Serving the animals and citizens of Iowa County and its surrounding communities
|Letter From The Editor|
A Letter From The Editor......Another winter over and not a lot to look back and comment on or complain about. I'm still waiting for a BIG snowstorm and it could happen – but not likely. There's just something COOL about having a foot or more of snow (all at one time)! It didn't happen this year (at least in SW Wisconsin) and it's like we were cheated. But, nevertheless, "spring has sprung" and along with spring comes a renewed sense of optimism. The days are longer, the temperatures warmer; a time to be outside after being cooped up all winter. That's the situation here at ICHS as well - changes and optimism! Life is good – now for a huge spring snowfall ...As you read this letter, it is important to remember that I am a volunteer and these are my thoughts.
For me, I am especially optimistic about ICHS finally moving forth with a 'low-cost spay/neuter program' for the public. As mentioned in previous newsletters, a small group has been working towards this program for several years now – and we are almost there. The 'Scottish Doubles Bowling Tournament' held last January at Ten Pin Alley in Fitchburg was a success and we now have the financial resources to start the program. We were hoping that the program would be up and running by mid-March, but an early summer implementation is more realistic. Be on the lookout for details!
Angel's Wish, a local pet adoption organization, surprised us by taking some of our kitties in February – 44 of them!!! They really helped us out by taking several of our senior cats, most of our teenagers and some kitties who have been with us way too long – Miss Kitty, Kendra, Sweetie, Smudge and Vegas (yes, even Vegas)! Although we weren't "overcrowded", we knew that it would be just a matter of time before 'kitten season' started – and then we would be overflowing. So it was wonderful (yes, there were a few tears shed) of them to take our kitties – most of which have already found homes (for more on Angel's Wish and Vegas, keep reading).
The Buildings and Grounds Committee has been busy and will continue to be busy for the foreseeable future. The biggest news is that two new furnaces and condensers have been installed. The replacement of ductwork continues. Several of our nine furnaces were ceiling units but the new furnaces have been installed on the floor and will be much more accessible for maintenance. Major electrical work was also completed. We are also working on plans to build a dog quarantine/isolation area (desperately needed) and begin work on the outdoor dog holding kennels on the southeast side of the building. Pedestals were built for the cat cages so the cages will no longer be on the floor. Whisker City and other areas of the building have been brightened up by some "eye-catching" colors – notably lime green and violet! A year ago, vertical structures were built in the middle cat room (Chuck's Tree House) with Hannah T painting the room's mural. Tully is currently in the process of doing some remodeling in two of the cat rooms on either side of Chuck's Tree House. Painting murals in the rooms will follow. Plans – hopefully this spring – also include new flooring in the reception area and the conference room. There's a lot going on at ICHS–stop by and check us out!
If you have any suggestions or ideas about the content of ICHS PAWPRINTS, please contact me, Terri Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a reminder, ICHS is a volunteer-based organization and our volunteers are priceless when it comes to our mission and success. As important as our volunteers are, perhaps we don't have an adequate way to express our thanks other than to say "thank you" and there may be times when even that doesn't occur. My guess is that most of us volunteer because we want to, and we don't expect thanks – a wagging tail or a purring cat is all of the thanks that we need. We just started a "Lucky Volunteer of the Month" drawing – just for fun. One volunteer's name will be drawn each month and receive a little something – no, not a kitten☺ – as a token of ICHS's appreciation. The volunteer is "lucky" because it has nothing to do with how often you volunteer (there is only one name/per person/ per month no matter how much time you spend volunteering) and so "lucky" is simply being the one whose name is drawn from the container – that's "the luck of the draw"!
Our most recent "lucky volunteers" are: January – Serena P from Dodgeville. Serena has been a volunteer since June of 2014 and is one of our many "cat cuddlers". February – James M from Madison. James has been with ICHS since April of 2014 and is one of our awesome dog walkers but also spends time with the cats.
Thank you to Serena, James and all the rest of you for everything that you do for ICHS! Also, please check the website and click on the Volunteer link to find out what our 'immediate/specific volunteer needs' are and see how you can help!
Upcoming Fundraising Events
Just a reminder that ICHS is always looking for volunteers to help with the planning and implementation of our fundraisers. Our goal is to have enough volunteers so that each individual would only have to help plan and work at one event per year. So...if you would like to get involved with the planning and organizing of 2015's fundraisers, please contact the shelter for more details. We hope to hear from you!!!
Easter Bake Sale – April 4
It's time for the annual "Easter Bake Sale". This traditional event dates back to the early beginnings of ICHS. The sale will be in the usual place – Spring Gate Mall in Dodgeville (near the entrance to Piggly Wiggly) on Saturday, April 4. The sale starts at 8:00 AM and continues until 1:00 PM or until all the "goodies" are gone. The variety and amount of donated treats is amazing! So, make our bake sale a part of your Easter tradition – and enjoy!!!
