Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (February 2022)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (February 2022)

Cat Home Visit Volunteer

Home Visit Volunteers are responsible for managing and supporting the Cat Division Foster Coordinator by providing the final step in the foster training and onboarding process. Home visit volunteers provide the “home visit” for new fosters which includes final training steps, signing the foster agreement, and offering a welcome package to new fosters.

Estimated time commitment: 2-3 hours per week

Pet Haven Phone Line Managers

The Pet Haven phone lines are a very important part of the service we offer our community. We often hear we are the only organization that has called back. Whether or not we can help someone is not always important. Sometimes just receiving a call from a real person offering some resources is enough to really help someone. Phone Line Managers are a very important face or the organization!

We are looking for volunteers to answer the voice messages for the Dog Surrender Line, Cat Surrender Line, and Main phone line. You will receive messages via email and call back as soon as you can within 24 hours at latest. A spreadsheet in google docs or excel will need to be kept for a record of the calls. You will direct messages to appropriate people within the organization and answer questions.

Cat OS Foster Placement Coordinator

The OS Foster Placement Coordinator- Cat Division is responsible for posting reviewed and approved cats for owner surrender onto the Fosters Facebook page to find an approved foster home. This role coordinates foster placement with the owner and foster, and sends needed information to the Intake Coordinators. The OS Foster Placement Coordinator works closely with other 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

Is it true?! 

Yes it is! 

After 2 years of looking for a home for Pet Haven, we have finally signed a lease! It’s been a long journey and a lot of work but I am incredibly excited about the next step in Pet Haven’s future. Physical space has been in the strategic plan for Pet Haven for quite some time now. 

During my search I have seen many spaces that were amazing and some that were not so great. Some were way too expensive and some well priced but would not work. However none of the spaces combined everything we needed at a below market price. I am absolutely thrilled at the agreement we came to with the owner of the property. We are sharing the building with the owner and his family business of 20 years. Employees already bring their pups to work and they love animals. They are so excited to meet Pet Haven pets, staff, and our volunteers. They are even providing furniture for us!!

Because of the generosity of Bernice Nash (now deceased) and a Trust she set up that has been “ear-marked” for physical space this leap is possible! This means the Trust pays the bills for our home and we get to do what we do best….rescue and provide loving foster homes for the pets we save, change lives for the better of both the pets and the people we help, and build community through our adoptions, volunteer program, and community outreach.

Having a HOME will open up opportunities for us that we have not been able to say yes to. We will be able to easily accept large supply donations such as food, litter, and pet care products. We will be able to do basic vetting “in-house” saving thousands of care cost dollars which will allow us to help more pets in need. We will be able to do transports and transfers in a warm safe environment. We will be able to examine pets as they come in for basic health checks and vaccinate if needed thus streamlining our vetting process. We hope this will make things much easier on fosters. We will have space for meetings, training volunteers, gathering as a community, and have an area to work with fosters and their dogs on behavior and training. We will also have supplies available to fosters during all open operating hours. This  will make things a lot easier for our fosters and having supplies stored in controlled temperature is much more ideal for everyone including the supplies!

Where is this place you ask? Central St Paul with easy access to 94E and 35E. As we get closer to being ready to open I will let you know the address. For those of you on the west side, we are taking your needs into consideration. We will keep a storage unit on the west side accessible for your convenience. I am looking into a possible temperature controlled option so the location may change from its current one but will still be positioned on the west side. I just can’t stand the shed in the winter!

This is a HUGE endeavor and we will need lots of help! Stay tuned for more information on possible ways to help us leap into this “new space” of changing lives for the better!

Thank you to all of you for your support and the generosity of your precious time and resources. Because of all of you, Pet Haven is growing and its AMAZING!

The Dog Division has been rockin’ and rollin’ and I wanted to be sure we gave a warm welcome to all the new faces around here! We truly could not do this without people willing to volunteer their time to help animals and the people who love them!

Dog Foster Coordinators:

Taylor Nixon has been with us for several months working to help us grow our foster base!

