Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (December 2021)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (December 2021)

Cat Owner Surrender

The OS Coordinator – Cat Division is responsible for responding, coordinating, and processing cats who are surrendered by their owner to Pet Haven. The OS 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 Cat Adoption Coordinator to ensure a smooth transition for the animal to Pet Haven’s care.

Estimated time commitment: 5 hours per week

Dog Owner Surrender

The OS/Return Coordinator – Dog Division is responsible for responding, coordinating, and processing dogs 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 Dog Adoption Coordinator to ensure a smooth transition for the animal to Pet Haven’s care.

Estimated time commitment: 5 hours per week

It is hard to believe 2021 is coming quickly to an end. This year has been so fast paced it seems to have whizzed by in a bit of a blur! I feel our personal lives, work lives, and the Animal Rescue Landscape have all experienced a lot of changes. The ability to be fluid, adapt, and evolve with new situations and challenges is key. Also being able to recognize where improvements can be implemented is key to our continued success.

To say this past year has gone by fast is an understatement, but I am truly in awe as to what we have accomplished. We operate on what is a very small budget compared to other organizations that serve a similar amount of pets in need. We are able to do this because of all of you….those of you that gift your time, resources, hearts, and homes to Pet Haven and the Pets & People we help. You make our work possible. Thank you!

We are always looking for ways to improve best practices for our rescued pets while also improving the volunteer, staff, and adopter’s experience. I often say the “Pet Haven Family,” and I truly mean this. We are family and we are successful because of this community of family! Please know my “door” is open anytime to support you!

The Rescue Landscape is still seeing effects of the pandemic. Given the continued ripple effects on pets and people in Minnesota, we have seen many changes and challenges this past year. I believe we have risen to these challenges to the best of our ability, made adjustments when needed, and have been successful in our mission to help as many pets and people as possible.

I am so proud and humbled by what we have been able to do in 2021 with a small budget that prioritizes our animal’s health, emotional and physical. Below are some reasons to celebrate what we, the Pet Haven Family, have accomplished together in 2021 to date!

  • We currently have 180 pets in our care!
  • 783 pets have found a safe space in our Foster Program: 180 Dogs and 603 Cats!
  • 751 pets have found Family and Home through our Adoption Program: 204 Dogs and  547 Cats!
  • Our volunteer support has grown to over 600 volunteers! 
  • Recognizing the changing need of pets coming to rescue, we have launched a Behavioral Rehabilitation Program. Many more pets we see coming to rescue have increased behavioral needs. In their current emotional or behavioral state they are not adoptable and at risk of euthaniasia. We are stepping up and saying yes to these pets, truly saving lives, and receiving wonderful public support. If you are interested in learning more about this program and fostering a behavioral needs cat or dog, please let your Mentor and Division Manager know. We need more fosters, especially dog fosters!
  • We are helping more owner’s in crisis and providing resources to divert surrender when we can. Few organizations offer surrender, we do and I am very proud of the help we have given this year. Over 200 families have been helped by our services. With our program we provide much more than a safe place for pets in crisis to land. We provide compassion, care, kindness, and give owners peace of mind that their family members are safe. 
  • We are looking at ways to support our Tribal Nations Reservation partners more through wellness and surrender clinics along with increasing our ability to bring more reservation pets into foster care.
  • We are currently in the process of negotiating a lease on physical space with a move in date of March 1, 2022. Cross fingers and send lots of positive energy this comes through!
  • We will be celebrating 70 YEARS in 2022!! 

I express gratitude to you all for being along for this wonderful exciting ride that is Pet Haven’s growth and success and wish you a holiday season full of laughter and love….there can never be too much of that!

As we near the end of 2021, I’d like to share some Frequently Asked Questions and answers to help people feel more informed as we head into the new year!

Q: When is the next open shed to get supplies?

