Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (August 2021)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (August 2021)

Our Owner Surrender team provides compassion, knowledge, and understanding to a difficult time for pets and owners. By helping owner surrenders, we are proactively reducing the shelter population by bringing animals that would be surrendered to a local shelter into a home environment instead. Please consider joining the team. Both the cat and dog divisions are in need of additional volunteers.

**Urgent Need**

Cat and Dog Owner Surrender/ Return Coordinators 

We are seeing a large increase in people asking for help. Owner Surrender is an important service that we bring to the community. Please consider helping pets and people in need by volunteering as a coordinator. 

The OS/Return Coordinators are responsible for responding, coordinating, and processing cats who are surrendered by their owner or returned to Pet Haven. The OS/Return Coordinator reviews and assesses the animal’s veterinary records and surrender form and makes arrangements for the animal to be transferred to Pet Haven. The OS/Return Coordinator works closely with Intake Coordinators and the Adoption Coordinator to ensure a smooth transition for the animal to Pet Haven’s care.

Estimated time commitment: 5 hours per week

Dog Division Manager

We are still in search of a new Dog Division Manager. We are so sad to see Merry step down as she has done a pawsome job in moving the division forward and supporting our team and mission, but we are hopeful someone just as passionate will step into the role. The Dog Division Manager plays such a key role in making sure our mentors are supported and our dogs receive the resources they need!

The Dog Division Manager leads the Dog Division with support of our Programs Manager. The DDM supports the Foster Mentors, and is assisted by key Dog Division volunteers assigned responsibility for the various operational functions of Pet Haven’s dog adoption program.

The Dog Division Manager position holds a key role in maintaining balance within the Dog Division and being proactive to reduce crisis and conflicts. 

Estimated time commitment: 7-10 hours a week

Cat Adoption Coordinator

The Adoption Coordinator is a key customer facing role that serves our mission by “match-making”- helping our rescued cats find the right family. The Cat Adoption Coordinator is responsible for responding to all adoption applicants and tracking foster cats throughout the application and adoption process.  The Adoption Coordinator works closely with the Leadership Team to ensure that procedures are followed, and communicated to fosters. The Cat Adoption Coordinator also ensures that cats get listed for adoption and assist with adoption bios and posting in Pet Finder.

Estimated time commitment is 5-7 hours a week

Interested in any of these positions? Email Volunteer Coordinator Lauren Rauchwarter at

Passionate. This is a word I use frequently when speaking of the work I do with Pet Haven and the dedication of all our volunteers. It is this passion and drive to save lives that ignites us all and leaves a positive impact on all we touch. I am hearing such wonderful compliments from adopters, vet clinics, rescue partners, and retailers as to what an amazing organization we are. We have almost 70 years of experience and it shows. Thank you for helping us maintain a wonderful reputation!

The growth we have seen in the last 3 years is quite amazing. With all this growth, staff has been spread a bit thin and volunteers have been putting in longer hours, because of this we have decided it is absolutely necessary for the health of not only the organization, but also for staff and volunteers, to create a Program Manager position and bring on a fourth staff member. This position will support all our programs such as adoption, foster, dog division, cat division, and training, along with supporting the key volunteers in these roles. 

I am so excited to welcome Anna Schaumburg into the Programs Manager role and back into the Pet Haven Family. She has been with us a week and with her return comes a fresh perspective from the new role of Programs Manager. Anna will be offering much needed support to the organization and key volunteers. Her experience and expertise in the sheltering field will be so valuable during this time of growth and moving toward physical space. Adding her to the team will elevate the organization and improve the wellbeing of staff and volunteers. We have been very busy and we have lots we want to do before the end of the year. Some of that is developing and implementing new programs that will not just help pets, but help the people that love them. We also hope to move into physical space, something Anna knows a lot about having worked in the sheltering system. Anna will be strategic in supporting Pet Haven to reach our goals. Please welcome Anna back to the family!

