Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (May 2021)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (May 2021)


We are still in search of a new Dog Division Manager! We are 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 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, 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: 20 hours a month 

View position description here: Dog Division Manager

If you are interested in the Dog Division Manager position, please email

Dog Foster Coordinator – We are looking for an additional Foster Coordinator. This person organizes the volunteers applying to be dog fosters and works with the Welcome Visit volunteers to get them trained and onboarded. View the position description here: Dog Foster Coordinator. If you are interested, please email



Spring has sprung and with it a lot of activity around Pet Haven! We have been working hard and focusing locally to help with the increased need of pets and people in Minnesota. We have had record intake numbers in Q1, because of you and your commitment to open your hearts and home to pets in crisis. So far, 345 pets have found foster care this year, which is 104 more than last year. And 275 pets have been adopted in Q1, which is 75 more than last year. I’d say we have lots to feel good about!

We co-hosted a pet surrender event with Leech Lake Legacy on the White Earth reservation in the Naytahwaush Community Sports Complex. What a beautiful part of Minnesota. The community was incredibly welcoming and appreciative that we were able to partner with them in providing safe alternative options for pets and people that needed help. 

White Earth reservation and the community of Naytahwaush, like many reservations, does not have access to any veterinary care, nor are there pet supply stores. The nearest vet to this community is 1.5 hours away and many people do not have transportation or even the resources to pay for care, even if they could get there. It’s easy to say if you can’t afford the care for a pet then you shouldn’t have one, but I think that is short sighted. Many community members we met at this event were caring for several strays that showed up on their property. They were doing the best they could and truly loved these animals. They were incredibly grateful to have the animals accepted into Pet Haven where we could provide a safe, loving option for the betterment of the animals. 

We also brought up two truck loads of pet food for the community that was donated by pet supply stores and the Animal Humane Society. With the help of a generous donor and our Board Member Katie Cartledge, who is a veterinarian and helped us secure vaccinations, we were able to give out 150 vaccinations to the elder cats and dogs in the community. It was a long 3 days with 12 wonderful volunteers working 10+ hour days to build relationships and save lives.

What could be better work worth doing than that? 

We bridged new friendships and opened a door to a community partnership. This partnership will have lasting ripple effects improving the lives of pets and people. I am so grateful to all of you who make this work possible! 



Are we really 5 months into 2021? With all the activity happening I suppose it’s not a surprise that the year seems to be flying by! Having just returned from the White Earth Reservation’s surrender event, I was (as always) amazed by the sheer stamina and compassion Pet Haven volunteers provided to the 50+ cats and dogs who took their first step towards landing in a safe, permanent home. Big thanks to Erin Cook and Tierney Winter for helping to support the Cat Owner Surrender team by sending the so-important “intake email”. And with COVID opening our lives up, we expect there to be a lot of travel in people’s futures, so we’re working to create a seamless process for fosters to use to request temporary respite care for their foster dogs and cats!



Things have been rockin’ and rollin’ in the animal care world with an unprecedented amount of litters of kittens and large transports! HUGE shout out to our vet team volunteers – Karynn, Melanie, Karen, Amy, Chloe, and Erin! Savannah and I could NOT do this without you!

It’s also been a whirlwind at home with new, crazy-pants foster, Ducky! If someone asked me what’s one word of advice I’d give to fosters, it would be: patience.

I’d like to share a day in the life with Ducky.

His first week in foster care has been all about decompression so he has been isolated in his own room after a very stressful surrender event.

DID YOU KNOW: It can take 72 hours for an animal’s cortisol (stress) levels to return to normal?

  1. Wake up in the morning and let the resident dogs and other foster, Letty, outside. 
  2. Get everyone back inside and give pills and breakfast.
  3. Head over to Ducky’s room and clean up all the pee spots (marking), while he calms down.
  4. Once Ducky is calm, give him pets – because Ducky has overstimulation/aggression issues, it is super important to teach him to be calm.
  5. Leash Ducky and carry him outside so he does not have contact with resident dogs.
  6. Let Ducky roam on the leash in the fenced in yard – we have been working on not pulling.
    1. I’m keeping him in the yard for a few reasons: to not spread any parasites he may have around the neighborhood, to get him used to our area, and to ensure he does not escape, especially since he is not microchipped yet. Once we start walking, we will take short loops around the block so he understands where his “home” is. This is especially wise to do in the event he runs as he will be more likely to come back to a familiar place. I will be advising his adopters to do the same.
  7. Pick up all poop immediately to ensure no parasites are spread to my dogs.
  8. Pick Ducky up and carry him back to his room where he is fed.
  9. Spend some time with Ducky in his room giving him attention and playing.
  10. Allow him to whine it out after I leave – this may be one of the hardest things but it is necessary for him to calm down in his room and know I will come back (just not when he demands it).

