Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (September 2021)

Pet Haven’s Pawgress Report (September 2021)

Cat Owner Surrender/ Return Coordinators

The OS/Return 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 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

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!

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. Please contact Kerry D’Amato at if you are interested in helping.

Summer has suddenly darted behind the corner and fall is stepping into view. I cannot believe how quickly time is going and that fall is upon us. Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. I love the changing cool, crispness of the air, the feeling of things changing, and the preparation for what will come.

When working in the field of animal rescue and welfare, you often have your running shoes on. You need to be nimble, accept change gracefully, problem solve, manage crises with steadfast clarity, and most of all stay open and compassionate to all beings.This is not an easy job and we are often pushed to places we are not sure we can manage, sometimes the loss of a foster pet is so deep we question if we can keep going. But sometimes watching the transformation of a shutdown pup or cat blossom and become trustworthy enough to find a forever home can fill our hearts so much that it’s magical. As challenging as this work can be, we continue to work in this field because it fulfills the soul. 

The Pet Haven Team, Ashley, Anna, and Savannah, definitely have their running shoes on and are working diligently to move our organization forward. They work hard to  improve protocols, streamline operational standards, and raise the quality of our animal care. Pet Haven is growing and getting more visibility in the community. Our professionalism is being noticed, our commitment to our community and its pets are incredibly strong. I am so proud of what we have accomplished and you all are so important to our success.

76 sweet souls arrived into Pet Haven’s loving arms in August. 48 of these pets in need were 3 months old and under. 31 kittens and 17 puppies. We have seen an explosion of kittens and puppies this year as a result of the spay/neuter hold due to covid and possible PPE shortage. There are many more that need our help. Our Reservation partners are overrun with puppies, kittens, and pregnant moms. There is little to no recourse for spay/neuter. If you have thought about moving into puppy or kitten fostering now is the time. If you know of anyone interested please direct them our way!

Relationships with people are so important in our lives and I believe the rescue community needs strong working relationships and partnerships more than ever. When we have support from those around us, we can do more, and when we’re alone we can become spread too thin. I have been working hard on creating strong partnerships and positive relationships. Mission Animal Hospital is one of these. Dr Susan Miller and I have been working on several opportunities for Mission and Pet Haven to partner. This has resulted in high quality care for our pets and increased exposure for our organization.

Mission opened up their doors for us by offering two High Quality High Volume spay and neuter events which resulted in almost 100 pets getting altered and vaccinated. This was so incredibly helpful during a period when we were seeing 4 to 6-week wait times on appointments with our other partners due to increased pet ownerships. A game changer. Almost all these pets have been adopted!

Another result of this strong relationship is Pet Haven was invited to be the featured rescue at the Mission Animal Hospital Gala. Over 300 people attended. We had a puppy and kitten cuddle room and 5 beautiful pups walked the runway to show off their fashionable fall coats! Clicks to our website went nuts that night and people loved that we were the first rescue in Minnesota paving the way for all the others!

Relationships are key to Pet Haven’s success. Family is key to Pet Haven’s success. Every pet is family at Pet Haven and everyone who adopts from us becomes family too. One of our past adopters is so impressed with what we do that they have committed to invest in a Behavioral Rehabilitation Program that will allow us to get the support we need and be able to help more dogs. We need fosters that are interested in learning more about behavioral rehabilitation and what it takes to transform a dog’s life. This is extremely rewarding work! If you are interested in the work please email Anna at

I am still working diligently on a home for Pet Haven and have hopes, as we swing into our 70th year next year, we will be in physical space! So much good stuff going on! 

You all are greatly appreciated and so important to Pet Haven’s success and the people and pets we help! Sincerely thank you for all you do!

I can’t believe it’s already September! Where did the time go?!

This past month, my focus has been on our respite and cat adoption coordinator teams! 

We revamped our respite team processes a little and I am planning to create two respite forms (one for cat and one for dog) so that we can ask more species-specific questions to ensure we have all the details! This past year, we have seen more people heading out of town but less people able to respite. If you can take a cat or dog short-term, please check out the respite album on Facebook. Some animals are not a fit for boarding due to medical or behavioral needs so having available foster homes is super important! 

We had some big shoes to fill with Taylor’s departure from the cat adoption coordinator role and I am happy to announce that we have onboarded Nassim Rossi and Jessie Hughes, members of the Pet Haven family! Nassim is a foster and mentor and Jessie is a foster as well. They have been rockin’ and rollin’ on cat adoption applications for the past week and are doing a fabulous job! Up next, I’ll be working with Danielle and Neha on any streamlining needs for bios and adoptions. I plan to add a few more questions to our bio form so stay tuned for that!