My name is Taylor! I am a registered nurse at Abbott and have been living here in Minnesota since June of 2021. I have an Aussiedoodle puppy named Duke who loves walks and playing in the snow. In my free time I like to read, watch my favorite shows, play with my puppy, and try different workout classes! I’ve always had dogs and cats in my house growing up and love the opportunity to be able to find them their forever homes.

Brittany (Tedford) Morris has been moving and grooving for the past couple weeks!

Brittany Morris joined the Pet Haven team in 2022 after learning about Pet Haven in her rescue journey. Brittany and her wife, Lauryn, rescued Goose, a shepherd/lab/husky mix in the fall of 2021. They have had their hands full ever since! Brittany has built her career in nonprofits, working in human services communications across the Twin Cities. Outside of work, Brittany, Lauryn, and Goose enjoy cooking, spending lots of time at the park, and chasing squirrels out of their yard.

Dog Owner Surrender:

Jessie Eubanks has been with us for several months and is helping train our new team!

Jessie joined the Pet Haven team in August. She loves to volunteer and was able to combine that with her love of dogs! Time not working in catering sales is spent with her husband, Ben, and wonderful pit mix pup, Bear. Her family just moved into the St. Paul area from Atlanta a couple years ago and are loving it so far!

Cathy Scoville has been digging in and learning the ropes!

My name is Cathy Scoville and I adore your dog. Just like people, each dog has a unique personality and thrives in the right environment. By volunteering at Pet Haven, my hope is to connect dogs and families, it is my passion.

Dog Intake Admins:

Laura Briggs is new to the role but not to Pet Haven!

Laura Briggs started volunteering with Pet Haven in 2011 as a dog foster. Since then, she has taken on many roles within the organization such as a dog and cat foster mentor, a cat foster, and served on Pet Haven’s Board of Directors for 5 years. Her favorite thing about Pet Haven is its ability to serve the community from various aspects; spay and neuter, owner surrender, TNR, and partnerships with local shelters and reservations. Laura is passionate about adopting older animals and giving them the home they deserve to live their best life. Outside of Pet Haven, Laura works in Corporate Finance for a tech startup. She enjoys hiking, trying new restaurants, and watching live music.

Rachel Snee is new to Pet Haven but not to rescue intake! 

Homeless doggies have always had a soft spot in my heart since I was a kid and my parents would take in local strays growing up. We just had a brand new baby in the house and found that we needed to take a break from fostering.  I’m excited to be able to continue to help homeless animals by assisting with intake. We can all help a little to make huge differences.

A big round of appaws! We couldn’t do this without all of you!

It is always an exciting time when you get a new foster in your home, both for you, and your foster! It is one of a series of many changes your new foster is going to experience, and even though it may be a positive change for them, it can still be very overwhelming and cause them excessive stress. This is why no matter where your foster comes from, or how they are behaving, a decompression space is so important for their behavioral health.

This two week decompression period is important to help them acclimate to a new environment full of strange sights, smells and sounds, and sets a solid foundation for your new foster to lay all of their positive learning onto. Here is what makes up a good space to house a brand new foster in:

These quiet rooms are not just for those animals who are shy or visibly stressed, they are for every animal that comes into our care. Many animals may display stress in subtle or unique ways that you may not notice, so it is important to give every animal the proper acclimation time, to reduce stress, and ease transitions into a new space.

It is also very important to monitor your foster’s intake of food and output of wastes. One of the best indicators of illness is how your foster is eating and what their stools/urine look like. If your foster doesn’t eat at least a half of a meal (either ¼ cup of dry food or a 3oz serving of wet food) over the course of two days, you need to alert your mentor and the vet team immediately. This can be a huge health hazard for our felines in particular, and our vet team needs to know if your foster’s appetite is below normal. Same goes for any unusual output such as diarrhea, loose stools, or hard dry stools, or if your foster is urinating more than the normal amount, it smells different than normal urine (such as smelling sweet, or overly ammonia) or has not urinated. All of these are major indicators that your foster may need medical attention.

Let’s talk food! What we feed our foster animals can make a huge impact on their overall health, so how do we know if we’re feeding them the right thing?