I go in to see Ducky and let him out several times throughout the day. Up next, I will be doing slow intros to the resident dogs through a baby gate as well as working on “place” which he desperately needs in order to learn how to relax!

And to throw another wrench in things, we thought Ducky was going to be neutered ASAP in the hopes it would curb some of his overstimulation/aggression issues. However, the vet clinic found a heart murmur and he was not having any more of their prodding, so we had to reschedule for another week out. This means continuing to dodge getting humped and peed on! 😀

Send us all the good vibes while we practice patience, patience, patience! 

PSA: If you are going through it with your foster, just know you are not alone! You have a community of support!


Please make sure you update your vet team contact information as follows for emergencies:

The account is monitored Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. You will receive a response within 24-48 business hours.

If you have an urgent need outside of office hours or if you need immediate authorization and do not get an email response in the time needed, please text or call the numbers below:

  • Primary: Savannah Johnston, Vet Care Manager: 763-258-6502
  • Secondary: Ashley Marks, Animal Care Director: 507-828-6927
  • Third: Kerry D’Amato, Executive Director: 651-492-4799



Post-Surgical Care Reminders!

I wanted to take a minute for a quick refresher on post-surgical care for our fosters that will care for an animal after a surgery – most commonly a spay or a neuter. We’ve seen an increase in post-op complications that are scary for fosters and expensive to correct. An emergency vet visit is on average $250 and goes up dramatically with additional care. The two week period of healing after a MAJOR surgery is EXTREMELY CRITICAL and I want everyone to know that the vet team is here to support you with any questions or concerns as you help your fosters heal. 

I have put together a list of instructions to follow when caring for an animal post-op. Keep in mind that these instructions must be followed precisely for every single animal – it is not a recommendation or a guide but is mandatory. We do not want you to feel confused or lost during this period so we have laid out everything that you will want to keep in mind.

Below is a summary of instructions – there are more details as well as a list of ideas to help keep dogs busy at this link: Post-surgical Care Reminders

Wear a plastic cone collar (otherwise known as e-collar/lampshade/party hat etc): Many incision complications arise from licking at the incision. Even if you think you are watching the animal closely, all it takes is one lick when you are distracted to infect/open up the sutures that are holding an incision together. The last thing we want fosters to have to witness is the opening of an abdomen.

 Keep activity restricted for 10-14 days. This means:

  • No playing or running around and no jumping on couches or beds.
    • Cannot play with other dogs/cats who will get surgical patient excited or rambunctious. Other animals can get to the incision and disrupt sutures, introduce bacteria and lick. Keep an eye on any other animal in the house and separate when not supervised.
  •  No exercise without being on a leash. Example: Cannot run loose in backyard or take potty breaks without being on a leash.
    • Short leash walks only.

Monitor incision site. Watch for:

  • Excessive redness
  • Discharge – anything coming out of incision that might resemble pus, blood or other fluid.
  • Swelling
  • Heat – if area is hot to the touch, this indicates infection.
  • Sutures 

Give medications as directed. You will likely be sent home with pain medications to give to help the animals feel comfortable and to help them heal. If at any point you are struggling to give the medications, please ask for advice and the vet team will give you pointers or request a different form of the medication to make it easier. Also, let us know if you feel like the medications are not doing their job and if your foster animal seems to still be in pain.

Monitor behavior in general. Post-op complications can and do happen within the first 24-48 hours. Keep a VERY close eye on your foster animal and if at ANY time you feel like something might be off, never hesitate to reach out to the vet team. No question is wrong to ask and we appreciate any and all feedback you can offer. Pictures are always helpful and can expedite an evaluation.

Remember: you are the advocate for these animals. It is up to us to work together as a team to make sure they heal correctly and get one step closer to their forever homes! We are here to help and support you!!!



Please join me in welcoming Monika McDole-Russell to the Pet Haven Board! Monika joined the Board in April. Monika has been a passionate supporter of animal advocacy and ending pet overpopulation since she was a teenager; her ultimate dream is to see the end of pet overpopulation and animal testing in her lifetime. Upon moving to Minnesota three years ago, she was excited to discover Pet Haven and is thrilled to now be a member of the Board. Monika works as a Senior Manager for a medical device company here in the Twin Cities, and she and husband are pet parents to three gorgeous cats – Remy, d’Artagnan, and Tissot.

The Board is currently working with Kerry to recruit candidates for our two full-time staff positions. If you know anyone who would be a great fit to join our organization, please direct them to the postings on the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits website. Interested applicants should send cover letters and resumes to and

The Board’s annual meeting, during which we elect officer positions for the next year, will take place on June 13th. 