A: Open sheds are listed on the Pet Haven Volunteers Facebook Page under the Events tab (or gray bubbles on mobile). Facebook has been a little wonky with its tabs lately. If you do not see the gray bubble/tab at the top of the page or when you swipe the bubbles, check out the featured section. This is also at the top of the page. Swipe until you see the events square. If no open sheds are listed, that means none are currently scheduled and will be soon.

Q: How do I get supplies?

A: We have open shed hours on Saturdays and Wednesdays alternating weeks. It is ideal that you get supplies here but if you absolutely cannot make it, please email our Supplies Coordinator, Annette, at and we will find a volunteer to help. As a reminder, we also have a satellite location in Cottage Grove which can be accessed by emailing Beth at Please try to plan in advance so that you can make it to an open shed prior to your stock of food, litter, etc. running out.

Q: Where do I return supplies or donated supplies?

A: Please find an open shed that works for you to return supplies or drop off donations. 

Q: I need respite for my foster animal. Who do I contact?

A: You can fill out our respite form here, which will be sent to our respite team. Please note, the more time the respite team has to find a foster, the better. Even if you think your animal will be adopted by then or you do not have exact dates, fill out the form. Boarding facilities are much more full than they used to be and they do not hold spots for us. Dogs and cats with special medical or behavioral needs, or who need to be the only animal, are exponentially harder to find a foster for.

Q: Should I take a new foster animal if I will need respite within the next month?

A: Please do not take a new animal if you will be gone and/or need respite care within the first month of having them. It is stressful for the animal to be moved in that short of time and we also cannot guarantee a boarding or respite option will be available within that time frame. If you take an animal knowing you will need respite care in the future, please fill out the respite form above immediately. 

Q: How can I find out when new animals are posted on the foster needed page?

A: First, find the album photo you want to be notified of by scrolling through the discussion feed until you find the 3 album photos – cats, dogs, and short term. Then click the 3 dots in the top right corner of the album post and turn on notifications. Our intake coordinators will post a comment on these photos saying, “New animals posted – check them out!” and you will receive a notification!

Q: I need to transfer my foster animal. What do I do?

A: Reach out to your foster mentor and explain to them what is happening, if there is a medical or behavioral issue, etc. We have multiple people who can help support you and work to solve the problem. We are unable to transfer a foster animal unless we have an open foster home that fits their needs. This process can take a while pending your foster animal’s needs and foster availability. Please notify your mentor as soon as issues arise. The sooner we know, the sooner we can help and the less time you and your foster animal spend stressed, afraid, etc.

Q: My animal has a medical concern, who do I go to?

A: Email the vet team at and your foster mentor as soon as you see any medical issues arise. Whether this be eye squinting, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, etc, anything new needs to be reported. The vet team may tell you we can monitor, but they need to be in the loop so that we know when things started and can keep an eye on them.

Q: What if my foster animal has an ongoing medical concern but has an adopter lined up?

A: If your foster has a medical issue like an ear infection, skin issues, major surgical recovery, etc., the vet team at needs to be pulled in. Our Vet Care Manager, Savannah, will let you know when your animal is clear to be adopted and can also give adoption applicants a medical view on what they need to do if the animal is adopted with ongoing concerns.

Q: I want to update my animal’s profile. Who do I send this information to?

A: Updates to your animal’s online adoption profile (including photos) can be sent to for dogs and for cats. If your animal has been posted for a while, it’s always nice to refresh and get new eyes on them. If you’ve had your puppies or kittens for a while, it is important to keep their ages and photos updated.

Q: My animal has a behavioral issue (hiding, peeing out, reactivity). Who do I contact?

A: For behavioral help, you can contact Kirsten at for dogs or Anna at for cats, and include your mentor. Please let us know immediately if your animal is showing any behavioral concerns so that we can help as soon as possible. It will make life so much better for your foster and for you!

Q: Are my cats/kittens bonded?

A: Bonding can look different for different cats. Some will sleep together, groom often, and some just simply coexist but like having the company. Reach out to your mentor if you are unsure and they will pull in our Cat Division Manager, Julie, and/or Programs Manager, Anna, as needed.

