As 2010 comes to a close, I want to tell you about what we have been able to accomplish this year with your help.
We have been able to save so many pets who desperately needed our help. We were able to help Tiger Lily, a tiny puppy who had been abused and was in the DeKalb County shelter with two shattered front legs. We saved several families, including Bianca and her 6 kittens, Kira and her 4 kittens, Isabelle and her kittens, all from county animal control shelters, where none of them had a chance. We also saved Dolly and her 8 puppies, who were all living in an open field by the airport. As pit bulls, they faced an extremely uncertain fate without our help.
We lost a few members of our Silver Paws family this year, but added a new member, too. Casey had been with us for several years, and struggled bravely at the end of her life. With your help, we were able to extend her quality of life with swim therapy. Amelia, a 14-year old German Shepherd in our Silver Paws Program is growing old gracefully with the help of physical therapy and acupuncture. All of our Silver Paws pets and fosters are able to enjoy companionship that wouldn’t be possible without our program, and without you.
Our Casper’s Fund spay/neuter program continues to grow. This year, we helped over 400 of Atlanta’s pet owners spay and neuter their pets. We know from surveys from the participants that almost 75% of these pets would not have been fixed without our program. Casper’s Fund has prevented hundreds of homeless puppies and kittens from entering the rescue cycle. And most of those pets that were spayed and neutered through our program also got their vaccinations, so they will live healthier, longer lives as a result.
We have touched the lives of hundreds of future pet owners this year through our Kids N Kritters program. From our dog bite prevention workshops to our interactive sessions on teaching children how to pet a dog, we are reaching out to the next generation about compassion, empathy and humane pet ownership.
And perhaps the biggest news of the year is our new AARF Pet Central community pet center. After 8 ½ years of working for Atlanta’s homeless pets, we finally have a home to call our own. We closed on the purchase of our new center in October and are working on renovations now. AARF Pet Central will have an in-house cat adoption center, dog adoption events on the weekends, affordable training classes and seminars, humane education classes, quality pet products and more. We are creating a community pet center with the motto “Everything for pets. All in one place.” We hope that AARF Pet Central will not only help homeless pets find new homes, but help pets keep their homes, too!
AARF could not have accomplished so much this year without you. We are so grateful and so fortunate to have such an amazing family of supporters. I know many of you feel connected to AARF with such strong bonds. Maybe you adopted a dog or cat from AARF. Maybe one of our special needs pets touched your heart. Or maybe you have seen the faces in the cages at the shelters, and know how badly these 4-legged friends need our help. Whatever the reason, I am truly honored that you support our work and how we do it.
As we prepare for 2011, we need your help more than ever.
Although it may seem so far away now, puppy and kitten season begins in February. Hundreds of innocent, new lives will be dropped off at county shelters or abandoned in the streets. If we can open our cat adoption center in January, we will be able to help so many of the cats and kittens who would otherwise die in the shelters. If we can begin our weekend adoption events in January, AARF and the other groups who attend will open up spaces to save so many of the puppies who deserve a chance. And if we can build up our Casper’s Fund funding, we will be able to even prevent the numbers of homeless pets from growing even larger.
As you celebrate this holiday season and look toward a happy and joyous 2011, please remember how much we appreciate you. And how much we need you.
I am asking you today to dedicate just $1 a week for 2011 to help us continue our work on behalf of pets in Atlanta. If everyone who reads this letter and believes in what we do commits just $52 for the whole year, we can save hundreds more lives in 2011.
But if you don’t, and no one else does either, then who will? Please join us for 2011, where we continue to CREATE A WORLD WHERE EVERY PET MATTERS!
I wish you a wonderful holiday and a joyous new year.