Pet Haven featured volunteer of the month: Meet Lauren!

Lauren started with Pet Haven after adopting her cat Oscar through the rescue in October 2018. She started volunteering the month after as Cat Respite Coordinator (trying to find homes for foster cats while their fosters were out of town and reserving kitty condos) and Cat Meet and Greet Coordinator (sending out emails for adoption events). By December 2018 she invited her first foster dog into her home and has since fostered 16 dogs and 3 cats. 

Currently, Lauren works as Volunteer Coordinator (leading the Foster Friends program, recruiting volunteers, and setting up volunteer appreciation events), Events Coordinator (helping with special events) and regularly writing animal biographies for foster animals. When not volunteering, you will find her taking long walks or cross country skiing with her “foster fail” pitbull-dalmatian mix Klaus, hitting the gym first thing in the morning, enjoying some kitty snuggles or devouring a good book.

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



Congratulations to the following 38 cats who found their forever homes in April: Baby, Queen Barb, Queen Poppy, Warren, Socks, Buddy, Brute, Chase, Pampers, Leonard, Ernie, Bert, CC, Michael, Fren, Stubby, Assisi, Dobby, Amber, Mia, Alex, Saffron, Gorgeous George, Daphne, Simon, Christmas, Dottie, Noodles, Lucifurr, Buster, Tommie, Jazz, Cream, Milo, Kitty, Sophia, Smokey Joe, and Storm.

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 trails and happy tails to all the dogs who found their forever home in April: Penny nka Macy, Bella, Cash, Paige, Walton, Gigi, Bailey, Max, and Nativity.

We have a new in-home respite coordinator! Please welcome Greta Nelson who has generously stepped up to take this role. We are so grateful for Karen Niznik who continues to be our daycare and boarding respite coordinator. Thank you to Bonnie Harris and Tricia Ludens who have been successfully taking care of all the in-home respite needs of the Dog Division! 

We now have a respite form that you can use to request a respite foster, which is available here (respite form) and can also be found on page 26 of the dog foster manual. Bookmark the link so it’s handy! Fill out the form and Greta, our in-home respite coordinator, will follow up with any questions she may have and then post your foster to the short-term foster Facebook page. Easy as that! If at all possible, we need at least 4 weeks notice that you will need respite for your foster dog. 

Remember, your foster mentor is your first contact with any questions or concerns you may have about your foster dog or the fostering process, including the adoption process. However crazy or unusual your challenge, your foster mentor has been at this so long, they’ve probably already been through what you’re experiencing. If they can’t help you, they know who to contact and can connect you with the person or resource you need. Who ya gonna call? Foster Mentors!

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

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.

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.

Royal Pet is a partner of ours and this is a great opportunity to see their 70,000 sq foot pet supplies operation and support Pet Haven. We will have kittens on site, games like guessing the age, boy or girl, and information on caring for kittens and how to support reduction in unwanted litters. Hope to see you there!

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 Jackie Schmiedlin and Jenny Jurek for helping organize the White Earth Event and to Jim and Annette Agner for all the shopping and gathering of supplies you both did in order to help this event be seamless. Thank you Savannah Johnston for all the vetting care you provided at the event and in the community. Thank you Kate Mudge, Nassim Rossi, Tammy Omundson, Shannon Murphy, Misha Smith and Lisa Mair (Misha’s rock star mom) for the tireless work you all did to make sure all the pets were cared for! Thank you for ALL you do!”

“Paws up to cat foster mentor Lynn Skauge. Lynn currently has 27 active fosters that she mentors, which is outstanding! I’ve also noticed her frequently tagging fosters on Facebook and suggesting specific cats for them that she thinks might be a good fit. Her level of care and dedication to keeping her fosters active and engaged goes above and beyond. Thank you, Lynn for everything that you do!”

“I could probably give a Paws up to Taylor Witort every month for how awesome she is. Not only is she an exceptional writer and always knows what to say, but she also has a keen sense of intuition when it comes to foster applicants and helping fosters find their perfect match. Thank you, Taylor for everything that you do!”

“Paws up to Tera Arnold for stepping in to fill her car with donations from Petco Richfield, and even offering a second trip if needed.”

“Paws up to Katie Hey and Tracy Berg for their patience and understanding and for advocating for owner surrender pups in need.”

“Paws up to Sara Dietrich for her amazing work with shy/fearful pups. Dennis (aka Bandit) has been in her care for 14 months and now has promising applications because of her patience and dedication in teaching him “how to dog” and trust humans.”

