From 2007 to 2008 … and beyond!

Just before the holidays, DREAM’s board of directors went on our annual retreat. We’re lucky to have a member with a cabin in the mountains, so we head up there and do a lot of eating and a lot of talking, a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. We reviewed the year and dreamed about the future.
DREAM adopted out more than 40 dogs this year. Not bad for a tiny group in only its second year of existence! We’ve built a strong network of dedicated foster homes, and our financial standing is solid (although of course money is always a challenge, we are very careful with our money and can make a little go a long way). More than 90% of our expenses are related to vetting or other therapy. (And not for therapy for us! 🙂 ) I am very proud of what we’ve built.
We are all-volunteer run, so I believe there is a limit to how large we can grow, but I hope with some new process improvements this year we can double our adoptions by doing them faster in 2008, while maintaining the same number of foster homes (which is really all we can manage as volunteers).

Of course, there will always be the ones we can’t get to in time, or don’t have the right foster space to help, or don’t have enough foster space to help. One that haunts me from this year was Paprika, a little “down” dachshund. Her owners asked us to take her in. They had been caring for her special needs (paraplegia, bladder expression) for a couple of years, but the dad of the family had to move into assisted living. None of the foster homes who are able to take care of a special needs dog were available. I asked them to wait, and they said they would. But eventually they put her down, without coming to me for a “last chance.” I am still sick about that one. I have 3 disabled dogs in the house, and I know that taking care of them is very do-able.
Our longest term foster dog, Fella, is still with us. We’ve had him 3 years. After his terrible abuse / neglect, he is unlikely to find an adoptive home. (Not many folks out there looking for an older dog with behavioral issues.) But he is safe with us until that happens, and if it never happens, he will live out his life in foster care. The picture is of him, “celebrating” (although I doubt he enjoyed the outfit as much as I did). He did like the basket of toys though, and he is happy, even with his limitations.
I am reading a wonderful book that is really getting me hopeful about the overpopulation issue in general. It’s called Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America. I bought 20 copies, and I plan to give one to each of our board members AND to each of DeKalb County’s commissioners. (I guess I just ruined the surprise for the board members.) It challenges some deep-seated assumptions we have (like euthanization is inevitable, or that there are not enough homes). If what the author says is true, there really is hope for our companion animals, who give us the purest form of love I’ve ever known. Hope is not something we hear about often in animal welfare, but between DREAM’s small successes this year, being able to help dogs like Fella, and this book, I have hope.
Happy New Year to you all.
Advertisements

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Stacey
    Feb 20, 2008 @ 03:59:00

    It’s nice to see the picture of Fella. Thanks for everything you do for him every day.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: