Summerfest 2014

Stopping by Summerfest? Come visit our booth! Why do we have a booth at most events in town? Honestly, many of our volunteers already have busy lives, with full-time jobs and family obligations. Booth at Summerfest

We do it primarily to raise awareness:

  • of animal welfare issues in the community
  • of our organization and our purpose
  • of community resources
  • of general issues (through selling items such as spay/neuter magnets)

A secondary purpose is of a fundraiser, which will sometimes yield a few hundred dollars in sales and donations (on a good day).

We enjoy meeting other people in the community who are pet owners or concerned about animal issues in the county. So if you are at Summerfest, please consider stopping by and saying “Hi” to the volunteer in the booth.

Also, a shout-out to the organizer of Summerfest, Dawn Smith at Central Federal Savings & Loan, who does a great job year after year!

Campaign for orphaned puppies

Imagine 8 puppies and a mother dog being dumped in a box on the side of the road. Now imagine a truck coming toward them. Tragic scenes like this happen every day to abandoned animals and unfortunately occurred on March 10th, 2014, resulting in the death of a mother dog and her 6 puppies. But two puppies survived and PCAWL has embarked on a campaign to raise funds for them. Read more about the puppies’ story and how you can help on this site. And please help or spread the word!

Lost Your Pet?

Losing a pet can be very traumatic for pet owners. It’s a big, sometimes dangerous world out there and pets can escape from the house or yard despite your best intentions. While heartwarming reunions do happen, the reverse is also a possibility too, in which the pet doesn’t survive or seemingly disappears, never to be seen again. But you can take action in the form of the steps below to increase the chances of getting your pet back. Your pet is counting on you to do all you can to find them!

What do you do first? Search around your house or where the pet escaped. Cats, in particular, often stay close to home and may be hunkering down in a hiding place, scared. Ask neighbors and place flyers around your neighborhood. If there is a sighting of your pet, you might consider leaving food out for them.

Second: go visit the shelter IN PERSON to see if your lost pet is there within a day or two. Do not just call and rely on giving a description. Shelter staff do their best, but shelters are often a busy environment, with phones manned by various volunteers and lots of activity. It can also be difficult to tell, say, one lost beagle from another. If your dog or cat is at the shelter and passes the stray hold period, then by law the shelter can legally adopt them out. If this happens, you may never know or see your pet again. Animal shelters in Phelps County, Missouri include Rolla Animal Shelter and Tri-County Humane Society (St. James).

Third, make flyers with photos and descriptions of your pet. If you need help with this, consider asking a friend or neighbor. Take these flyers to area shelters (which often have bulletin boards) plus other places nearby where your pet is missing as well as vet clinics.

Fourth, post a photo of your missing dog in online forums, such as Rollanet or Facebook. The Rolla Daily News will also run an ad for free. A photo is worth a thousand words and you never know who has seen your dog or cat and may be able to provide crucial information.

Finally, be sure to search the “Found” sections of Rollanet or the classifieds to see if anyone is advertising your dog as found.

As an added precaution before their pet goes missing, every pet owner should consider the following:

  1. An  identification tag can ensure that your lost pet is quickly reunited with you.
  2. Microchips have also been responsible for some amazing reunions years later
  3. Have a current photo of your pet just in case.

Helping Stray Animals

If you find a stray animal in Phelps County, it can be challenging to find a good placement for the stray, as many of our members know from personal experience. Area shelters are often full, especially during the spring and summer. While we wish we could help everyone who contacts us, PCAWL itself has very few foster homes and our funds are also limited.  Phelps County is sorely in need of widespread spaying and neutering to reduce the overpopulation, but that’s a subject for another post.

We do have a webpage of tips if you find a stray. If you can keep the dog or cat for awhile, PCAWL can courtesy post the animal in a variety of venues, such as our Facebook page or Petfinder. Many times this added publicity helps get the animal adopted. We do ask that the adopter screen the home as carefully as possible and also strongly recommend that the animal is spayed or neutered so they don’t in turn contribute to the stray population.

Here’s a note from a grateful rescuer in the community on hearing how happy a family from Kansas City was with their adopted beagle: “Thanks for posting her on Petfinder!  This is why we do what we do!  :-)

Thank you to all the Good Samaritans out there!

