Finding a Way Back Home – Pet Haven Owner Surrender Program Gives Back 05/21/2021 By Kerry S Pet Haven’s Crisis Owner Surrender program served over a hundred families last year in crisis. The pandemic has brought on many challenges for pets and their people. Loss of jobs, loss of housing, hospitalization, and even sometimes pets are left behind after an owner passes away. Our Owner Surrender Program is not only a resource for people and pets; it offers a haven when there is no other option but to surrender. We have seen our Owner Surrender intake triple in the last year. These are not “pandemic pets” being returned; in fact, Pet Haven has had very few returns. Instead, the increase is people truly in crisis, needing help, and at the end of their options. As a result of this rise in requests for help, we have doubled our Owner Surrender Team to say “Yes” to more people and pets in crisis. Pet Haven brings peace of mind their pet is in a loving home and safe till adoption into a new family. Having to decide to surrender a pet, a family member is an incredibly difficult one. We do not take it lightly at Pet Haven. We approach every case individually offer resources first to see if we can help so the pet and people can stay together, and if not, we work to place the pet in a foster home where they will be most comfortable and thrive. Stories are often heartbreaking, and we are grateful to be able to offer a safe haven for people’s pets. But, unfortunately, one such story happened early this year in 2021. We received a call from a single mom with a special needs son who had lost her job due to the pandemic and was losing her housing. She had two cats. Tinkerbell and Missy. One of them, Tinkerbell, was her autistic son’s emotional support pet. The other, Missy, was a cat she had rescued as a tiny abandoned kitten. This family’s bond with their pets was incredibly deep, as was the bond the two cats had with each other. Unfortunately, she was unsure of their future and was moving to temporary housing; they could not take the cats. Everything was happening very fast, and she needed help quickly. Due to not having a facility where we house pets, all our Pet Haven pets are in foster homes, it usually takes us one to two weeks to find foster placement. This single mom in crisis needed placement in 3 days. Her story so touched us we went into action and found placement in 24 hours. Missy and Tinkerbell were safe in a loving foster home, but they never really adjusted unlike other pets we bring in. Tinkerbell did ok, but Missy was very scared and hid for a long time. The two cats had been very bonded in their previous home but did not interact much in the foster home. The foster mom did everything right, and the cats were healthy and well cared for, but something was obviously missing. They missed their family, and their family missed them, and we couldn’t stop thinking about this family. The single mom would reach out to get updates on Missy and Tinkerbell regularly, and we would also check in to see how she was doing. This family touched our hearts deeply. Normally we would have put the cats up for adoption after a few weeks, but they just didn’t seem ready, so we waited to give them the time we felt they needed before moving on to a new life. We knew in their previous home the two cats were very bonded, but in the foster home, they seemed to live separate lives. We hoped they just needed more time to adjust. So we waited. After 3 months, we received a call from the mom that she had gotten a new job and found permanent housing. We were thrilled for them, and we knew what we needed to do, and it’s something we do every day. Create family. We sent Missy and Tinkerbell…HOME. Tinkerbell and Missy were still in our care, and now they are home where they belong. Even though it was a new place, they knew they were home and immediately started exploring. They found their favorite spot, each other, and the two people they truly loved. At Pet Haven, we value family. We are thrilled Missy and Tinkerbell could be adopted back and grateful we were there for this family in crisis.