If your foster animal was surrendered by their owner, chances are the owner has physically passed along food or verbally let us know what the animal was eating in their prior home. We have recently added an area on the surrender form for the owners to document what type of food they are feeding the animal, so we can reference there as well. We want to continue feeding the same food, if at all possible, to help aid in their transition into foster care. You might get lucky and find the same type of food at the shed, but if not, try to find another food that has the same protein and texture as their old food. If you did get a supply from the previous owner, do a SLOW transition using the remaining amount of their old food. This should be done over a period of 7 – 10 days to help avoid digestive upset. The first day we recommend mixing 10 percent of the new food with 90 percent of the current food. Each day, increase the amount of the new food while decreasing the amount of the current food until you are fully feeding the new food. If at any point during the transition, you notice diarrhea or vomiting, you should extend the transition even longer and alert the vet team as well. A slow transition should be done anytime you make a food change so make sure to plan ahead and keep enough of the old food to last through the transition period.

If your foster animal comes into our care on prescription food, it is very important to communicate with the vet team right away to make sure we can arrange the transfer of the prescription or plan to get a new one. The vet team can order prescription food through and have it delivered straight to your house. We can also work with your preferred clinic to sell it to us at a discount. The same process applies if your animal didn’t come in on a prescription food but once in our care, was recommended to start a prescription diet. We do get donated prescription food fairly often so it is always nice to check the shed for your foster’s specific food to save money on ordering it. When your animal gets adopted, make sure to inform the new owners that they will have to have their own vet write them a prescription, so getting an appointment set up right away is very important.

Our fosters that come from reservations or shelters have likely been eating whatever is available to them so doing a slow transition to a new food is not as relevant. In this situation, finding something your foster enjoys and their GI system tolerates is your main goal. Take a look at Anna’s information about monitoring intake and output to make sure the new food is going to work for them.

Keeping the vet team informed about any issues you see during a food change is crucial. The sooner you let us know that a food change might not be going well, the sooner we can make adjustments and get the animal on a better track. 

As you read in Kerry’s update, Pet Haven has finally secured a physical space! Throughout December and January, we worked with Kerry and an outside attorney on lease negotiations. Late last week, the Board voted to approve the final version of the lease and it is now fully executed. This has been a long time coming – at least since June 2020, when Kerry and I toured the first space we seriously considered. Huge appreciation to Kerry for sticking with the search – we looked at many options – some better than others – and we finally landed on a fantastic space for Pet Haven now and in the future. It even has a great conference room for Board meetings and we’re looking forward to having the April meeting in person, in our new space. Speaking of meetings, the Board’s first meeting of 2022 is on Sunday, February 13. We will be meeting virtually and plan to discuss the 2022 budget and priorities, SNIP grants, a 70th anniversary celebration, and more. 

January Cat Adoptions

Congratulations to the following 68 cats who found their forever homes in January: Mia, Cali, Luci, Bow, Adora, Haymitch, Peeta, Rue, Linus, Lucy, Creed, Bess, Opie, Dash, Oliver, Pickles, Semi, Al Pacino, Pablo Escobar, Princess, Sophie (fka Bean), Audrey, Ruby Sue, Snacks (fka Clark), Ellie (fka Ellen), Tinsel, Elfie, Chimney, Bella (fka Pam), Charlie (fka Stanley), Hiccup, Toothless, Taz, Tigger, Jangle, Buddy, Krissie, Lion Ravioli (fka Moosh), Sheytoon, Sheereen, Gnocchi (fka Joojeh), Jinju (fka Astrid), Kiki, Izzy, DJ, Tony (fka Kelp), Sunshine, Mosey, Eugene, Ruth, Jack, Jackie, Joey, Flora, Bingo (fka Moses), Evangeline, Peeve, Jasper, Pandora, Cassie, October, Ernie (fka Butterscotch), Becker, Rae, Norman, Bella, 6ie, and Breeze.

2021-2022 Cat Adoption Stats

Did you know that cats sleep approximately 16 hours per day and senior cats can sleep up to 20 hours per day?! That’s a lot of snooze time! Check out these fun facts on cat sleeping habits.

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!