Good Samaritan Spay/Neuter Program

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free. Perhaps a shelter’s motto could be: give me your homeless, your unwanted, your strays yearning for a home. Shelters are full of the beseeching eyes, whether they be whining pups, meowing kittens, or older animals, not understanding how they ended up in a cage. These are the lucky ones who have a second chance, whose story may still end in a happy ending of a good home.

That happy ending can often be in jeopardy for vulnerable animals. Those who huddle in a corner of their kennel, scared or unsocialized. Or those that exhibit too rambunctious behavior. PCAWL seeks to boost the adoptability of these animals by offering a free spay or neuter for some of them. Thanks to a generous supporter who donated the seed funds to start this Good Samaritan Spay/Neuter Program.

The free spay/neuter for this month is for Tabby, a nice female cat in the shelter. Unfortunately, it is kitten season, which means that adult cats have a more difficult time getting adopted with cute kittens also needing homes. Please spread the word so we can help Tabby get a good home! Tabby the cat

Trying to Save Scamper

Vet care is expensive. I easily spend much more on my pets than for health care for myself. If I leave the vet’s office with a bill less than $100, I feel fortunate. This isn’t to criticize prices for vet services, as we all understand it’s a business, and some vets give back to the community in various ways. Still, it can be very expensive for individual owners (and honestly our organization too).

The costs can skyrocket especially if:

  • You have multiple pets
  • You have older pets
  • You have a pet with an injury or health condition that needs treatment

So when a person in the community contacted us for assistance with costs for surgery for a young rescued cat, the board discussed what we should do. We have limited funds and we must be good stewards of these funds, ensuring that we maximize how many animals we benefit in the community (such as through spaying and neutering).

The owner has rescued many stray and homeless pets over the years, dumped near her home, and in fact rehabilitated this cat when she was a kitten (she’s the tortoiseshell one) when she nearly lost her eyesight to a bore-worm. But she is a single parent who has fallen on hard times (although she has steadily worked 2 jobs & managed to stay off public assistance). She needs help to come up with the funds for this surgery (~$300). She called around to different vets to see if they would work with her, such as setting up a payment plan, but no luck. So she broadened her search and called different organizations, including ours. We were the only one who returned her call, a fact she appreciated.

So we decided to try a new strategy: setup a “Save Scamper” online campaign to see if we could at least raise part of the funds through Good Samaritans in the community helping a fellow Good Samaritan. And so far we’ve raised $160 (as of 3/27/2013).  This should be enough raised to go forward with Scamper’s surgery so she can look forward to years of a healthy, happy life.

Once again we’re touched grateful for the generosity and caring of the community–thank you for helping make this a happy ending!  –Mary Aycock

PCAWL Needs You

Years ago I remember visiting an area shelter and feeling a wrenching heartache seeing all the kittens and puppies who would not, could not all possibly get adopted due to a shortage of homes. Not to mention the older cats and dogs whose chances of adoption dwindled down in the face of so many cuter, younger animals.

What if you knew a way to help homeless animals in the community, or rather, knew of a way to prevent the existence of so many homeless animals? By taking this action, you could avert many of the stray kittens and puppies that end up in the shelter. Or even worse, homeless and fending for themselves in a world unfriendly to strays.

But it wouldn’t be easy, because to make a meaningful difference, you would need to expand the scale you currently operate at. For example, to halt a disease in the community you would want to inoculate not just a few individuals, but the majority of people. So to stop the domino effect of overpopulation in the community, you would need to facilitate as many animals being spayed and neutered as possible. While PCAWL has helped some people spay and neuter, I have felt a restlessness in knowing that the status quo is not enough to stem the tide: we need to increase our efforts.

Still, how could you not try if this would help alleviate so much suffering?

In the coming months I will be calling a meeting to review our bylaws and mission. As you probably gathered above, I believe that focusing PCAWL’s efforts to promote spaying and neutering can make a difference. However, I cannot do it alone: the current board membership has fallen to critically low levels. I know there are animal-caring people in Phelps county who would like to help. More people could mean applying for grants, getting the word out about our services, starting an education program in area schools. More donations could mean more outreach and prevention of even more unwanted litters.

I have high hopes for PCAWL in 2013, especially if we are able to marshal our forces for the good of the animals. Please consider joining the PCAWL team or otherwise supporting our cause.

Mary Aycock,
President, 2012-2013