My upcoming focus will be on our intake processes and what I can do to help our intake teams!

Please note, I will be out of the office from September 17th – 22nd with no access to phone or email.

I want to announce a few changes that are going to be coming up for the Cat Division and for the foster program, that we want you all to be aware of. 

Firstly in Cat Division, both Misha Smith and Julie Urban are going to help manage the Cat Division together! Julie will be the Cat Division Manager and Misha will be the Cat Project Manager. We believe that having two people supporting one another in the role will help strengthen and support the team as a whole, and these two both have an amazing set of strengths that will work together to bring the Cat Division to the next level! 

Julie will be manning the email, and that will be the primary email contact for her. She will be providing direct support for mentors and fosters, and answering any general cat division management questions. Misha will be handling any big projects and processes for the Cat Division. Misha will have her own email at as well. So everyone will continue to send the CDM email the same emails you always have, nothing will change there, but Misha will be involved when there are procedures and processes that need tweaking.

Next for the fosters, there will be a bi-weekly survey coming to you from your mentors that will cover your foster animal’s basic physical health and behavior health. It is a Google Survey, and should only take you about 5-10 minutes to fill it out. It is important that you complete the survey each time it is sent to you as it will help your mentor, our vetting team, and our behavior team to better help you and your foster succeed and get to a successful adoption! So keep an eye out for that survey to start coming to your inbox next week!

What in the world is going on in the field of Veterinary Medicine? This seems to be getting asked quite a bit lately and I wanted to hopefully shed some light on the shift that has occurred since the beginning of the pandemic.

If you’ve been fostering with us over the last year or sought vet care for your personal pet, you will have noticed extended wait times for appointments or even full schedules that are turning away sick pets. This is due to numerous reasons but primarily the ‘pet boom’ that happened in 2020. During quarantining, people adopted or purchased an increased number of animals due to being at home and having additional time to devote to pet ownership as well as having the need for companionship that couldn’t be met by other humans. Additional pets needing care obviously put a strain on schedules of vet clinics – this combined with surgery restrictions, especially elective procedures like spays and neuters, caused backlogged availability like no one could have predicted. Take a look at this article for additional details about the other things that have been at play that have changed vet med dramatically.

So what does this mean for Pet Haven? Getting veterinary care for our foster animals looks different than it has in the past, without a doubt. Standard care appointments are not as readily available as they used to be and can be weeks out from the time you call to schedule. Sick or urgent appointments are even harder to find although our partners are doing a fantastic job of doing everything they possibly can to fit our fosters in despite already completely full schedules. Most clinics’ surgery schedules have still not recovered making it so that we only have a few options for spays and neuters. Staff are staying late, working weekends, and doing so much more that is over and above to accommodate us and our foster animals – all we can do is be patient, understanding and grateful that there are people out there who care about Pet Haven and our animals as much as we do! 

It’s hard to believe that we are already approaching the final quarter of 2021. That means we are entering a busy fundraising season, with Strut your Mutt, Give to the Max and Pet Haven’s online auction all coming up. If you’d like to help with the online auction, please reach out to Kate Mudge, Board Vice President. 

As we near the end of 2021, the Board will start focusing on 2022 key priorities and development activities. We are thrilled to be fully staffed with an amazing team and are excited by what the future holds. Our number one priority is still to find a physical space. The search has been more difficult than we imagined, and we are very appreciative of all the time Kerry has dedicated to trying to find Pet Haven a home. If anyone has contacts in the commercial real estate/leasing space, we’d love to talk to them. 

Finally, just a note of appreciation to Lauren Rauchwarter for organizing the Volunteer Ice Cream Social (and thank you to all volunteers who do so much for Pet Haven. We could not do this work without you!) It was nice to see many of you this week and ice cream treats are always appreciated! 

Pet Haven featured volunteer of September: Meet Heather!

Heather and her husband got married in summer 2017 and her husband twisted her leg to get a feline friend just a couple of months later. Little did she know this cat would become her everything! Soon after, Heather took some time off work and wanted to find a way to give back to fill her time as well as find something she was passionate about. Why not cats? She started as the Owner Surrender Coordinator in June 2018! Heather filled her time with reviewing applications from owners in need, having conversations with them, posting for placement on Facebook and coordinating the surrenders. Pet Haven’s Owner Surrender Program began to grow as the need for owner surrenders increased over the years. Currently, Heather works with an awesome team and her role is posting on Facebook and coordinating with fosters and owners to schedule surrenders. Owner Surrender Program has filled Heather’s life with great joy and supporting owners in crisis or need is something she has grown very passionate about.