Q: When do I need to include my mentor in communication?

A: All the time. Include your mentor in every communication. The more they are aware of, the more they can support you. 

The holiday season is upon us! And that can mean a lot of chaos for new foster cats! Cats thrive on stability and routine, so all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays can really throw our feline friends through a loop, so I wanted to chat about feline decompression and its importance in a successful feline transition into a new home.

Whenever you bring a new cat into your home it is best to keep them isolated from other pets in the home for at least 2 weeks. This helps ensure a proper decompression time, time for any illness to present themselves, and for the cat to receive initial vetting and blood tests. This is very important for the health of your resident animals, so you are not spreading transmissible disease, as well as for the mental health of the foster cat as well. The items to look for in a proper isolation/decompression space are as follows:

  • Isolation from other pets in the home. 
  • Surfaces that are easy to disinfect (vinyl or tile floor, not carpet). 
  • Pet-proof  
  • Stocked with supplies that are dedicated to the area and easy to sanitize. 
  • A good, ideally separate source of ventilation. 
  • Low human traffic 

A bathroom works as an ideal space for this! This is ideal because it is easy to clean, quiet, and is easier to control their movements within. Here is my setup from a recent shy guy that I took in from MACC:

This setup works really well for cats that are shy, shut down, or need some socialization practice. I have a hiding spot created for him, or as I call it, a Cat Fort, which I can spray Feliway on. I can also sit near his hiding spot while reading and staying quiet in order to get him used to my presence without aversive handling. When I leave, I then drop a few treats right inside the fort to leave my visit on a happy note. 

This makes their new world a lot less overwhelming and scary when it is one small, quiet room, rather than a larger bedroom or an entire home. We want to give them the time to adjust to a new routine, new sights, and new smells, without overwhelming or over stimulating them. If we push them past their thresholds for stimulation, we can see aggressive or fearful tendencies that we would not have seen if we had given them the proper decompression time and space.

Part of setting your foster cat up for success is to start them off on the right paw. Let them adjust to your home and get used to the sounds, smells, and routines of your home on their own time. This will let them truly decompress from whatever may have been in their pasts.

Happy Holidays from the Vet Team!! We hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful time of year. As we all get busy hustling and bustling with all the festivities, it’s easy to forget that the holidays can pose challenges and risks for our animals. If you didn’t see it already, our wonderful Cat Division Project Manager, Misha, made us a wonderful video showing some examples of the types of hazards that our animals are susceptible to. The video talks about ways to prevent your animals from ingesting dangerous things and how to protect them from getting hurt. Take a look at the video here for some helpful hints!

Sometimes, even though we follow all the rules and are extra careful, our animals find a way to get themselves in trouble. What should you do as a foster parent if an emergency does occur with your foster animal during the holiday season or any other time of the year?

Depending on the type of emergency, your first steps may be different. If the situation is life or death and you don’t feel like you have the time to alert a team member, don’t waste time, just call the nearest Pet Haven emergency partner and tell them you are on your way with a Pet Haven foster animal. The emergency partners will know that only the care needed to get the animal stable is authorized until they can get ahold of a Pet Haven staff member. Please see the below list of Pet Haven Emergency Clinic partners. Examples of emergencies where this would be your first step would be respiratory distress, no heartbeat, will not wake up, collapse/seizure, hit by a car, etc. Once you get the animal safely to the emergency clinic, you can then alert the vet team (more information below on how to do that).

Click here for the full list of Pet Haven Emergency Clinic Partners. 

If your foster animal has ingested a toxin or poisonous substance (poisonous plants, chocolate, xylitol, human medication, etc.) please call the ASPCA poison control hotline right away at (888) 426-4435. If there is a consultation fee, we will reimburse you after the call. They may instruct you to take the animal to the nearest emergency clinic in which case you would follow the instructions from above. 

