Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (January 2022)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (January 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

Dog Foster Mentor

Foster Mentors provide support and guidance to foster volunteers and their dogs. They are the portal  for fosters to all the support and resources within Pet Haven. Foster Mentors also work closely with all members of Pet Haven’s Dog Division Team to make recommendations for improvements and be the conduit of communications to Pet Haven fosters.

Estimated time commitment: 5 hours per week

Cat OS Application Review Coordinator

The OS Application Review Coordinator- Cat Division is 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 communicates with the Foster Placement Coordinator to find placement for them. 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: 5-10 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

Goodbye 2021….. Hello, 2022! 

I think we are all a bit relieved to be moving away from 2021 and the last couple of years of pandemic living. However, after the recent surge in infections, things feel a bit more uncertain but I continue to position myself in optimism! 

I am hopeful we will be able to see the uptick in infection rates shift and start to go down, and stay down! I am hopeful we will be able to gather in person more as a community to support each other, the animals we rescue, and the people we help. I am hopeful more people will come to support our mission and Pet Haven will continue to grow giving us an opportunity to offer more services to pets and people that need us most. Changing lives for the better.

Organizationally we finished the year very strong. The numbers are still coming in but we are very close to making our budget, if not being right on track. This is amazing! I am so proud of our organization. Despite a sharp rise in expenses due to increased costs in animal medical services, food costs, and supplies costs, we were able to stay close to the overall budget and continue to help those that needed us most. 

We were able to do this because we saw an amazing outpouring of financial and volunteer support. This support came from the already strong Pet Haven Family of donors and volunteers, but also many new people coming to Pet Haven who were deeply inspired by our work. 

What sets us apart from the other rescues? 

  • Our strong local focus. 
  • Taking risks on medical and behavioral needs pets.
  • Helping not just pets but also people. 
  • Being primarily volunteer driven.
  • Longevity and strong professionalism in the field. 
  • Quality customer service  and “Match-Making” adoption services.

Pet Haven stands out in the pack thanks to all of you who represent us in excellence. Thank you!

We will be celebrating our 70 year anniversary this year! What an amazing thing to be able to say. As Minnesota’s first Animal Rescue outside of the municipal “pound,” we have paved the way for all the others to follow and we will continue to do so. Watch for information on events surrounding this celebration!

Being primarily volunteer-driven means more funding goes where it is truly needed, the pets we save. Using a conservative calculation, over $300,000 was gifted in volunteer time to Pet Haven last year. We could not save the pets in crisis that we do, if we did not have this huge generosity of time given by our volunteers. Our donors can feel confident their hard-earned money is truly helping pets and people in crisis. You can feel confident Pet Haven is financially responsible and continuing to look at ways to reduce costs so we can save and change more lives of the pets who truly need us. 

We will be making some shifts in Animal Care that will not only maintain the high-quality level of care that we excel to provide our Pet Haven Pets, but also reduce our costs so we can help more. Medical care is our largest financial cost. If we can reduce this cost but still serve those that need us most with high-quality care it means we can say YES to more pets that often others pass up. Working to reduce our medical costs will truly impact more pets that need our help. 

I am excited about this shift and look forward to being able to change more lives in 2022!

Those of you who foster with us may be asked to change clinics as we have formed some very valuable partnerships with organizations that will be offering us incredibly reduced rates on services. This reduction in costs will save us THOUSANDS and help us take on more pets that need non-standard medical care. The pets that truly need us most.

We are always in need of more volunteers to help with transporting pets and administration items. If you or anyone you know have the interest and energy to help, please be sure to check out our open volunteer positions. Your gift of time is incredibly valuable!

I will be sending out a recap of last year that includes animal flow statistics and other items. Watch for it in the next week. I think you will find it interesting!

As always I am in awe at what we accomplished in 2021 with very limited staff and the generosity of our volunteers and supporters. Thank you for all you do!  Let’s Rock Rescue in 2022!!

2022: The year of the Dog!

(Okay it’s actually the year of the Tiger BUT, for us, it’s the year of the dog.)

We have seen an enormous need wash over Minnesota in the wake of the ongoing pandemic. Our shelter and reservation partners saw a huge uptick of dogs (and their people) in need. They are fuller than they have been in years and desperate for rescues to help. We also saw a record number of owner surrender applications come in – everything from behavioral needs to losing jobs and homes, and everything in between. 

Unfortunately, rescues have also been struggling. Our lives were turned upside down in 2020 and we haven’t yet found our new normal. From going back to the office, to busier schedules, to compassion fatigue – we’ve seen our capacity to take dogs dwindle. 

But this year, 2022, we want to lift our Dog Division UP! We are building our teams with a focus on owner surrender intake, training/behavioral support, foster mentors, and dog foster onboarding, as well as implementing consistent check-ins with our coordinators. With our volunteers feeling supported, I am confident that we can grow our dog foster base and save more lives this year!

If you have any funny, unique, heartfelt campaign ideas to grow our dog foster base, please email me at I’d love to hear from you!