Currently, she has added another cat to her family and the two fur babies have become a bonded pair, named Belle (pictured with Heather to the right) and Wendy! They also have a puppy named Kona Rey that has been giving them quite the adventure this summer as they learn to be dog parents instead of just cat parents. Heather and her husband built a home in Lino Lakes, MN and love the perfect distance from the cities. She works as an Associate Therapist doing diagnostic assessments and program placements for individuals of all ages at a local clinic supporting those struggling with mental illness. When Heather is not volunteering or working she enjoys boating on the St. Croix, traveling to Disney, spending time on her deck, picking up pet toys, and cooking! 

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

School has started, the leaves are changing…but kitten season is still here! Be sure to check the Fosters Needed page, as we have many cats and kittens needing foster placement. Do you know someone who is interested in fostering? Has someone asked about your Pet Haven car sticker or your Pet Haven shirt? Do friends comment on your Facebook feline pics? Now is the time to educate others on what we do, how we help people and pets, and how to get started volunteering with Minnesota’s first foster-based rescue.  We are always in need of more cat fosters, so spread the Mews! 

Congratulations to the following 40 cats and kittens that were adopted in the month of August. Meowza!! Joe Meower, Gracie, Felix, Kaylee, Luca, Penny, Tucson, Phoenix, Tika, Tansis, Roane, Henry, Orange Julius, Minnie, Princess Bubblegum, Nuray, Mars, Snowball, Roy, Willow, Toby, Joey, George, Amelia, August, Annie, Pete, Huckleberry, Fern, Frida, Gordon, Elly May, Edsel, Reese, Eugene, Shadow, Jameson, Nala, Buffie, and Simon.

Cat Foster Mentor needed!

We are looking to recruit a new foster mentor for our cat division. If you are interested, please reach out to your own foster mentor or with any questions!

Foster Survey! 

On 8/25 a survey was sent out to all foster homes with Pet Haven – it’s very short and we are getting great feedback! If you have not completed it yet, click here to fill out the survey

In August 2021, we had 29 new dogs join foster care. 5 dogs were adopted in August! Congratulations to: Bella, Letty, Rico (nka Destin), Hudson, and Vision (nka Sebastian).

As summer and early fall vacations are winding down, if you have been on foster break and are looking to foster a dog or puppy again, please let your foster mentor know! They can assist in finding a dog for you. We have reservation transports available weekly and all of our area shelters are looking for help! There is a big clinic at the Red Lake reservation in mid-October where many animals will be surrendered. If there is anything in particular you are waiting for, please let your mentor know!

Dog Foster Mentors needed!

We are looking to recruit new foster mentors for our dog division. If you are interested, please reach out to your own foster mentor or with any questions!

Pet Haven Community Meet Up at Keg and Case

Join the Pet Haven community during the dog days of summer for a fun night out at Keg and Case in St Paul.

2021 Online Auction Volunteering Meeting

Volunteers needed to plan Pet Haven’s 2021 Online Auction! Lend a paw by joining an online meeting and learning about the different volunteer roles! Our goal is to raise $25,000 for Pet Haven and WE NEED YOU!!

Nickle Dickle Days 

Attend for poorly drawn pet portraits from Pet Haven, a craft fair, music, food and fun.

Open Shed 

Nail Trims

Strut Your Mutt – Saturday, Oct 23rd time TBD

Build your fundraising walk teams now. The walk will start with dog yoga with your dogs at Royal Pet in Hastings. We will then walk to Spiral Brewery where dogs are welcome! Prizes for top fundraisers will be awarded at the Brewery. Look for an email coming soon with more information on how to register to walk and create or join a team.

Did you know?

  • Any vehicle mileage you make while fostering or volunteering (such as trips to the vet, home visits, driving to an event, etc.) can be tracked by you and submitted as a non-profit mileage donation at tax time. To do so, simply create and update a word document then submit it in the donation section of your tax return.
  • Many companies offer financial donation matches to their employees. And…some companies offer either paid time off to volunteer, or a financial incentive to the non-profit for those who volunteer at an organization for 30 hours or more in a calendar year. The easiest place to start searching for either of these benefits is by searching “employee giving” on your company’s workplace homepage.