We have been busy and good things are happening at Pet Haven!

How busy have we been?

  • 485 Pets have found safety with Pet Haven from January through July. 
  • 376 Cats and 109 dogs.
  • 447 pets were adopted from January to July.
  • 316 cats and 131 dogs (this number reflects some dogs that come to Pet Haven in 2020)

Where do our pets come from?

Over 90% of our pets come from local need. Very few come from transporting from out of state. We made a conscious decision to focus locally because many organizations were not. We believe all life is valuable and are happy that pets in high crisis states are being helped, we have just decided our largest impact is locally.

Some statistics from January through July:

  • 148 Rural Shelters – few adoptions
  • 132 Reservations – no resources
  • 103 Owner Surrenders in crisis
  • 39  Metro Shelters – pets considered unadoptable or no adoption services available  
  • 32 Kittens born in care – huge spike in kittens this year
  • 14 Dogs South Carolina – little resources
  • 10 Stray at Large – shelters not accepting
  • 6 Temporary foster situation turned permanent 
  • 1 Dog Texas Shelter 

As we grow we want to focus efforts where we can make the largest impact on our community. With the increase in staff we will be able to offer more programming for not just pets, but people in need too. This is a very exciting time and we are all so grateful to be doing work we are passionate about! 

Thank you for being a part of the family!

I am super excited to be back in Operations after a brief hiatus into the animal care world! I thrive on process and procedure and love creative problem solving, which is oftentimes needed in rescue! I am going to be reaching out to our operational teams to gauge how things are running now, where we can make improvements, and ensure everyone is feeling top notch in their role. The rescue landscape can be prone to compassion fatigue and burnout so a priority for me is the mental health of our staff and volunteers! If you are in the following teams, you’ll be seeing a message from me soon: microchips, supplies, bios/adoptions, records, intake, and respite!

Our volunteers can also expect to see more informational posts from me in the future like this one:

One of the greatest advantages to adopting from a foster based rescue is knowing all the ins and outs of the animal coming into your home. Setting our adopters up for success is the goal!

What do you tell your adopters about your foster dog or cat? Do you tell them what it was like when they first came in? How about decompression or slow introductions to resident animals? Do they hear about the animal’s likes and dislikes, quirks, behavioral needs? 

I email a typed packet to my adopters with everything I can possibly think of. I also print it and bring it to the adoption to go over with my adopters. People tend to be very excited about getting their new animal and don’t always hear everything so having it written down so they can read and reference it is truly key. My adopters also get a list of stuff that my foster dog may come with or that they may need, as well as what food they are eating to make a slow transition. I generally foster behavioral/medical dogs so they come with a few more needs than most.

Here are some snippets from Letty’s packet:


Anxiety Medication – Letty was started on fluoxetine because she was still scared of the world in general, even after opening up to Brian. She gets ½ pill every morning. Fluoxetine should not be stopped cold turkey.


Letty currently eats two times a day. She eats around 8-9am (can feed on your schedule). Her food is softened with hot water appx. 30 mins prior (or can be softened the night prior). She gets ½ cup in the morning. Her fluoxetine gets put in cheese and cheese gets put on top of her food once it is softened. 


Letty will not budge on leash until she is comfortable with you. Initially, we had to start by opening the door and walking out into the yard. She would come out when we were a “safe” distance away. She is okay with dragging the leash but just needs to build trust with the person on the other end of it. Once she is moving on leash, I recommend walking her around the backyard only. She should be double leashed at all times. 


She may whine/howl/bark when left alone without other dogs.

She will take high value treats but you may need to start with tossing them to her.

Literally scared of everything like a deer – if she hears noises in the yard, she will likely run back inside. 

