Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign

by Oregon Humane Society
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Oregon Humane Society's End Petlessness Campaign
Cats rescued during the Oregon wildfires
Cats rescued during the Oregon wildfires

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon faced another massive challenge. Wildfires were raging across the state — roaring through the Santiam Canyon, decimating towns in Southern Oregon and the coast range, and creeping dangerously close to some of the most densely populated areas in Oregon.

Oregon Humane Society’s Incident Command team, already meeting regularly, shifted their focus to wildfire response.

“We deployed all of our resources to meet the specific needs in the affected communities,” says Jennifer Barta, OHS staff member who led planning through the wildfire incident. “We approached the response in three distinct ways.”

  1. OHS collaborated with agencies in the Portland metro-area to help pet owners from Clackamas County – sending teams into the field to deliver supplies, setting up kennels and caring for animals at evacuation sites.
  2. OHS worked with partners around the state to transport shelter pets to Portland so space and resources were freed up to help pets and people directly impacted by the fires.
  3. OHS supplied pet food and supplies so evacuees could keep their pets with them. OHS also provided emergency boarding as a last resort for pet owners who were not able to stay with their pet.

In addition, stray cats from Clackamas County were brought to OHS for medical treatment and daily care until their owners could be located.

“But, we couldn’t forget that we were still operating during a global health crisis, so we always had to put our plans through that filter,” says Brian August, OHS Chief Operating Officer. “For example, if we were sending responders to an evacuation site, we made sure they had masks and could stay six feet apart if they were in the same vehicle, or we planned for separate vehicles.”

“Every aspect of managing operations during the wildfire was a challenge,” says Chase Patterson, OHS Operations Director and member of the Incident Command Team. “When we were bringing transports of pets to OHS, we had to make sure our processes kept employees safe from COVID-19 and the smoky air.”

To keep the hazardous air out of the shelter, dog walks were suspended and special indoor areas for potty breaks were set up. The OHS maintenance team brought in extra filters and air scrubbers to keep staff, adopters and the animals safe.

Although the wildfires in Oregon have subsided, OHS continues to be a resource to both pets and people in our community. To help pet owners impacted by COVID, job loss, or other factors, OHS is hosting a pet food bank on Dec. 1-2 where free pet food is available to those that need it.

“Our goal is to continue to support pet owners in our community in any way we can. By hosting this Pet Food Bank, we hope to give those who are struggling one less thing to worry about this holiday season," said Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO, in a statement.

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Danny is just one of many homeless animals brought to the Oregon Humane Society through the Second Chance program, where animals are transported from overcrowded shelters on the West Coast to OHS. A two-year-old terrier mix, Danny was found living on the streets in Merced, California. Like many strays, Danny was in desperate need of grooming. He came to the Merced County Animal Control looking more Muppet than dog, with an overgrowth of matted fur that covered his entire body. Even his sweet, brown eyes were covered by gnarls of white and brown fur.

Through no fault of their own, Merced’s intake of homeless animals is far greater than their adoptions — a common problem for Central Valley shelters. The OHS Second Chance program works with overcrowded shelters to help keep their population manageable by transferring animals from their shelter to ours.

Recently, Danny (along with 59 other dogs and cats!) was transported from various Central Valley shelters to OHS. The animals arrived late at night, and were brought into the shelter by our staff and volunteers, admitted, examined, and settled in.

The next day a team of volunteers set out to tame Danny’s wild fur. It took three people, including one professional dog groomer, two hours to work through the matted fur and shave Danny. One of Danny’s groomers said it was the worst matting they’d ever seen. Relieved from the discomfort he was feeling from having so much tangled fur on his body, Danny was able to rest in a comfy kennel while he waited to be adopted.

Posting before and after photos of Danny on our social media generated several potential adopters for Danny, and with his playful and friendly nature, he quickly found his new home and family.  

Thanks to support from donors, OHS can transport and rehome thousands of pets every year through the Second Chance, transforming the lives of pets, like Danny, from living in desperate need to health, security, and loving homes.

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The Oregon Humane Society adopts more than 11,000 pets every year. There are no time limits on how long pets remain available for adoption, and animals are never euthanized for space. OHS also provides medical care and behavior training to ensure pets are healthy and happy before being adopted into their forever homes.

Blanche is just one of the many animals whose life was improved by coming to OHS. The grouchy 12-year-old white cat was surrendered to our shelter because of her behavior, which included growling, scratching, and biting.

Upon examination, the veterinary team discovered Blanche was not only deaf due to ear infections, but also suffered from kidney disease, dental disease, and arthritis — common sources of pain for older pets. At our shelter, Blanche received the medical care and ear surgery needed to help her thrive in a new home.

