With more than 140 senior dogs and more than 100 senior cats up for adoption at PAW, creativity is the key to getting those furries into the loving homes they deserve at this time of their life. Unlike other foster programs in which the foster parent commits to taking in an animal temporarily while a suitable adopter is found, the Senior Foster program at PAW asks foster parents to commit to the animal for the rest of the animal’s life. We understand that the potential cost of medical care is one of the main reasons many people reject the idea of adopting a senior pet. So Pets Alive Westchester provides the medical care for seniors in our program.
With your help, we can get these animals home. Committing to a senior is one of the most rewarding ways you will ever find to help an animal in need. It has been heartbreaking to come here, go through the records and see animals that came in as puppies, still here 14 years later. Absolutely gut wrenching. Seniors, especially those who have spent most of their life in the shelter, are extremely grateful for any amount of love and attention that is paid to them. They have outgrown most bad habits, and appreciate simple things such as great smells coming from the kitchen, leisurely walks in the evening, and a soft, cozy place to rest their old bones at the end of a long day. In return they will be a faithful companion to you and give you uncompromising love and devotion. Won’t you please consider providing a loving home for one of these deserving animals?
Dog Training and Enrichment
Pets Alive Westchester is committed to helping animals stay in loving homes. One of the best ways we have found to do this is to provide training help to dog owners who are going through difficult times with their pet. We know that there are simple solutions that will put an end to undesirable behaviors that all too often result in dogs being surrendered to shelters – such as housebreaking issues, inappropriate chewing or barking, separation anxiety, sibling rivalry, etc. PAW has a staff trainer who adopters are encouraged to contact with any and all questions regarding their dogs behavior. In addition, PAW has recently begun offering K9 Basics obedience dog training classes to help dog owners by providing them with a “tool box” of knowledge that will help them shape their dog into a model citizen. As a result of the simple, gentle and humane methods used, a deep and abiding bond is formed between the people and their pets, making it unlikely that these dogs will ever find themselves unwanted and in need of shelter. The classes are open to the public, so all dogs are welcome, and prices are kept low to encourage participation, and classes are held in the evening to encourage all members of the family to attend with their pet. For more information, please visit our website at petsalivewest.org
Exciting changes have been taking place in our medical department that will ensure that we are able to meet our commitment to provide excellent medical attention to all of the animals in our care. Dr. Richard Demmerle (Doc) joined the staff full-time in February. Doc brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in shelter medicine. This change has already resulted in increased and better care for the animals. But we are not stopping there! Along with the staff changes, we will soon have a long overdue renovation of the medical suite, including an upgrade of all equipment, funded by two anonymous donors. Quality staff and quality equipment = quality care and better quality of life for our animals. They all very much need and deserve this!
Additionally, all these animals now get regular examinations and medical attention. Holly, a dog who suffers from megaesophagus, needed a special, custom made chair in order to eat and keep her food down. This was an expensive item, but we knew it had to be provided to provide Holly the best quality of care. We also knew we couldn’t afford the purchase. We didn’t give up. We appealed to our members and immediately two volunteers stepped up to cover the cost of this chair. Holly can now eat properly, keep her food down and as a result feels better, looks better and is finally putting on weight!
Summer Dog Camp
Many of the senior dogs at Pets Alive Westchester have been here for more than ten years – some for their entire adult lives! That means best case scenario, they have been living in a very narrow concrete kennel run all that time. There are hundreds of these runs at Pets Alive Westchester, rows and rows of damp, narrow kennel runs. One can’t help but wish for something better for these dogs. Especially the dogs who are not doing well because of the dampness, or those who just need more stimulation than this environment can provide.
Anyone who has been to the Pets Alive sanctuary in Middletown can’t help but wish that the dogs at Pets Alive Westchester could experience Camp Tyler – even just for a few months of the year! At Camp Tyler, dogs live in spacious outdoor runs in the open air. There is a lot to keep them occupied. They can watch squirrels and birds, even the occasional deer, horses and goats! They can lay in the sun or hang out in their igloo. In the summer they swim in their little pools. All the comings and goings at the sanctuary are in view – from cars entering the driveway to people entering the front door of the adoptions building. Just about every dog gets walked at least once a day on a beautiful quarter mile trail in the surrounding woods. And almost every dog is eventually matched up with a buddy – even dogs that you would never think could possibly share a run with another dog.
It isn’t possible to send every Pets Alive Westchester dog to Camp Tyler for the summer. Your help is needed to raise funds to build more dog runs in Camp Tyler so that we can send more of our very special dogs who are not doing well in the the kennel environment. We know that the dogs will benefit from all Camp Tyler has to offer. So far five dogs have been moved to Camp Tyler and the change has been miraculous. Dogs that were spinning in their runs, aggressive at their gates, or had skin issues, are all walking around at Camp Tyler with tails wagging. Children are now even walking these dogs. This change in environment has been an amazing boost to the mental and emotional needs of these dogs. But Middletown is out of space. They have found room to build seven more runs there. We could send seven more of our “legacy” dogs up there if we could raise the money for these additional runs. Please visit our website at petsalivewest.org where we have a chip in running. We need to raise the money to build these additional runs so our dogs that need it most can experience summer camp. We are literally begging you to help us to help them.