If you think your animal is experiencing an emergency but it is not life or death at that exact moment, and you shouldn’t wait for someone to check an email, please call my number (Savannah) at 763-258-6502 first. If you don’t reach me, I have a list of numbers on my voicemail that you can call, which are also listed below.

  • Anna Schaumburg, Programs Director: 218-790-1745
  • Ashley Marks, Operations Director: 507-828-6927
  • Kerry D’Amato, Executive Director: 651-492-4799

Either myself, or the other staff members, will be able to instruct you with the next best steps. Sometimes it is best for us to call the emergency partners ourselves, send records, or direct you to the clinic we think will be best for the situation.

We hope that you never have to face an emergency situation with your foster but want you to be prepared and know what steps to take just in case!

In addition to being a Board member, I’m a new cat foster for Pet Haven. As you’ll read about below, in November we saw the highest number of cat adoptions of 2021. Two of those cats were my first fosters, the sweet sisters, Pugsley (nka Prada) and Wednesday (nka Mochi). 

My foster experience is a fantastic example of what a special organization Pet Haven is. We have an amazing staff and a wonderful community of volunteers. Taking care of the kittens was truly a team effort. The kittens bounced around for a bit – Kerry even cared for them for a while! I took the kittens from another foster (Leslie), who did a great job with them and she provided me with so much information about their behaviors and care that I felt prepared to continue their ringworm medication routine (as many of you likely know, giving pills every day to two cats is NOT easy). Anna & Savannah provided great advice about cleaning protocols and did regular check-ins. When I had to go out of town, Ashley helped coordinate a dream team of respite care. Melanie, Meredith & Mary all stepped up to make sure the girls got their medicine and their favorite wet food while I was away. When they were finally healthy and cleared for adoption, Mary Ann and Lynn provided advice and support and Jessie did a fantastic job communicating about applicants and answering my questions. It was a great first-time foster experience.

Pet Haven’s volunteers are simply the best and I’m so proud to serve this organization as a Board member and foster. 

We will be holding our final Board meeting of 2021 via Zoom on Sunday, December 12 at 9 a.m. If you’d like to join, please email and I’ll send you the link.

The Board wishes you all a wonderful holiday season. You all do so much for Pet Haven and we hope that you have some time to rest and spend time with your family and friends (both human and animal!).

Pet Haven featured volunteer of December: Meet Emily Peterson! 

Emily started volunteering for Pet Haven in January of 2020 as the Pawgress Report newsletter coordinator. As the newsletter coordinator, Emily helps coordinate, edit, and manage the Pawgress Report. Emily really enjoys this volunteer position at Pet Haven as it has introduced her to many different areas of animal rescue. From learning about vetting, to the dog division, the cat division, and many more areas in Pet Haven, she always has fun reviewing the content each month. 

As the newsletter coordinator, Emily even gets to connect with volunteers each month to feature them in this Paw Pals section. If you haven’t been featured yet, Emily may be reaching out soon! Each month, we like to feature a new volunteer so that we can all learn more about each other and the various roles we play at Pet Haven. 

Outside of volunteering at Pet Haven, Emily works as a communications consultant and community relations coordinator for a health care company, enjoys hanging out with friends, visiting her family in Wisconsin, and spending time with her dog, Gabby (pictured to the right).

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

November Adoptions
Congratulations to the following 64 cats who found their forever homes in November: Maynard, PJ, Stella (fka Jill), Patty, Jack, Jill, Roy Kent, Teddi Lasso, Sadie, Toby (fka Milo), Monica, Twilight, Tuna, Tortellini (nka Lucy), Mostaccioli (nka Bud), WIllow, Birch, Apple, Ash, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Chapeau, Ponyo, Fonzi (nka Augue Mulligan), Kitty, Muchi, Sebastian, Larry (nka Jiro), Lisette, Remy, Raphael, Tucker, Emma, Elizabeth, Marvin, Davina, Donatella, Wahoo, Sugar, Moses, Louis, Squeaks (nka Echo), Ginger, Negan (nka Whisky), Sneaky Pete, Alfred, ALex, Rider, Tempest, Eloise, Taco, Bubba, Pearl, Harry, Petunia (nka Angel), Fancy, Zodi (nka Cleo), Tippy (nka Esme), S’Mores (nka Evie), Eddie (nka Finch), EMmie (nka Wren), Baxter, Pugsley (nka Prada), and Wednesday (nka Mochi). 

