were found and were brought to our Center in Lynchburg. Due to the dedication of our medical team and our foster families, this mother and her puppies are all thriving. Penelope and her puppies are alive because of how well we are all working together.
In Pittsylvania, one of our biggest struggles has been finances. In six months alone, we spent over $81,000 on medical needs, and we haven't been able to raise the funds to cover that in the Pittsylvania community. Thankfully, our Best Friend Bash fundraising event was successful; we were able to raise over $20,000 after the costs, but we still have a long way to go. The pets of Pittsylvania County deserve a chance to live healthy and happy lives, and we are going to do our best to raise the funds to make that happen.
We are making progress with our No Kill Virginia efforts across the state. This year, we are going to save a higher number of pets through mentoring, spay and neuter services, and transport. We have spent time, energy, and money to help Southwest Virginia reach a no kill status, and we are seeing great success in Wise and Russell Counties. However, two other counties in that area still need a great deal of support, so that is where we are going to focus our efforts in 2018.
With your support, we are truly making a difference. You are affecting the lives of the over 13,000 pets in Central VA, that have been helped through spay/neuter, adoption, medical services, and sheltering. We can see the lives we touch when we look in the eyes of the tiny kittens who are now being bottle fed by a wonderful foster, or when we see a volunteer transport driver crying tears of joy after spending hours in the van with a number of dogs and cats coming from at-risk shelters because they are now safe from euthanasia. The community stepped up and helped the Lynchburg Humane Society raise $68,000 towards our medical fund in just a few short months. It brings tears to my eyes that so many people are helping; every one of us is doing the hard day to day work. This is a tough job, but we love it because of the many wonderful people in our community.
2018 will be a great year with many wonderful challenges ahead, and I know you will be there every step of the way. Thank you for all you do to make our pets lives better.