This picture is of one of the Pets Alive youth volunteers, Nikki, loving on Bambi. A dog that is at Camp Tyler from Pets Alive Westchester. Please help make this happen for more of the PAW dogs.
Pets Alive comes to Westchester. By now you have probably heard the story. Years of mismanagement, poor record keeping, and unlimited intake of animals by the Elmsford Animal Shelter had resulted in a situation that was no longer manageable. Unable to continue, those in charge threw up their hands, contacted Pets Alive, and asked them to save not only the animals, but the failing shelter as well.
The part of the story you may not know is that Pets Alive makes a GIANT impact in the animal welfare arena, but it is actually a tiny organization in terms of budget and space when compared to the old Elmsford Animal Shelter. So we knew that we would not be able to help the Elmsford Animal Shelter financially, and also would not be able to take-in the more than 1000 animals who were in desperate need of our help. All we really did know is that we had seen the animals and we could not and would not turn away. This first year has been an uphill battle. There have been setbacks – the roof leaks, there is no insulation, so the building uses fuel oil at an unbelievable rate, the heating system gave out on one of the coldest nights of the year. By some miracle, we were able to limp through the winter, but the odds of getting one more season out of it are slim to none.
But despite all this and because of your support, we are winning the battle to save the animals here. Hundreds of animals have been placed into loving homes or with other no-kill rescue organizations who are committed to finding them homes. The lobby is spacious and clean. No animals are living in cages.
The rabbits live in large hutches. They are lovingly tended to daily by staff and volunteers, It is not unusual to see a rabbit hanging out on the couch in the lobby with one of our rabbit volunteers. The cats live in 10 rooms, with plenty of space. They have fabulous furniture with lots of nooks and crannies to hang out or hide in. The cat staff is loving and attentive and takes time every day to play and brush and love the cats. Cat volunteers can be seen daily hanging out and brushing their favorite cats. There is a lot of love in this place. It is everywhere.
In the kennels, the quality of life is improving for the dogs on a daily basis. Fabulous volunteers and staff ensure that every dog is walked and that every dog knows how much they are loved. Dozens and dozens of kongs are stuffed and passed out daily. The kongs keep the dogs busy and are helping those dogs who suffer from boredom. We wish we had a kong for EVERY dog. Our staff trainer has instituted a Train to Adopt (TTA) program whereby staff and volunteers are being taught how to interact with the dogs in ways that teach the dogs desirable behaviors and make them more attractive to potential adopters. The program has made a noticeable difference. When you walk through the kennels, you will no longer see and hear the customary frantic jumping and barking of typical shelter dogs. Instead you will see dozens of pairs of eyes watching you expectantly, tails wagging. They are patient. They are hopeful. They are waiting. Waiting for you. Waiting to go home. It’s time, and they are ready.
We humans, on the other hand, still have much work to do. We need to attract more donors, supporters, and sponsors in order to carry out our mission to save these animals.
We will be ramping up our Humane Education program in an effort to reach the children of the community to tell them about the work we do and the no kill movement in general. We will teach young people how treat animals with kindness, compassion and respect, and instill in them empathy for animals. The children are the future of the no kill movement, , and we will encourage them and give them ideas about how they can change the world.
- Over the next few months you will see an increase in Community Outreach events. Getting our name and our message out into the community is crucial to our future survival, since we depend 100 percent of the generosity of the community to carry out our mission!
- We will expand our dog training programs to offer a variety of courses – everything from help with behavioral problems, to basic obedience, to rally and fun agility in an effort to keep more dogs in their homes. We know that people who work on maintaining and improving their relationship with their dog are far less likely to surrender a dog to a shelter.
- You will see an increase in offsite adoption events. Getting our beautiful animals out in front of the public will increase their odds of getting adopted. Since the first of the year, 186 animals have been adopted, including 50 seniors. We need to increase this number until every single one of our “legacy” animals has gone home.
- We have set aside a limited number of runs so that we can take in animals from all over the county, state, nation and the world who need our help. We know that someone coming in to adopt one of our sweet, 60 pound seniors is not likely to change their mind and choose a small, young dog instead. And we also know that the small young dogs help to attract people to our shelter. Those people will become adopters, donors, volunteers, sponsors and supporters. And the circle continues. Until every animal goes home.
- Later this year or early next we will open our medical clinic to begin offering low cost spay/neuter to the animals of this community. We know that the single most important thing individuals can do to keep unwanted animals out of shelters is to spay and neuter their own animals. We need to make it affordable for everyone to do so.
But the bottom line is this: It all starts and it ends with you. We cannot do it without you! We need you! Please continue to help us help the animals.
We are on a critical rescue mission to get these animals “home” and to save this location. Together with our upstate location we will continue on as a force for no kill. If you believe in no kill and you want to see the end of the slaughtering of our companion animals in shelters across this nation, then you need to step up and let your voice be heard.
We all hope that we can change things enough to be unemployed some day.
Please consider sponsoring a pet. Your monthly donation of just $18 (three cups of gourmet coffee) will help us to save the life of an animal every single month. Please consider taking this step. We need you, and more importantly THEY need you. When they come to a shelter, starving, cold, scared and hurt, we promise you – and we promise them – that we will extend our hand, pick them up, and help them. We will not walk them to a back room and kill them. Please help us. They deserve it. We need your support.