There and Back Again: A Programs Manager’s Tale! ( Just a little Tolkein humor for you all 😉 )

Hello again Pet Haven Crew! I am so excited to be back with Pet Haven as the Programs Manager. Programs have always been my home in my welfare career, from building new lifesaving programs, to revamping existing ones to optimize flow, it has always been my favorite part of my career, and now I get to do it all for Pet Haven, which is the dream! I learned so much while in North Dakota, but Pet Haven always felt like home, its mission and volunteers just truly struck a chord with me, and was something that I greatly missed. I am immensely grateful to be back here at Pet Haven and look forward to all the great work we can do together! I will be working closely with the foster, medical and vetting, training and behavior, and the volunteer teams to help create smoother processes and cleaner communications, so be on the lookout for communications from me going forward.

On that note, let’s talk about solo kittens! We all know that a solo kitten can turn into a bit of a “kittenzilla” with a wide array of behaviors, that although are normal feline behaviors, can be a bit problematic for the humans living with them. These behaviors range from excessive meowing, biting, scratching, or keeping the household up at night, and it can even contribute to a cat having generalized anxiety as an adult. Kittens just love to be around other cats! Having appropriate feline interactions is crucial to the behavioral development of maturing kittens, for this reason we will be implementing a 16 week and older rule for kittens going into homes without other feline residents. We always want the best for our growing felines, and we feel this rule will help our kittens, fosters, and adopters to succeed and flourish! There will be more details on this moving forward, so keep your eyes peeled!

Hey awesome Pet Haven Fosters! I wanted to go through the process of adopting out your foster animal that has on-going health issues and/or has just had surgery. Let’s take a look at a couple of frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your question below, always feel free to reach out to the vet email for clarification!

Q: My foster dog/cat just got spayed or neutered, when can they go to their new home?

A: Three days after their surgery, IF they are healing well (no concerns with incisions, medicating is easy, appetites and energy levels back to normal etc.) and IF the adopter agrees to follow all post-op care instructions, such as administering the correct medications, keeping the cone collar on until the end of the 14 days, and keeping the animal calm to ensure proper incision healing. You, the fosters, are the ones communicating with the adopters, so please use your intuition on whether you think the new family can handle all that is needed during this healing process. It is more than okay to have the adopters wait a few extra days until you have more confidence that your foster will be healed enough to go to their new home!

Q: What happens if post-op complications arise once in the adoptive home because the adopters did not follow the proper post-op care directions? Such as, incision opening or seromas around the incision?

A: The adopter will be responsible for seeking and paying for care to fix these issues since they left our care with normal/intact incisions. These things are emergencies so the adopter will need to seek care immediately. Per the adoption contract that they will sign: “I understand that if I am adopting an animal within their 14 day surgery recovery period, I am responsible for following post operative instructions. Failure to do so may result in incision complications for which Pet Haven is not liable.”

Q: What if my foster animal is on a course of medication with an end date, such as a course of antibiotics?

A: The animal should not be adopted out until after the medication is finished.

Q: What if my foster animal has a follow-up appointment needed such as an ear recheck or Urinalysis?

A: The animal cannot be adopted out until after the appointment is completed and the issue has been deemed resolved (ears are clean with no infection, urine shows no more signs of infection). If another recheck is needed, the adoption will need to be delayed again until the all clear is given by the vet.

Q: What if my foster animal goes to their new home and develops diarrhea within the first 10 days?

A: Often, this can be a sign of stress or change of diet. Adopters should be given enough of the food that the animal was eating in the foster home in order to gradually change food during the first couple of weeks. If a food change does not seem to be the issue, the adopter can be directed to the vet team for advice. After assessing the situation, the vet team will decide if a fecal test is the next step and will recommend the adopter take a sample to the vet partner the animal went to while in our care. If the fecal test comes back positive, Pet Haven will cover the cost of the fecal and medications to treat the infection. If it comes back negative, the adopter will incur the cost of the fecal.

Q: What are things that may arise once adopted that Pet Haven will reimburse the new owner for?