Happy New Year to all of our fosters and volunteers! I hope that you are all staying warm out there! With the start of 2022, and an all new, exciting year ahead of us I’d love to discuss keeping this year exciting for your foster cats as well! That’s right, Feline Enrichment strategies!

Feline enrichment is about keeping a cat’s mind active and engaged throughout the day, this helps prevent boredom, stress, and can even help with overeating! There are many ways to keep a kitty mentally engaged, from interactive play with a wand toy, puzzle feeders, and even clicker training. Yes! You can train cats! And here’s the real secret…THEY LOVE IT!! I have clicker trained hundreds of cats during my career. My own personal cats know around a dozen different tricks and commands, and they started learning at the ages of 8 and 9, so never think a cat is too old to learn! If you want to get started with some easy clicker training, email me at and I can get you and your feline started!

The other great options for keeping your kitty from being bored are structured play times and puzzle feeders. Structured play is where you play with your cat with an interactive toy such as a wand toy, for 10-15 minutes everyday, ideally right before a meal time. This becomes a part of your cats’ routine, and cats LOVE routines! It lets them get excess energy out in a healthy way and gives them the satisfaction of working for a meal, keeping them mentally engaged in a meal, rather than boredom eating. There are also a number of great puzzle feeding options, either store bought, or some really great DIY options. (Find great ones here.) These are great tools for engaging your cats’ minds, mimicking their natural hunting practices, keeping meal time exciting, and keeping their bodies moving too!

Give these feline enrichment strategies a whirl and take lots of pictures, we would love to share them on our social media! You can email them to me at or let me know if you have any questions!

Happy 2022 everyone!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season that involved lots of cuddling with some furry friends! The vet team has been very busy getting year-end things wrapped up and getting prepared for 2022. We are looking forward to welcoming in more animals and getting them happy and healthy and ready for their forever homes!

We are excited to announce that we have a new vetting partner – Crossroads Animal Shelter! We will be starting to utilize their facility in Buffalo for spays/neuters, dentals, and other surgeries. They will be a huge asset in getting our foster animals fully vetted and one step closer to adoption. We have been limited in our options for spay/neuter clinics the past two years so we are ecstatic to have another choice to offer for animals needing to be altered.

There will be more details to come but fosters, keep an eye out for Crossroads to be listed as one of the options you can choose for vetting needs. We know that Buffalo is a bit of a drive for many of our fosters so we would like to come up with a plan for a group transport, maybe even as often as once a week. If any of our amazing volunteers drive out to Buffalo regularly or have the time to donate to these transports, please let us know!

Crossroads is offering us some of the best prices out there for wellness services so we are really hoping the drive will not discourage foster parents from choosing to take their animals there. Keep in mind that every dollar we save on vet care is used towards saving another animal in the future.

Speaking of saving money and saving animals, Dakota County Technical College is entering their spring semester in which the students get to learn surgery skills. Animals that go there get altered and all other care they may need FOR FREE and the students get hands-on learning – it’s really a win, win! The animals would be dropped off at the college for 10 days. All general vetting +/- pre-anesthetic work up will happen the first week of the stay and if the patient is scheduled for any surgical or anesthetic procedures, those will happen in the second week. Although this is a great option for spay/neuter, if your foster animal is already altered, they can still go to receive the other care they need. Animals need to be in their foster home for 5+ days before going to the clinic, have to be 12 weeks of age or older and be able to allow handling (i.e., no fearful or reactive animals). Also keep an eye out for DCTC to be listed as an option to choose for your foster animal’s vetting needs!

I hope all our fosters and volunteers are having a wonderful start to 2022 and are staying warm! Thanks to the work of our wonderful staff and all of our dedicated volunteers, Pet Haven was able to find homes for almost 800 animals in 2021 – that is truly astounding. The Board is working with Pet Haven staff to plan for how we can continue to support that number of animals (and more!), while ensuring that we do not become overwhelmed. We will be meeting to discuss goals and priorities for the year. As we continue to grow, it is crucial that we are operating in a consistent and efficient manner with clear goals and work that supports those goals. 

I would also like to introduce everyone to our newest Board member, Janet Watson. Janet and her husband, John, were introduced to Pet Haven when they adopted their dog, Shadow, from us. Janet has years of experience with animal rescue and previously volunteered for English Springer Rescue America (ERSA) as a foster and adoption screener. She also was a dog walker and served on the Board of Crossroads Animal Shelter in Buffalo for 10 years. We are thrilled to welcome Janet to the Pet Haven Board!

Pet Haven featured volunteer of January: Nassim Rossi!

Nassim started volunteering for Pet Haven in February of 2021 as a cat foster. Her first foster cat Assisi put her through the wringer, but finding the perfect home for him was such an addictive experience that she came back for more … and more … and more. She helped 7 cats find their forever home in 2021 and is currently fostering a nursing mom and her 6 babies.

