By Rhonda Hanson

Thanks to our incredibly generous donors and the hard work of our volunteers, we are proud to announce the recent Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) grant to the Seattle Animal Shelter (SAS) for a total of $175,000. This is the largest single-year grant total in our organization’s four-year history of supplementing and supporting key programs and initiatives at SAS. These funds will support three critical objectives: facility and capital improvement, expansion of programs and services at the Shelter, and improving the quality of care and adoption support for the animals.

Cat and Critter Area Renovation and Construction of Meet and Greet Room

In 2013, SASF made a multi-year commitment to fund improvements to the Shelter’s cat and critter areas, including the construction of a new, dedicated Meet and Greet room. SASF made an initial grant of $110,000 in 2013, and committed to raise an additional $110,000 in 2014. Thanks to the incredible donor support at last year’s Raining Cats & Dogs Auction and throughout all of 2014, we were able to raise and grant these funds.

SAS_CritterRoom_RenderingThis project for the cat and critter area will be breaking ground this spring. All of us are excited to see the results, which will increase visibility of cats and critters for potential adopters and improve the animals’ quality of care. Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordan said, “We are so thankful to the Foundation and their donors for their continued support, especially for improving the facilities of the Shelter. This latest grant will allow us to provide even more comfortable surroundings for potential adopters and for the animals.”

The cat and critter project builds on the success of the 2012 SASF grant, which provided $80,000 towards improving the SAS dog kennels by replacing chain link fencing with glass enclosures. This project dampened sound, improved approachability for potential adopters and lessened the stress of dogs housed in the kennels.

Expanding the Programs and Services of SAS: Fospice Care and Owner Support

In 2014, the Shelter identified two areas for expanding the services it provides: Fospice, or foster hospice, for animals near the end of life, and Owner Support, aimed at providing services to under-resourced pet owners. SASF is providing funds to conduct an initial pilot program for both of these programs. “One of the goals of the Foundation has always been to provide funding for new, innovative programs that build on the Shelter’s current successes. We are looking forward to the launch of these programs that support not only Seattle’s animals, but the people who love them,” said Ivy Cunningham, President of the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation.

The Seattle Animal Shelter’s existing foster program has demonstrated great success with many animals over the years; two recent examples are Cindy, a pit bull mix who was extremely shy and was able to come out of her shell while in a dedicated foster home; and Kojak, an underweight cat who had been diagnosed with diabetes. Adding formalized support for fospice care will build on this success. Fospice care allows elderly or terminally ill pets—those that may be considered unadoptable—to live out the remainder of their lives in the comfort of a loving foster home.

The Shelter is also excited to explore additional ways to support existing pet owners in our community. Owner Support programs provide information, tools and services to under-resourced pet owners who love their pets but may not have the resources they need to provide them with the highest level of care. Comprehensive owner support programs can reduce the strain on the shelter system by allowing loving families to keep the pets they have, versus surrendering them to the Shelter. With this initial grant, the Shelter will be working to identify the greatest needs in Seattle, and how it can best support those needs.

Extending Successful Shelter Initiatives

Finally, an additional $25,000 has been granted to support key existing initiatives that have already proven to be a success at SAS, including adoption promotion, staff training, quality of life improvement for Shelter animals, and spay and neuter subsidies for low-income pet owners.

Thank You to Our Supporters

On behalf of all of us at SASF, thank you to all our supporters for making these grants possible. Your compassion, caring and generosity are helping to transform the Seattle Animal Shelter into a true leader in animal welfare. We look forward to sharing more details about SASF-funded programs throughout 2015.