2022 has started off with a lot of new dogs coming into foster care! 32 dogs have joined Pet Haven so far this year! Five of those brand new foster dogs have already started lives with their new families – this is a huge testament to the care we put into the foster dogs and the whole team getting them ready to go home.

We are finding all of our intake partners still need help moving dogs to foster care. The reservation partners are having animals of all ages dumped at their locations. Shelters and animal controls are filling up. Private owners are submitting dogs to be considered for fostering at high rates. If you are unsure of what the fostering experience would be like, please reach out to your foster mentor! They can help you find a dog that will match what you are looking to foster. 

For the next couple of Pawgress Reports, we are going to feature current foster homes who want to share their experience with foster dogs from our different intake sources: owner surrender, shelters, animal controls, out of state, and reservations. 

This month, Jill and Wayne Steele share their experience fostering dogs from reservations! Jill and Wayne started fostering with Pet Haven the fall of 2019 and have since adopted out 14 dogs. Many of their foster dogs have come from a reservation partner – Red Lake Rosie’s, Leech Lake, Pine Ridge, or Lake Traverse. (Please note: they are writing about their own personal experiences with their foster dogs)

Have you ever thought about fostering a reservation dog?

We love it!

Of the almost twenty dogs that we have fostered, the majority have been reservation rescues. When they arrive, they are already well socialized with other dogs. They are very smart, resourceful and easy going. They love human company, and are loyal and eager to please.

Apart from the young pups, we find that the reservation dogs are already housetrained, and know that the outside is for toileting. They are fit, hardy and healthy dogs, and just crave attention and give it all back with love and hugs.

When we take these little dogs in, turn their life around, and give them shelter and a warm home and match them to their forever families, they respond in the best ways imaginable. We regularly keep in touch with all our “Steele Alumni” fosters, and there is no better feeling than to share the joy in watching them thrive in their forever home.

Wayne & Jill Steele and all our super reservation doggies: Asher, Sadie, Jessie, Maddie, Penny, Greta, Willow, Trixie, Lilah, Speedy and Connie (pictured). 

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!

Open Shed

Wine & Whiskers – Bring your friends! 

AxeBridge Wine Co & Pet Haven Celebrate Pre-Valentine’s Day with Poorly Drawn Pet Portraits. Join in the fun and draw portraits, have one done of your foster pet or pet, or just drink wine! It will be a pawsome time for sure!!

  • Friday, February 11 from 6 – 9 p.m. at AxeBridge Wine Co, 411 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Cats and Coffee: Cat Meet & Greet Event 

Sign up to bring your foster cat! *Home visit must be done prior to adoption*

  • Sunday February 20 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Petco Richfield 710 W 66th St

Volunteer Appreciation Events – mark your calendars!…..well make a note to look for the date.

  • Volunteer Appreciation Month Happy Hour and Meet Up- April (Date TBD) at Union32 in Eagan
  • Celebration of 70 Year Anniversary  (Date TBD in May/June)
  • Pet Haven Volunteer Awards Picnic – September (Date TBD) in St. Paul, MN
  • Pet Haven Home “Open House” Coming SOON!

Building Trust with New Cats

Is your new foster kitty a bit scared? Unsure of you or her new surroundings? Most important thing to do is build trust.

No matter what type of cat you have or what her personality is like, mutual trust in each other must be learned so that you can both enjoy a happy, healthy relationship. Whether your cat is shy or fearful, bold or aggressive, there are things you should do to foster her confidence and faith in you. It’s much easier to build your cats trust from the get-go than to try to re-build it after you’ve broken it; however, cats are often forgiving creatures and they don’t hold grudges (and they never act out of revenge or spite – cats just don’t think that way). With time, you can improve (or repair) the relationship with your cat to one of comfort, ease, and predictability. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to build your cat’s trust:

  • Respect your cat’s space.  
  • Observe body language. 
  • Let your cat come to you. 
  • Learn your cat’s limits to being touched. 
  • Give your cat choices and respect the choice she ends up making.
  • Be predictable.
  • Decide how to make each interaction a positive one for your cat.
  • Use positive reinforcement to reward positive interactions.