Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (June 2021)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (June 2021)

Seeking cat foster mentors! 

Top traits of the greats:

  • A caring heart – Your love for animals knows no bounds. You know that patience and compassion go hand and hand when it comes to both cat fosters who care for them.
  • Proactive communicator – You aren’t afraid to pick up the phone, send an email or shoot a text just to check in on your mentors. You are both the listening ear and the sounding board throughout the fostering process for your mentees.
  • Collaborative relationship builder – You enjoy being able to be part of the team and ensuring those around you feel that camaraderie and sense of belonging. You work to build partnerships with your mentees.
  • A bit nerdy – Could you talk about cats all day? Have an interest in learning more about triaging cat behavior problems? Or if you are ready to curate tips, tricks and suggestions to create your own resources . . . your eager to learn spirit is welcomed and encouraged.

Interested? Send an email to Misha at with why you are interested and how you would make the role your own.

Seeking a dog division manager!

The Dog Division Manager leads the Dog Division, supervises the Foster Mentors, and is assisted by key Dog Division volunteers assigned responsibility for the various operational functions of Pet Haven’s Dog Division.

Estimated time commitment: 10 hours per week

Hello Heat! Summer is here. School is out, covid restrictions are being lifted and people are starting to feel like things are getting back to the way things used to be. Thank you to all of you who have given your time and resources to support Pet Haven and the lives we serve. You made it easier to weather this pandemic.

 Here at Pet Haven, I am feeling optimistic that we may have turned a corner in the pandemic crisis, however, I still believe acting cautiously is the smart way to go about things. 

What do lifted Covid restrictions look like for our organization?

  • Mask Mandate is lifted – when doing meet and greets, adoptions, or any upcoming events if you are not fully vaccinated please wear a mask. If you are fully vaccinated, still be respectful of those around you and ask if they would like you to wear a mask. If you are attending an event in a business that requires mask-wearing, please do so.
  • Shelters are open for “Grab and Go” adoptions – what does this mean for Pet Haven? Potential adopters have several options now so offering excellent customer service is more important than ever. Our “match-making” skills, personalized customer service, and care of our pets including microchipping are what sets Pet Haven apart from the other organizations. Fosters and Adoption Coordinators are key to our successful adoption rates. TIMELY COMMUNICATION is so important to engaging potential quality adopters and keeping them in the family. Even if you do not have time to send a long email or a call, just a quick acknowledgment can be very powerful. Now that more options are available we need to rise above the pack and shine even more!
  • In-person events are starting to happen. Judge your own comfort level. Take care of yourself and your family. You know what is best for you. If there is an in-person event that your foster pet needs to be at and you are not comfortable with it, we will try to help with transport. Please just give us decent notice.

Exciting News!

I have identified a strong possibility for a physical location for Pet Haven. I am very excited about this prospect! Having a physical location will facilitate a stronger sense of community, streamline vetting and animal flow, create a safe space for transports, meet and greets volunteer training, engagement with the community, and temperature-controlled storage! 

Cross your fingers for us!

May was a very busy intake month. 84 pets in need found safe harbor with our foster families. We helped to create families with 45 adoptions last month. I hope to see adoptions rise back up as we move into summer. Remember our Match-Making and customer service sets us apart!

We had the honor to sponsor and participate in two Reservation surrender and wellness events. One on White Earth and one on Red Lake. These events are incredibly powerful and positively impact the community. We build lasting relationships and the ripple effects are long-lasting. Thank you so much to those of you that attended these events in May and foster Reservation Pets. You are deeply appreciated!

A big wide hug of gratitude to all of you for riding the Covid wave with us. Pet Haven would not be the incredible organization it is today without all of you. I am truly grateful and honored to share this work with you. Looking forward to the months ahead!

It’s been a busy month in operations! Kate Mudge will still be helping guide and support us with her expertise in operations, but will be reclaiming her seat on the Pet Haven Board. Thank you Kate for all your support!

We are narrowing down our search for a new Operations Director and hope to be announced soon!

There have been some big changes going on within the Cat Division that I want to share with everyone.

Julie Urban has decided to transition from her position. She has been our Cat Division Manager for the last 2 years and has done an incredible job leading this division through a tremendous amount of growth. Our Cat Division has tripled in size during her time and the relationships she has made have strengthened the organization greatly. Julie has decided it’s now time to pass the torch, but she is not leaving us. As sad as I am to see Julie leave this position, I am excited for the new changes. 

Welcome Misha Smith to Cat Division Manager! 

Misha was our Cat Foster Coordinator and did an amazing job improving processes and streamlining the department. Her passion and advocacy for felines is truly inspiring. Misha’s  ability to identify pain points and improve processes will really help support the growth we have seen in the department over the past two years and lead us into the next phase. I am excited for the new chapter in the Cat Division!

We have created a new position for Julie as Queen/Kitten Program Manager! With Julie’s expertise in caring for pregnant moms and raising litters of kittens, it made perfect sense to have her support fosters with kittens and moms while working with the Animal Care Team to ensure we are doing all we can to keep our little families healthy!

We have created Feline Foster Group 10! 

This group will be supported by Julie Urban and is for Mentors and fosters with kittens and moms! Go Julie!

Christi MacMahone will be leaving the mentor position due to family and work commitments and Elysia Wells is on a two month break and will be back in August. Their foster groups have been reassigned.

Dog Division is experiencing growth and changes too! We are still in need of a Dog Division Manager and a Training Coordinator. With the new staffing at Pet Haven, we will be able to more effectively support the person who takes on these positions. We hope there is someone out there that is interested in working with pups and our fosters in these exciting and much needed volunteer roles!

Thank you to everyone for your patience and support while we grow!

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

As I have been getting my own fosters ready to go up for adoption on Petfinder, I have been thinking about the best ways to showcase them.

A small picture is the first thing an adopter sees on Petfinder, followed by the remaining pictures at the top, and THEN the written bio.

Clarity, brightness, focus, and a front facing photo is what really captures attention in those first few seconds and leads someone to want to read more.  

On the left is my foster, Ducky, and in the middle is another dog named Ducky. Although Pit Bull Ducky has a front facing photo, there is still a lot of background noise. If the photo was cropped (example on the right), it would bring attention to his wonderful, smiling face!

DID YOU KNOW: Petfinder allows up to 6 photos OR 5 photos and 1 video. (Pro Tip: Profiles with videos get more views!) Using all of those spots to highlight your foster’s personality can go a long way in showcasing them. 

Below are the photos I chose for Ducky’s Petfinder and the “why” behind it. 

  1. His main photo is a front facing, close-up that was cropped from a full body shot.
  2. Running with a toy in his mouth because he loves playing fetch.
  3. Cuddled under a blanket is his favorite place to be.
  4. Flopped over for belly rubs showcasing how dang cute he is.
  5. A full body shot with his ‘Land Before Time’ friends.

Photos are our “first impression” – let’s show off how amazingly cute and pawsome our foster animals are!

Hooray, it’s finally summer! I know we have a lot of pups excited about the beautiful weather and all the fun there is to be had outside.

As we all know, nice weather brings some not-so-nice bugs and creepy crawlies. The vet team wants to remind you to give your foster pups their monthly heartworm and flea and tick prevention! We recommend this year-round but especially when the weather gets warm. These medications are the things that come to your house in the mail once a month from our wonderful supplies volunteers!

Heartgard is the chewable tablet that prevents Heartworm disease which is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Heartworm can be fatal. If caught in time, it is expensive and taxing on the dog to treat. It’s super easy to prevent and most dogs even enjoy the chewable treat! There will be instructions for this, which come in the package! 

Frontline is the topical treatment that you apply at the base of the dog’s neck that prevents tick-borne diseases. This is applied monthly and is super important even for dogs that do not always go in long grass or highly wooded areas. Even though you are using Frontline, always check your pups for ticks after going outside. There are also instructions for how to apply this medication in the package that comes to your house!

Thank you for taking such good care of Pet Haven’s dogs and always reach out to the vet team with questions!

This month the Board is saying good-bye to two long-tenured members. Both Jenny Jurek and Will Mayer have met our 9-year term limit and must “retire” from the Board. Please join me in thanking them both for their long-standing leadership and dedication to Pet Haven. Jenny will continue on in an “ex officio” capacity, which means she will attend board meetings as a non-voting member. She has also graciously agreed to continue as Secretary for another year. 

Speaking of officer positions, the Board will elect officers for the next year at our meeting on June 13th. In addition to Jenny running for Secretary, the other current Officers have also agreed to continue in their current positions. Kate Mudge, fresh off her stint as interim Operations Director, will rejoin the Board and serve as Vice President. Jack Novak will continue as Treasurer and I will continue as President (that’s assuming we all get the votes! :)). 

In other Board news, members of the Board have been involved with interviewing candidates for the Operations Manager and Programs Manager roles. Along with Kerry, we’ve also been continuing our search for a physical location. 

Finally, our third annual calendar photo contest will be kicking off after July 4th, so now’s the time to grab your phone or camera and capture a fantastic photo of your pet. We will have some new and exciting prizes this year. A huge thank you to Lucinda Winter for her leadership in planning the calendar contest for the third year!  As always, if you have questions or concerns or just want to chat, please reach out to us at

Pet Haven featured volunteer of the month: Meet Amanda!

Amanda started fostering with Pet Haven 3 1/2 years ago and it has been a passion for her ever since.  It all started with her fostering a sweet pup named Mille, who had severe allergies and needed allergy injections, and 2 little fluff ball kittens named Freddy and Finley. Since then she has fostered well over 300 animals in need from Kentucky, Texas, Arizona, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. Amanda can’t resist a cute hound dog or a medical needs case. She and her daughter love fostering expectant mama cats. It’s very special to watch kittens be born, grow up, and then go off to their forever homes. The “crazy cat lady” is a perfect fit for Amanda as she is currently fostering 3 mama cats and 13 kittens. Is there a thing as too many kittens? She thinks not! Nothing is better than laying in a room and being covered in purring kittens. 

Amanda works as a Microbiologist which helps with the medical side of fostering. While most people are grossed out by parasites and worms, she thinks they’re fascinating and has used an occasional worm as a science teaching moment for her 3 kids. Fostering for Pet Haven has been an absolutely wonderful experience for Amanda. The support given to fosters and the people involved in Pet Haven is inspiring in their dedication to rescue and working as a team to make it all happen. While Amanda leads a busy life between work, kids, and fostering, she knows she has the support she needs from Pet Haven, her family, and friends. The quote “It takes a village….” is not an understatement! In her free time you will find Amanda at the gym, walking her dogs, Sam and Jupiter, outside in the summer doing anything to just be outdoors, and having funny conversations with her kids (Caythen 14, Ana 12, and Gray 9).

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

Hello! My name is Misha and I’ve recently taken over the volunteer position of Cat Division Manager. I couldn’t be more excited to take on this role and look forward to working more closely with all of our amazing fosters and volunteers! The cat division continues to grow and with it, our team of outstanding mentors. We are currently in search of additional cat foster mentors. If you are interested in hearing more about the role, please don’t hesitate to reach out

Congratulations to the following 27 cats who found their forever homes in May: EZ, Gertrude, Eclipse, Apollo, Lil Al, Jake, Pearl, Ace, Sampson, Kozmo, Periwinkle, Carl, Mimi, Olivia, Jarrid, Quigley, Sebastian, Luna, Eliana nka Nala, Tate, Joe, Apple, Missy, Tinkerbell, Eloise, Hadley, and Edgar.

Mentor Magic
As a foster, you have a large network of people dedicated to supporting you throughout the entire fostering process. Your first point of contact for all-things fostering (including adoption), is your foster mentor. Our mentors are experienced, walking bodies of knowledge that have been through all kinds of situations and circumstances around cat care. If they don’t have the answer, they’ll get you the person who does! 

Kitty, it’s Hot Outside
Summer may not be “officially” here, but you’d sure think it is with how hot it has been! While kitty is safe indoors, she can still get warm this time of year. Here are some fun tips and ideas to keep your cats cool this summer!

  • Ice Treats | Freeze some tuna brine or low-sodium chicken stock in an ice cube tray for a cool treat that will keep them entertained and cool. 
  • Cooling Mats and Ice Packs in Snuggle Spots | Place a cooling mat or ice pack wrapped in a blanket or towel in your cat’s favorite spot for a cool and refreshing nap.
  • Groom, Groom, Groom | Staying on top of grooming is a great way to keep excess fur from trapping in heat! FUN FACT: When cats groom themselves, saliva evaporates off of the fur, cooling them down. 

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 tails & happy trails to all the dogs adopted in May! Franco, Jax nka Logan, Rubble nka Rubadub, Blaze, Bella, Bailey, Sandra D, Grizzly, Yeti, Odie, June, Seamus, Cooper, Kaia, George, Maggie, Dennis aka Bandit nka Eli and Kevin.

Whoa! It’s already a sizzling hot summer! Many of us may be looking forward to some time on the water or lying on the beach or just time away. The Fourth of July is coming up in less than 4 weeks. If you’re planning a get-away, it’s essential that you let respite know as soon as possible that you’ll need a temporary foster for your foster dog – a minimum of 3-4 weeks is ideal. Keep that in mind especially if you’re planning to travel for the fourth. It’s easy to request a respite foster! Just fill out the form at this link, Within 24-48 hours, our in-home respite coordinator, Greta Nelson, will post your request on the short term fosters needed page on Facebook. 

Are you available to respite foster a dog? Comment on the dog’s post that matches your home and lifestyle and tag your foster mentor. Once approved, Greta will connect you with the dog’s foster to set up a transfer. 

Communication is an essential part of fostering! Fosters need vetting, supplies, flea & tick preventatives, sometimes behavioral support, as well as a smooth sail through the adoption process. In addition, foster mentors are asked to check in with their fosters on a regular basis so they know that everything is going well and to anticipate any challenges. What does that mean for you? We ask that you respond to any communication within 24-48 hours. This guideline means that all the people on the Pet Haven team who are concerned about the welfare of your foster dog can do what they need to do to make sure that your foster dog is happy, healthy, and ready to be adopted into a forever family. That goes the other way as well. If you reach out to your foster mentor, vetting, supplies, etc you can expect a response within 24-48 hours as well. Please remember this important piece of fostering! 

Thank you so much to everyone who fosters and the village of people who we rely on to take our foster dogs from intake through adoption. Each and everyone of you are miracle workers!

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

Sunday, June 13 from 10 – 11 a.m., St. Louis Park

Saturday, June 19 from 10 – 11 a.m., St. Louis Park

Sunday, June 20 from 1 – 2 p.m., St. Louis Park

Wednesday, June 23 from 6 – 7 p.m., St. Louis Park

Sunday, June 27 from 10 – 11 a.m., St. Louis Park

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.

Nail Trims

Sunday, July 11 from 12 – 2 p.m., Chuck & Don’s Plymouth

Baseball and Dogs!

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 the Iowa Cubs!

Walks for Wags with Royal Pet 

Join Pet Haven and Royal Pet for a community walk in support of rescued pets at Pet Haven. Royal Pet is asking that you pledge $1 a mile and ask friends and family to sponsor you. Donations will go to support Pet Haven’s Emergency Medical Fund.

We will start our walk at Royal Pet, Minnesota’s largest pet supply company, and walk to Spiral Brewery and back to Royal Pet. At Spiral Brewery you can enjoy local craft beers and food and feel good about it! A portion of the proceeds will go to support Pet Haven. Then we will walk back to Royal Pet for a raffle!

Kitten Shower – Supplies Drive

Kitten Season is in full swing! Kitten and Mom and Baby food is one of our largest expenses. While our partner retailers donate lots to us we rarely get donations for Kitten, Mom and Baby food and we NEED IT! Consider hosting a Kitten Shower Supplies drive or encouraging your network to attend one of the events below! To support our Kitten and Mom needs you can check out our Amazon Wish List here.

Looking for an easy way to support Pet Haven? 

Become a Target Circle Member and vote for Pet Haven! 

We are honored and excited to announce that Pet Haven has been chosen to participate in a special charitable giving campaign, sponsored and funded by Target. Now through June 30th, if you vote for Pet Haven through the Target Circle you get to help determine how Target’s donations will be divided up.

You must designate the zip code we are being featured in. Target donates funds to Pet Haven based on our votes. View more details here. 

“Paws up to Neha Bressers! Neha is fostering her first litter of kittens with Pet Haven and she is outstanding! Huge paws up to Neha for taking on the task and responsibility of caring for mom before she gave birth and now ensuring the kittens are happy, healthy, and growing for the next eight weeks. Thank you for opening your home and heart to this group!”

The Paws Up winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Card is Neha Bressers!

Have you noticed someone doing something that deserves a Paws Up? Submit your nomination to

Water Water Everywhere and not a spot to drink!

When taking your pups for a walk during this time of year please keep them away from drinking any standing water or pond water. These can be dangerous sources of water and full of parasites that can cause internal damage and illness. When out on a walk consider bringing along some water and a collapsible dog water bowl.Your pup will thank you!  

Keep Your Foster Cat Safe and Secure

As the weather changes you may want to open your windows and get some fresh air in. If you have a foster cat, especially a new one, please be mindful that cats can easily push screens out and squeeze through very small spaces and get away. This is not something any of us want to have to go through.Please practice safety.