President, Bob Cox
Secretary, Gina LaRatta
Treasurer, Cheryl Pettke
Cat Coordinator: Sherry Beven
Dog Coordinators: Monica Gruss & Gina LaRatta
"The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissulobly connected with the fate of men."
Save A Stray officially "opened for business" on December 2, 2008. Our Board Members and many of our volunteers have previous experience volunteering with various other rescue organizations (time ranging for 2 yrs to 25 yrs). We have all played a wide variety of roles from fostering to coordinating animals. Many of our Board Members and volunteers have also held Board positions in other animal rescue groups as well as handled advertising and fundraising. So we come with a lot of experience!
We recognize that times are tough and animals in need are abundant. As a Board we are conscious of being financially responsible when it comes to the use of our donated funds. We won't cut corners and risk an animal's health in order to save money, but we will vaccinate and worm our otherwise healthy puppies ourselves. This is a common practice with breeders who charge hundreds of dollars for their pets. We don't charge hundreds of dollars and rely heavily on the generosity of the public. We appreciate every cent donated and promise to spend it with care!
We do not limit our intake to only the "stray" animal found running lose with no owner. A pet in need is a pet in need and we'll help where we can. We work with local shelters and have at times even been known to take in what we have come to call "owner surrenders". These are pets that an owner can no longer keep. Now that I have said that, let me further clarify, "I have to move and I can't take my cat" isn't what we'd call a good reason. We do understand renters may have a harder time finding someplace to rent with a pet, but it was their choice to get a pet and a rental home CAN be found that allows pets. We believe the phrase "a pet is for life". However, there have been times when an older person was going into assisted living and there were no local relatives to take the pet, or an owner has passed and left a pet without a home. That we have done and will continue to do as foster homes and funds allow.
Again, having said that, please don't call us if you have to move and feel it's not convenient to move with your pet. Your pet didn't ask you to bring it home, didn't ask you to move and certainly didn't ask you to "get rid" of it. As the person typing this I can tell you I rented for 11 years, 3 different locations and had 3 Boxers and a cat. Getting rid of my pets was never an option. Where there is a will there is a way. And if there is no way, then there is Berrien County Animal Control or The Humane Society of SWMI. Berrien County will NEVER turn away an animal, no matter what your reason for having to part with it.
Save A Stray is a registered, not for profit, 501c3 organization. That means your donations are tax deductible! So use that PayPal button!
Our Adoption Process...
Starts with us bringing a homeless pet into our group and helping it be healthy. You then see the pet either on Petfinder, our website, adoption days and Pet of the Week.
From there those interested in adopting submit an Adoption Questionnaire which is reviewed by the appropriate Coordinator and Volunteer Foster. Questionnaires allow us to check with your vetarenarian to ensure your current or previous pets are/were up to date on their vaccinations and preventives.
Questionnaires also give us a general idea if a certain pet may or may not fit with your home. Some cats may not like dogs, or some dogs may not like cats. Maybe you're wanting to adopt a cat who doesn't like dogs and you already have a dog. A questionnaire gives us an indication as to whether we should proceed with a home visit. Not everyone who completes a questionnaire gets a home visit as well.
If we believe you would be a good match for the animal we complete a home visit. This allows us to make sure the animal will get along with any animals you already have, and/or allows us to see if the environment is appropriate for the animal you wish to adopt.
If all goes well we may then leave the pet in your home for a predetermined "trial period." In order to do this we must have a signed Adoption Contract and collect the adoption fee. If you decide within the trial period that you do not wish to proceed with the adoption we will take the pet back and return the adoption fee.
Having described this process to you let me also remind anyone interested in adopting that you are contacting volunteers. You are emailing and calling to the private homes of people who dedicate unimaginable hours to our cause. Please understand that we do not have a facility, staff or office. If you send an email you will get a response. It may take a 2 to 3 days, but you will get a response. If you leave a voice mail, you will get a call back. Again, it may take a couple days. If you call several times and leave several messages you're filling up the voice mail box of a private home so that personal calls or potential rescue situations are unable to leave a message. We do try to return every call we get. That does sometimes get very difficult with duplicate calls and email boxes that are larger than normal because of duplicate emails.
We understand you have fallen in love with a cute little face, so have we. We even love the not so cute little faces, that's why we do this. Our goal is to place the pet with the best home possible...not the person who calls the most or gets there first. Many of us have said many times "it's not first come first served...it's best fit."