A: Per the contract that the adopters will sign:  “Upper Respiratory Infection (Kennel Cough/Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease, Feline Upper Respiratory Infection), Eye Infection, Ear Infection, Skin Infection, Pain Control (related to surgical sterilization), External Parasites (Fleas, Mites, Lice).

**Note: injuries once in the care of the adopter are not covered by Pet Haven – for example: eye injuries that happen after adoption that turn into an eye infection (not covered) versus an eye infection as a symptom of an upper respiratory infection (covered).

At our meeting on August 8, the Board elected Maren Willette as our newest member. Maren, who currently also serves as Pet Haven’s Dog Adoption Coordinator, has been a volunteer with the organization since 2015. Maren is excited to continue to help positively affect the lives of animals and people as she serves on the Board. 

The Board would like to recognize and thank Merry Sawdey, who is stepping down from the Dog Division Manager role. Merry did an excellent job in that demanding role and we are so appreciative of her time and dedication to Pet Haven. 

Now that the Rescue Brew fundraiser is behind us (what a fantastic result by the way!), we can start focusing on our remaining fundraisers for the year, including the online Holiday Auction. If you’d like to help the Board plan the auction or have leads on experiences and items (minimum value of about $50) that we can include as auction items, please email   

As always, if you have any Pet Haven questions or concerns or just want to chat, please reach out to us at

Pet Haven featured volunteer of the month: Meet Sara!

Sara is a full time piano and voice teacher. She’s been fostering dogs with PetHaven since 2018. Her resident Huskies Bella and Niko are calm and comfortable with most dogs and together they create a safe, relaxed place for some of the shyest fosters. When a previous resident Husky passed away, then-foster-Nikolai was adopted to keep Bella company. 

If you are interested in getting more involved as a volunteer, check out the opportunities listed at

A Note on Microchip Records

Accurately recording microchip numbers is a very important part of the foster/adoption process, which is why we’re asking both dog and cat fosters to double check for accuracy. After your foster pet receives their microchip implant, the vet will provide you with the microchip information – please take a picture of this slip and email to When you and your foster pet’s adopter are filling out the foster agreement, microchip information is requested as well. Please keep that vet slip/photo handy and ask the adopter to read back the number they have entered to make sure it was recorded correctly. This will help ensure a smooth transfer of microchip information from Pet Haven to the new owner. 

Congratulations to the following 61 cats who found their forever homes in July: Q, Jake, Finn, Buttercup, Paloma, Jackson, Heather, Sissy, Max, Oreo, Mungo, Rumple, Elsa, Paulie, Gina, Odin, Loki, Kit, Panda, Mabel, Dipper, Wampus, Bean, Posey, Pixie, Teacup, Estelle, Reeses, Twix, Zappy, Smokey, Rafael, Suki, Miso, Oni, Nori, Mochi, Zoe, Winston, Freya, Hudson, Ruth, Zeke, Emma, Rikki, Charlotte, Lewis, Redford, Wintergreen, Mars, Lodger, Blue Jean, Ginger, Sage, Basil, Opal, Serena, Venus, Kaylee, Simone, and Vivian.

Big round of a-paws for all of our amazing fosters that took in a cat or cats this month. In July we welcomed 55 new foster cats to Pet Haven. MEOWZA! Two of which have already been adopted.

Leading the Clowder

I am very excited to share that Roxanne Merriman (FB: Roxanne Teresa) has joined the division as our newest cat mentor! Roxanne Merriman is in Julie’s group and has fostered over a dozen kitties with Pet Haven. Prior to joining Pet Haven, Roxanne fostered with Wags and Whiskers and Feline Rescue for over five years and has lots of cat experience including bottle babies, litters, and special needs.

Roxanne will be taking over Group 6, and we’re still on the hunt for a Group 4 mentor – so if you have any suggestions for folks you think would make a great mentor, please send them my way! 

Do You Know Your Mentor?