During recovery, her sweet personality began to emerge. Surgery had caused her ears to droop, giving her a delightfully grumpy expression. With her deep, throaty purrs and beautiful eyes, the affectionate cat became a favorite among the Animal Care staff and volunteers.

After more than nine months of care, including dental treatments and plenty of affection, Blanche's matted fur smoothed out and developed a healthy shine. She also gained some much-needed weight, most likely from the tuna treats lavished on her by OHS caregivers. Finding a home was the next step in her journey.

When cat lovers Ami and Clark came to OHS, they fell in love with the contrast between Blanche's sweet disposition and her curmudgeonly look. Blanche’s medical and behavior history didn’t discourage them from adopting, as the couple had experience caring for cats with medical needs.

A few days after adopting Blanche, Ami let us know Blanche was settling in wonderfully in her new home. Ami wrote, “She has only been with us a few days, but already we know that she is the piece that was missing from our hearts and our home.” She added, “Looking through her long medical record, it is hard to imagine that there are many places that an old, sick white cat could have gone to get half of the care that she received from you. Thank you for believing in this little white cat.”

Blanche is now living pain free in a loving family, enjoying excellent care and plenty of window seats where she can safely watch the world go by.

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Happy Hansel
Happy Hansel

As a small dog roaming the streets of Madera, California, Hansel had no idea the life that was waiting for him in Portland. Hansel’s journey began at a local shelter. After waiting long enough to ensure an owner wasn’t looking for him, Hansel was bound for a trip north that would change his life forever. The OHS Second Chance program helps pets like Hansel in overcrowded and rural shelters throughout the region. In July, Hansel was transported from Madera to OHS in one of our Second Chance trucks.

Upon arrival at OHS, Hansel was extremely shy, fearful and shut down — avoiding anyone who tried to approach him. The OHS Behavior team spent time with Hansel to observe him and to start gaining his trust. Hansel had experienced trauma, and the Behavior team developed a consistent routine and provided positive interactions with people. With the help of specialty volunteers, the Behavior team spent the next couple months building Hansel’s confidence and watched him begin to relax. His personality was emerging. He started making friends with more people, being goofy and playful and was no longer the shy dog he had been when he arrived.

As Hansel progressed, he was made available for adoption. Jessie and Paul answered Hansel’s call for a forever home and immediately fell in love with his sweet personality. He continues to thrive in the care of his new family, where he feels safe enough to relax and be his goofy self.

Hansel is just one of thousands of pets given a second chance and adopted from Oregon Humane Society last year. Your support allows us to find homes for animals in need, providing behavior training, medical care, and so much more. Thank you!

  

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Boots was adopted after arriving from Texas
Boots was adopted after arriving from Texas

When hurricanes hit Texas, the Southeast, and the Caribbean, the Oregon Humane Society was ready to respond. OHS reached out to Houston-area shelters offering our assistance before Hurricane Harvey landed. After the storm subsided, a team of FEMA-certified volunteers and employees from OHS deployed to care for pets. Members of the disaster response teams are trained in emergency shelter operations and in caring pets who are often frightened and fearful after being separated from their homes and families.

After Hurricane Irma struck the Southeast, OHS sent teams to assist shelters in Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia, helping to transport and distribute supplies and care for pets. Teams have also been deployed to St. Croix after Hurricane Maria battered the island.

“Natural disasters of this scale can leave thousands of animals without homes and will easily overwhelm the ability of local shelters to care for pets,” said Sharon Harmon, OHS President and CEO.

In Portland, OHS opened its kennels to dogs and cats from San Antonio and Houston-area shelters. Two flights with 85 dogs and cats came to OHS to help relieve Texas shelters struggling with housing pets impacted by the hurricane. The animals were relocated away from Texas so that local shelters would have additional space available for the expected influx of pets from flood-stricken areas.

The Oregon Humane Society, along with the Lucy Pet Foundation, chartered a flight for 40 dogs and 40 cats when they heard the SPCA of Brazoria County (SPCA-BC), located 51 miles south of Houston, was in urgent need of help.

“When Mia and Lauren from the Oregon Humane Society showed up, we all breathed a big sigh of relief knowing that 80 of our SPCA of Brazoria County homeless pets will be traveling safely to new homes and new families,” said Stacey Suazo, SPCA-BC Executive Director. “Our community was badly hit by flooding during and after Harvey, so people here are still displaced and not in a position to be able to adopt new pets. It has been an absolute Godsend to have a safe place for these homeless pets.”

After the Texas pets arrived at OHS, they received any needed medical care before being made available for adoption. Many of these pets have been adopted by loving families in our community.

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Organization Information

Oregon Humane Society

Location: Portland, Oregon - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Marsha Chrest
Portland, Oregon United States

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