animal

Wisconsin Humane Society Staff ‘Near Tears’ After Every Animal In Shelter Finds A Loving Home

by Karen Belz
Karen Belz has written for sites such as Bustle, HelloGiggles, Romper, and So Yummy. She's the mom of a sassy toddler and drinks an alarming amount of Sugar-Free Red Bull in order to keep up with her.

When crisis happens, it’s important to think about others around you. And that includes the dogs and cats who are still waiting for their forever homes.

The Wisconsin Humane Society was the home for many displaced animals who, unfortunately, wouldn’t have much of a chance during any sort of shutdown. Staff chose to try to get as many of the animals placed as possible before it was too late. But they didn’t think it would really happen. The shelter had 319 animals in general, and staff knew it was a big ask. Especially since some animals stay at shelters for months before finding their perfect match.

But miracles came true.

All of the animals are now in a better place, and it’s all thanks to the loving community. “On March 15, we let our supporters know we needed help to get as many animals out of our shelters as possible so we could be ready for whatever challenges tomorrow throws at the communities we serve,” the WHS wrote on Facebook. “Despite the chaos and uncertainly … you adopted 159 animals and took home 160 foster animals, all in just 5 days.”

“Take a moment to let that sink in,” the post continued. “319 animals are snoozing on couches instead of sitting in kennels. We couldn’t possibly express how grateful we are.” It’s also likely that these hundreds of families are also happy to focus their energy on welcoming their new family members.

“If you visit our Adoption page right now, you’ll see the most wonderful sight we could ever hope for at a time like this: ‘Sorry, no matches right now, try again soon!’ There’s no glitch,” the humane society clarified. “We truly don’t have a single animal available for adoption in our shelters right now – they’re in homes!”

While this is a tremendous accomplishment, they know that this victory might not last for too long: “Of course, there will be more animals who need our help in the coming days, so you’ll see more listed as they arrive, but for now, we celebrate this tremendous bright spot during an exceedingly difficult time.”

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💙 We met Demonte when he attended one of our very first Pets for Life events where we provided free vaccines to animals in the communities we serve. Lifelong dog-lovers, Demonte and his family would attend our events when their dogs were up to date on their vaccines, just to say hi and catch up with the PFL team. Over the years, Demonte has been a great ambassador for our program, spreading the word about our services to his family and friends. Recently, our team was driving through the neighborhood transporting animals home from their spay/neuter appointments, and we saw Demonte waving down our van. He was so excited to see his PFL friends and gave us a full update on his beloved dog, Piper. For a while, she had to live with a relative while Demonte negotiated tirelessly with his landlord to allow Piper in his apartment. Thanks to his persistence and dedication, the landlord allowed Piper to move back in with Demonte and he couldn’t be happier. Piper is now 12 years old and thriving, though she does carry around a few extra pounds which Demonte lovingly refers to as her "spay weight." He also recently adopted two guinea pigs whom he reports get along great with Piper. 😊 Demonte and Piper are one of more than 7,000 families we’ve served in our Pets for Life community, doing everything they can to care for their beloved pets. We’re so proud of our hardworking PFL team members who go door to door on the hottest summer afternoons and the snowiest winter mornings, but we’re most in awe of the dedication, ingenuity, and compassion of the clients we meet behind those doors. 🏠 Roughly two-thirds of the families we serve in our focus community are renters, and that can lead to struggles like Demonte had in keeping Piper at home. Despite immense barriers and daily challenges, community members like Demonte are committed to their pets and are quick to seize any opportunity to better their animals’ lives, and our Pets for Life program supports them no matter their living situation. #PFLMKE

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The Wisconsin Humane Society operates five shelters total, located in Milwaukee, Sturgeon Bay, Racine, Saukville, and Green Bay. It also operates a public Spay/Neuter Clinic located in West Allis. Staff members love their animals and will do anything to make sure they’re as comfortable and happy as possible while in their care.

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Today, we’re highlighting stories from some incredible people in our Pets for Life community. Our PFL program reaches animals and families in underserved #Milwaukee neighborhoods with little to no access to pet care resources, removing barriers so families can provide important care to the animals they love. Within moments of meeting Regina, our Pets for Life outreach team knew one thing for sure: she loved her pup, Kennedy Marie, with all her heart. 💙 A few months later, we received a frantic call from Regina: Kennedy Marie had fallen and hurt her leg. She was quoted more than $1,000 for diagnostics and care, and she had been turned down for the credit she’d need to pay the veterinary bill. Thankfully, the Pets for Life team partners with the UW Shelter Medicine Program and we were able to provide an examination, medical advice, and pain medication, all free of charge. When we followed up with Regina (who introduces herself as “Kennedy Marie’s mom” every time she calls us), she was thrilled to report that her pup was back on four paws. There is not a single veterinary clinic in our PFL service area, and the majority of families we serve report not being able to access the veterinary care they need for the animals they love. With your support, the Pets for Life program can bridge this gap by providing information and resources, plus free spay/neuter, vaccines, and select medical care to ensure animals stay happy and healthy in the homes where they’re loved. In recognition of this important program, Patricia Bachhuber, @Brewers, and Brewers Community Foundation will be matching all gifts made to PFL today, up to $7,100! To donate, tap the link in our bio. Thank you so much and stay tuned for more stories from amazing PFL pet parents! #PFLMKE

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There’s always been a push to adopt animals, but in a circumstance like this, it’s easy to see why adoption is so important. While people often buy dogs to get a particular breed, those dogs all likely have roofs over their heads right now, and they’re in good care. Shelter dogs are in a much more critical condition right now.

Fostering dogs is also a great way to help solve the issue. Fosters often help train shelter dogs and give them a little bit of structure. Foster parents can also see whether or not the dog adapts well to older pets or children, which is crucial in finding them a forever home that’ll actually last forever.

Just recently, Today featured a woman named Amber Batteiger, who — like many of us — suddenly found herself working from home. To beat her loneliness, she chose to temporarily foster a homeless American bulldog named Tux. Tux was probably quite happy to have been selected.

“He’s really added a lot to my life,” Amber told Today. “It’s definitely been a nice, safe haven to have Tux here and to feel that I’m doing something bigger than myself to make a difference during this time.” If you also find yourself looking for ways to make a difference, fostering is a great idea if your home allows for it.

Based on social distancing, plenty of adoption events have been canceled. That means that in shelters worldwide, there are animals who have missed out on chances for adoption. Even though some people may be wary about adopting now, fostering will at least give these animals a place to stay, grow, and be happy.

“Animal shelters across the country are having to deal with an increase of dogs and cats in need of homes because fewer people are visiting shelters right now, and in some cases, shelters are having to temporarily close to the public,” said Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, to People magazine. While they still have people checking in on them, it’s not the same as it used to be.

She said that animal shelters everywhere are embracing other solutions during this time. “Some animal shelters are already seeing an increase in intake, and many are bracing themselves for the possibility of fewer adoptions and fewer foster homes, and are concerned about limited space,” she stated.

Animals, like people, can also have issues with isolation or abandonment. While every animal at the shelter has a different story, often it’s one filled with neglect. For these animals to thrive in a home is very important during this time, and it will help them get adopted later in the future.

Of course, there’s also the concept of a “foster fail.” That’s when a foster parent falls in love with a dog or cat so much that they decide to go through and adopt them. There’s a good chance that that might end up happening with a few of Wisconsin’s fosters.

If you’re looking to help out the animal community, contact your local shelter and see if it needs any help. Who knows? This situation may end up leading you to meet your new best friend. If now’s not the time, see if there’s anything your shelter may need during this time in terms of supplies. There’s never a bad time to support your local animal shelter.