  • Group #1 – Elysia (Facebook Name: Lysia Celeste)
  • Group #2 – Denise (Facebook Name: Denise Josephson)
  • Group #3 – Lynn (Facebook Name: Lynn Skauge)
  • Group #5 – Jackie (Facebook Name: Jackie Schmdln)
  • Group #6 – Roxanne (Facebook Name: Roxanne Teresa)
  • Group #7 – Nassim (Facebook Name: Nassim Noori Rossi)
  • Group #8 – Angel (Facebook Name: Angel Stoffel)
  • Group #9 – Anna and Colin Carpenter (Facebook Name: Colin Carpenter)
  • Group #10 – Julie (Facebook Name: Julie Sgarlat Urban)

If you are currently an approved cat foster, keep your eye on the Foster Needed page and the cat album for felines seeking foster care!

We need to start off with a BIG thank you to Merry Sawdey, who has stepped away from the Dog Division Manager role. Merry took this position in Fall of 2018 and throughout all the changes that have happened in Pet Haven, saw everything in a positive light and looked for a place to grow from in any situation. Add on being a Foster Mentor, and dog foster home who had 13 Pet Haven dogs come through, and you have one busy Dog Division Manager! Please take a second to thank Merry if you have the chance!

For now, Jenny Jurek has stepped back into the Dog Division Manager role. She held this position previously from 2011 to fall of 2018.

In July we welcomed 10 new foster dogs to Pet Haven. 4 of those dogs have already been adopted!

July also saw 18 dogs get adopted: MJ (nka Hamilton), Murray, Honey, Jewel (nka Juno), Spaghetti, Cosmos, Star, Firefly (nka Mildred), Marshmallow (nka Trixie), Hershey (nka Tobi), Sweet Pea (nka Pippa), Sonny, Stella, Apollo, Ena (nka WIllow), Tesra, Theo, and Vivian all are happily with their new families due to the dedication our foster homes have. Big thank you’s to those who took in puppies – deworming, alters, and wading through excited applications are some of the hurdles they go over!

As summer is winding down, if any dog foster homes are on a break, please head to our Fosters Needed page and check out the dogs waiting to enter foster care! Animal welfare groups everywhere are seeing dogs adopted in 2020 (aka, “Pandemic Pets”) being surrendered to rescues and shelters, and many are full. We cannot do the work we do without foster homes! Our reservation partners urgently need help as well. Transports come down every Sunday and all ages of dogs need help from puppies to adults. Reach out to your foster mentor or direct any questions you have about where our dogs come from, who needs help, etc. to

If you are currently an approved dog foster, keep your eye on the Foster Needed page and the dog album for dogs seeking foster care!

Adoption Event with Edina Realty

This event is for new and previous home buyers with Edina Realty who are interested in adding an animal to their home! This is a great opportunity to get your foster pet seen and possibly adopted. There will be an ice cream truck too!

Rescue Brew Spokes Dog & Cat Winners Party! 

Join Pet Haven and Dual Citizen to celebrate the winners of our Rescue Brew Spokes Dog & Cat Contest. Enjoy blues from the Mark Cameron Band on the Dual Citizen patio, get yourself some BBQ from Aesop’s Table, and be among the first to get your paws on a Crowler of our limited-release Rescue Brew.

Pet Haven Community Meet Up

Join the Pet Haven community during the dog days of summer for a fun night out at Keg and Case in St Paul. Meet adoptable dogs and fosters, and join Pet Haven Alumni, volunteers, and friends!

Open Shed

Note the Cottage Grove satellite location available by contacting Beth Alexander at and 651-238-9878. She has a large selection of special needs products.

Let’s Go Out to the Ball Game with Pet Haven and the St. Paul Saints

Let’s go out to the ball game and meet some dogs! Enjoy a night out under the stars at the CHS field stadium with Pet Haven and our rescued Pup sponsored by Chuck & Dons, The St Paul Saints will be playing Iowa!

Volunteer Appreciation Ice Cream Social

Enjoy ice cream novelties and other goodies on us as a thank you for all the hard work you’ve done