2021 Cat Adoption Stats

Are you kitten me?! You must be pulling my paw…November saw the highest number of cat adoptions all year! MeOWZA! 

Keeping Kitty Active This Winter

As windows shut for the months to come and we settle in for a long winter, we can help our furry felines keep the winter blues at bay with a few simple things. First, remember to make time to play with your cat! As much as cats love lounging about, most also love to play. As any cat owner knows, cats can be picky when it comes to toys, but just because they might not be ‘feline’ one toy, does not mean they don’t still have a desire for play. Try a variety of reasonably priced toys to get a feel for what their favorite toys might be. 

Next up, it’s important to remember that cats are natural born hunters, so the more they feel like they are actually catching a real mouse in the wild, the more engaged they will be in play! Try placing a few pieces of kibble around your home and varying the location each day to see if kitty finds them. In similar fashion, do the same with plush mice and feather toys. Try hiding toys just enough so a little feather or mouse tail is visible from behind a bookshelf to tickle her inner hunteress. Treat toys and puzzles provide excellent mental stimulation for your cat and they don’t have to cost a fortune. Try using cat-safe household supplies like paper cups to create your own DIY cat puzzle or treat toy. On that note, when it comes to playtime with cats, you just can’t beat a good old fashioned cardboard box. From snuggle spots to castles, mazes, and more, the possibilities for fun are simply endless! Let 2021 be the year you check that cardboard holiday village off your Pinterest list.

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!

Dog stats for 2021 (up to 12/9/21)

Intake: 180!

Adopted: 139! And we know some dogs are pending right now….

November Adoptions:

Opie, Kato, Willo, Dino (nka Brady), Holly, Willy, Willow, Sadie, Zuko (nka Kuro), Trixie (nka Baylor), Koa (nka Freya), Hank, Rufus (nka Bowser), and Yoda.

Thank you, thank you to all of our foster homes for taking in the dogs you did this year! Puppies, old dogs, cranky dogs, super happy dogs, bouncy dogs, loafy dogs – we said yes to so many foster dogs. 


Don’t forget, if you have a question, there is a whole team and community available to answer! Ask your foster mentor, check Facebook, or check the Foster Manual. 

Are you going out of town for the holidays? Be sure to contact Respite and your mentor.

Are you staying in for the holidays? Check out dogs needing respite!

Keep your foster dog busy!

As it gets colder, your foster dog (and you) may not want to go for that long walk. If they do want to go out, the supply shed has boots and coats for your foster dog!

For inside play, check and see if you have a Kong as a toy. You can give your foster dog part or all of its meal in a water bottle. There are snuffle mats, lick mats, and puzzle toys at the shed – think about stopping by and grabbing one for your foster dog. Work on training! Scent work can also be fun for a foster dog. Exercising your foster dog mentally is important too! 

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!

Drinks for Doggos! 

Grab your best friend, canine or human, and head to Unleashed Hounds and Hops to support Pet Haven! What could be better than a pint and a pup on their spacious outdoor patio all while supporting rescue pups (and Cats) in need!

A portion of all food and drink purchases will go directly to Pet Haven. The more you eat and drink the more rescued pets we can help!

Open Shed

Volunteer Appreciation Events

  • The Game Show Showdown – Saturday, January 28th from 1 – 4 p.m. in Golden Valley (Invite coming soon!)
  • Volunteer Appreciation Month Happy Hour – April (Date TBD) at Union32 in Eagan
  • Pet Haven Awards – September (Date TBD) in St. Paul, MN

Have a holiday trip planned? Be sure to submit a respite request form ASAP so your foster has a place to land while you are away.