“Paws up to Tish Cavalier and Sue Simons. They source items PH can use on Craig’s list and other ‘free’ sites. Tish recently found a large cat tower and delivered it to the shed and then loaded it again to take to a foster’s home when it wouldn’t fit in her car. Both have lugged loads of cat litter from Downtown Dogs to the shed, volunteer at the shed to organize and help fosters find items they need, and Tish has held Pop-Up events. Behind the scene women who are ‘on call’ to make life run more smoothly for Pet Haven.”

“Paws up to Annette Agner! Along with all of her other supplies and coordinator duties, Annette also mails out the preventatives. Thanks Annette for all you do!”

“Paws up to Maureen Michels! She’s been walking my fosters for months! She’s so helpful and kind. She’s been really great about helping me socialize Bandit!”

“Paws up to Sue Simmons, an unsung hero! She has a heart of gold and works tirelessly in the background finding donated kennels, buys cases of canned cat food from her own funds, shows up to help Tish with Pop Ups, finds pee pads and pee pad alternatives from multiple sources when we’re out, and brings down litter using her red wagon to transport while at Downtown Dogs. The list is endless!!!! If Supplies needs something, Sue will give it her all to find and procure it!  She is a caring and giving angel who continually has an eye on what we need and how she can help.”

Peter Moore is a wonderful Supplies Volunteer! He regularly signs up for Open Shed and just digs in!  He has done several litter runs from Downtown Dogs on next to no notice!  Once – he did the run twice in the same week! Peter works efficiently and effectively – he is a much appreciated contributor to the success of the Supply Team!”

“Paws up to Tony Austinson who can be found almost anywhere that there is a need. He has photographed dogs, driven transports, met so many fosters needing help outside of open hours, and has made numerous pickups of private donations. The list goes on and on! He is always upbeat and frequently jumps in to help wherever he is needed most. He always has such an upbeat attitude and is a joy to work with!”

Tish Cavalier is amazing! She heads up to the shed outside of open hours and works on organizing the cat shed! She has independently initiated a couple of Pop Up Sheds each month, frequently volunteers for Open Shed shifts, and always steps up and gives so much of her time and energy to helping the Supplies Team! She also donated a whopping $120 in Target gift cards that she had been saving. They have been helpful in filling in gaps in cat food, dog treats and supplies! Her selfless efforts to support Supplies, Pet Haven and the animals that we serve are off the charts!”

“Paws up to Geri Brief! Geri is part of the cat owner surrender team and has really stepped up to help support the fosters who take in cats that have been surrendered. There are a lot of steps to the process and Geri is always game to learn new things to keep the kitties safe and in loving homes.”

“Paws up to Beth Running Alexander! Beth visited an owner surrender pup, Coco, within 24 hours of starting a conversation about her. Beth expedited her entry into Pet Haven by days if not weeks.”

The Paws Up winner of the $20 Amazon Gift Card is Tish Cavalier!

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



Tip #1 – Did you know that Pet Haven has one free daycare spot at Lucky Dog Bloomington and one free daycare spot at Downtown Dogs each day? If you are interested in reserving the spot email

Tip #2 – How you can help more people find Pet Haven? Google is a tool that everyone uses to find stuff and Pet Haven relies on Google for people to find us. YOU can help more people find us by submitting a Google Review for us on our google business page. You can also help more people find us by engaging our SEO (search engine optimization). How to do this? Just google keywords like, dog adoption, cat adoption, kittens for sale, humane society, dog rescue, cat rescue, animal welfare, animal Rescue, where to adopt a cat/dog near me…..etc and scroll till you find PET HAVEN and click, click, click away. This will help us become more visible by google and the people using it. It’s a good project when you are bored at work!

Tip #3 – Keeping Pets safe as warm weather is upon us is super important. We all love to have windows and doors open to let in fresh air. We may think that a screen door, window or patio is safe to keep pets contained in however this can be very dangerous thinking for our foster pets. 

In the last two years we have had 5 cats push through screens that fosters thought were secured. Cats can fit themselves through very tiny spaces, as small as three inches, and are stronger than we think too able to push out screens, whether on purpose or just accidentally. Fortunately 4 were found. Unfortunately, one has not been. 

For dogs, screened in porches and doors are not barriers to keeping them inside. They can easily push through them, especially our stronger larger dogs. Baby gates are a good way to add a structure to stop a pup from pushing through a screen door, but dogs should be watched at all times if on a screened in porch. We suggest also wearing a harness with a leash so if accidental escape happens you have something to grab onto. 

These precautions are always important but especially so when your foster pet is new. While we know we love them and they are part of the family, we are still strangers to them. Please keep your foster dogs and cats safe.