Nassim took on the Cat Group 7 Foster Mentor role in the summer of 2021. She loves getting to know her mentees and their foster cats and has learned so much about cat behavior in this role! She is very fond of this small, engaged community of cat lovers. Making magical connections is a big part of foster mentoring as well as the work of an Adoption Coordinator, which Nassim took on in the fall of 2021. As an Adoption Coordinator, Nassim reviews applications that Pet Haven receives for cats that are ready for their forever home. She communicates with potential adopters and foster parents to help make the best match possible for each cat in Pet Haven’s care. Her favorite part of this role is facilitating love matches for harder to adopt cats. She loves advocating for them!

Nassim also volunteered to help on 2 weekend surrender and wellness clinics at Red Lake and White Earth. She was a Whisker Warrior stepping into wherever she was needed without protest!. From helping with intake to feeding cats and kittens, cleaning crates, and even helping with vaccines at the wellness clinic. Nassim is truly a Rescue Rock Star. We are so lucky to have her in the family!

Outside of Pet Haven volunteering, Nassim runs a small business, advocates for refugees as a board member at the International Institute of Minnesota, parents three pre-teen/teenage girls (!) and desperately awaits the rare moments that cuddling is allowed by her beloved curmudgeon of a resident cat, Lea (pictured).      

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

December Cat Adoptions

Congratulations to the following 52 cats who found their forever homes in December: Fiona, Jingle, Hermey, Emmett, Charles Edward III, Peach, Pear, Marshmallow, Remmy, Bravo, Fancy, Swift, Karl, Anahita, Baby nka Bae, Buffy, Flynn, Osca, Pogo, Scotch, Chai Latte, Pumpkin Spice, Oates fka Sunshine, Midnight, Dotz, Reeses, Gummy Bear, Pumpkin, Louie, Ella, Lady Marmalade, Annabelle, Chucky, Samara, Freddy, Jason, Nala, Tiny, Poppy, Francine, Sprinkle, Radar, Miss Kitty, Milo, Oreo, Pig Pen nka Rex, Monroe, Serena, Venus, Boots nka Artemis, Purrcy nka Oberon, and Furball nka Fuzzball.

2021 Cat Adoption Stats

Kittens: The Rule of Pairs

When it comes to kittens, adopting in pairs is the best thing for them and for you. There are plenty of reasons why this is so important such as co-kitten interaction for healthy social development, companionship, and stimulation. With their seemingly endless energy and curiosity, having each other to learn from, play with, and bond to is truly the healthiest environment for kittens to grow up in. After all, mother nature created litters of kittens for a reason! 

A Note of Caution on Companionship
When considering adopting a kitten for companionship of an older cat at home, it is important to consider the energy level and temperament of both cats to assess their specific needs. If considering adopting a single kitten to encourage an older cat to become more active, unfortunately, this is not often the outcome. Pairing a low-energy adult cat with a boundlessly energetic kitten can end up overwhelming and irritating the older cat, and leave the kitten frustrated that their companion does not share the same interest in play, resulting in two very unhappy kitties. 

Here are our top five reasons to adopt kittens in pairs:

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!

Happy 2022 everyone! 

As we enter a new year, please take a look at our Fosters Needed page on Facebook! We take in dogs from many different places, including: owner surrenders (dogs coming from a private home); local animal controls and animal shelters (dogs who are surrendered or picked up as stray animals and not reclaimed); out of state shelters (pet overpopulation is a huge issue in the Southern US); and upper Midwest reservations (many of these dogs are out in the cold or not able to have regular access to heated indoor areas while they wait for transport to the Twin Cities).

Please check the albums regularly – dogs from the south and from our reservation partners are generally on a timetable to be tagged for rescue. Reservation transports are usually on Saturday and Sunday and dogs are posted between Wednesday and Friday. Dogs from the South need to be tagged around 1-2 weeks before transport so all arrangements can be made. Shelters and animal controls are working against capacity issues and many of our partners are getting full. Owner surrenders often give us a date that they can keep their dog until. Our intake partners have come to rely on Pet Haven for our strong track record of helping with animals in need.

If you have any questions at all about how we bring in dogs, please feel free to reach out to any of our intake coordinators! They can tell you about the partners we work with and what kinds of dogs you are likely to see. If there is a specific kind of dog you are looking for, ping your foster mentor! They can help and keep an eye out for a dog coming in. 

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

Pints & Pups Adoption Meet and Greet

​​FOSTERS WE NEED YOUR PUPS! (and you!) Meet your foster pup to  Omni Brewing Company with the possible chance for a perfect match with an adopter! Or set up an adoption meet and greet! Pet Haven adoptable pups will be all wags and wiggles at our first dog adoption meet and greet event of the year. Bring your adoptable pups, enjoy a local craft beer, and maybe even watch someone  fall in love with your foster pup!

Nail Trim Clinic

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 Pinic – September (Date TBD) in St. Paul, MN

***Just a reminder to keep pets safe from the cold***

Tip #1 – Pads on dogs feet can freeze and get frost burns. Limit time outside on really cold days or put booties on! Salt is also a killer on those sweet soft pads.

Tip #2 – Check cars for cats that may have crawled up on warm engines by banging on hoods before starting engines!