CARE is looking for foster parents, donations, food for dogs, cats
After 24 years of rescuing dogs and cats from overcrowded shelters, CARE for Animals enjoys loyal support among animal lovers in central Arkansas. So when the closet was empty this summer, all they had to do was ask.
“We have a pet pantry where we provide dog and cat food for people going through tough times,” says general manager Alexandra Mounger. “We rely solely on donations for this. Over the summer we posted a message that we were empty.
“We received something like 960 pounds of dog and cat food from Amazon two days later. It’s encouraging to see such support from the community.”
And, says Treasurer Harry Light, “we’ve been very fortunate to have estate donations to help us through difficult times. But as with any nonprofit over the past couple of years, since the pandemic , general contributions are down.”
“And the resources, unfortunately, still cost the same, if not more,” says Mounger.
CARE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation funded entirely by donations, its website explains. Donations support rescued pets, pay salaries for three staff members and the lease of the corporate office at 5516 Kavanaugh Blvd. in the business district of Little Rock’s Heights.
Donations also help the organization fulfill the second half of its mission: providing vouchers to offset the cost of neutering or neutering a pet for animal lovers whose income makes it difficult to pay for it. cost themselves.
Light, who was mayor of Cammack Village from 1995 to 2014 and is an attorney at Friday, Eldridge and Clark, says he only agreed in 1998 to co-found CARE (as the Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals ) if the effort included preventing overcrowding.
“We were concerned that there were a lot of good rescues in Little Rock, but there really wasn’t an organization that focused on both rescue and sterilization,” he says.
Thanks to generous donors, “we’ve helped over 10,500 people and had their animals neutered,” says Light. These vouchers are available to animal lovers statewide.
Donations of time are also needed, says volunteer coordinator Carly Cate. Animal lovers can help CARE in many ways, from big commitments like advocacy — opening their home to a rescued dog or cat — to helping with fundraisers like the annual Paws on the Trail in October. But Cate says small gifts of time are also very helpful, such as helping her sort through donated dog food.
CARE recently partnered with Feeding Pets of the Homeless (petsofthehomeless.org), a New York agency that helps let homeless people know that CARE can help feed their dog or cat.
SEARCH FOR FELLOWSHIPS
Foster homes are essential because the animals that CARE rescues from euthanasia are not housed at headquarters. Instead, they go to foster homes.
“I think it takes a very special kind of person to have the love and care it takes to take care of a foster family. [animal] but also kind of prevent you from falling so completely in love with each one of them that you can’t favor more,” says Mounger.
She and Light laugh when they explain that volunteers continue to fall in love with their proteges and adopt until they maximize their ability to own animals.
“That’s what we call foster care failure,” says Mounger. “And we love them but…”
CARE’s website – careforanimals.org – is a “virtual shelter”, advertising adoptable pets. As of Nov. 7, the website offered 23 dogs and cats for adoption, including 12 graduates of the State Department of Correction’s Paws in Prison dog training program (see arkansasonline.com/1113pip.)
“Dogs coming out of this program must meet the [American Kennel Club] good citizenship standards before they can graduate,” says Light. “And so when they go into a house, you know they’re going to behave.
“The only problem is that they are used to being around a human 24 hours a day.”
Which means they – like any dog or cat – might not be right for every animal lover looking to adopt. But CARE has an application process designed to make sure people bring home a pet that’s right for them.
THE BEST FIT
Before a rescued dog or cat enters a CARE foster home, Rescue Coordinator Chris Temple assesses its temperament. Then CARE pays for veterinary costs, sometimes including medications and treatments.
“Vet costs are really on the rise,” Light says. “It’s amazing to me that when we started we could have a fully vetted dog or cat for $70. Now it’s over $200 to get basic shots and neutering.”
If a rescued animal has a hidden health issue that comes to light after they’ve been cared for, “we can post that animal on social media, and within days we have enough money to pay the vet bill for $600 or $700,” Light said. “That kind of response from the community is really heartwarming.”
Every pet CARE cares for has a volunteer social worker who knows that animal, reviews online applications from families wishing to adopt, and takes the animal to Saturday visits to meet potential owners. Social workers help applicants to avoid heartache.
As someone who adopted a large dog from another state, Mounger says, she wishes the shelter could have done her a favor in assessing if her home was suitable for a 55-pound German Shepherd/Husky mix Cooper. She learned after giving him her heart that he didn’t respond well to other dogs; and she already had another, much smaller one. Luckily for Cooper, Mounger was determined to keep him and could afford the help he needed.
At CARE, adopting a cat costs $100. Adopting a dog costs $200 – $250 if that dog graduates from Paws in Prison. Applying for adoption is free, can be done on the website, and “the application process is really easy,” Mounger promises. “It’s just a small form. Our social workers review it and they get back to you within about seven days.
“And it’s not about having a set standard that you meet or not. It’s about what that dog or cat needs and is it working for you or not?”
Each animal stays in the program “for as long as it takes” to find a home, she says.
“And we’re committed for life,” says Light. “So when you sign a contract, you have to let us know if you’re going to take that dog to a shelter, or whatever, because we always want to have the option of bringing the dog back into the program. And they’re all microchipped, so they are placed in a shelter, we will be contacted.”
Donations are accepted anytime, he says, but a new opportunity to help arises Dec. 15-18, when AmFund.org, the American Fundraising Foundation, will auction off 10 trips, with proceeds benefiting CARE. . Look for details at careforanimals.org or call (501) 603-2273.