ICHS Plant Sale Fundraiser – May 16 & May 23
Hard to believe but the "9th Annual Plant Sale" is just a couple of months away. As usual the sale will be held on two Saturdays in May – the 16th and the 23rd from 8:30 – 12:00 at the shelter in Dodgeville. All money goes to health care for the animals. Look for more details in the May Newsletter.
January & February Adoptions
We all know that all animals are 'special' but the animals featured in this section are indeed special. These are 'special needs' animals. The special person/family who adopts one of these animals knows that this may/may not be the long-term relationship which we hope for when we open our hearts and homes to a new family member. These animals 'forever homes' with us may be just for a short time before they move on...But, nevertheless, these animals need a home and a loving family just as we all do. Are you possibly the family that could provide a home for one of these animals? If not, do you know of a family who could provide a loving home for these animals? If so, please come out to ICHS and find out more about these animals from the ICHS staff.
Our FIV population is at one and that would be Buzz. Buzz is a "normal" cat – it's just that he has a virus (FIV) which affects his immune system – but slowly – over a period of years! Buzz should live a long and normal life! Buzz was thought to be 'feral' when he first arrived at ICHS; hiding in his cubby 24/7 for weeks – but he was simply frightened. Buzz had the reputation of being "one of the sweetest and most loving cats in the building" however he recently received his "orange card". He just doesn't want to go back to his cage when it's time so he gets a bit "feisty" and he scares easily when unexpected noise or movement occurs. If it wasn't for the FIV+ sign on his cage, you wouldn't have a clue that he has FIV! Is it possible that YOU just might be the special family that Buzz is looking for? So...Buzz needs a home!
Although we call FIV cats "special", there really are no special considerations when adopting them. They must be kept indoors. They may live with other cats since FIV is not easily passed between cats (it would be best if your other cat(s) are good-natured and amicable to a new pal). FIV is primarily spread by serious bite wounds so if you have other cats, it is important to properly introduce FIV cats to the others (but you would do that with any cat that you bring home). It is also important to keep them free from stress so a quiet home would be best.
To those of you who don't have a cat, but have been thinking about getting one – PLEASE do yourself a favor and come and meet Laurel. Laurel has only been with us a few weeks. She is about eight years old, a sweetheart and tested positive for FeLV. Because of her FeLV status, she does need to be an only cat (unless you have other FeLV cats). People shy away from kitties with FeLV, and they remain at the shelter for months/years. PLEASE don't let that happen to Laurel. She's healthy and happy and so precious! So...Laurel needs a home.
Gregory is indeed a special kitty! He tested positive for both FeLV and FIV. Now don't let that deter you from making this guy a part of your family! As mentioned earlier, as long as FeLV cats are kept indoors, are only cats and live in a stress-free environment (as much as possible), they should be with your family for many years to come. Gregory is friendly and affectionate, but he hasn't had a lot of opportunities to interact with people (he was a barn cat), so he needs YOU to show him what a loving relationship is all about. So...Gregory needs a home.
Vegas is considered a special kitty because of her 'catitude' – and she is also in sole possession of #1on the Top Ten List!!! She has also occupied this space in the Newsletter for years, but say goodbye – not that Vegas is going anywhere, but she will be sharing this space (future newsletters) with other cats. Vegas has been at ICHS since October of 2009. There have been people over the years willing to adopt her, but Vegas, being a cat, had other ideas. Most recently, Angel's Wish took several of our cats, and much to our surprise, Vegas was on their list!!! Judy, a long time Angel's Wish volunteer, agreed to foster Vegas. Judy has three dogs and a FeLV cat so Vegas had a room all to herself. Judy is an experienced cat person and really wanted to make this work, but once again Vegas had other ideas. Although Vegas did warm up to Judy's husband, she wanted NOTHING to do with Judy. Judy felt that Vegas would have "come around" in time, but the dilemma was that Vegas would eventually have to make the weekend trips to the adoption center with Judy and be "at her best" to impress potential adopters. For those of us familiar with Vegas, this would not have met with Vegas' approval! And Judy couldn't keep her permanently because she wouldn't be able to integrate her into the rest of the house because of her FeLV cat. Judy, thank you so much for trying to help Vegas, but it almost appears that she is happy at the shelter. Maybe she does consider ICHS to be her home!
I need your help if I am to continue to feature the success stories which begin the moment your adopted companion chooses you. It is not difficult for me to write a paragraph that showcases your pet. The problem that I have is finding YOU and your pet. I don't know who you are or how to contact you. If you would be interested in sharing your pet's story in the newsletter, please e-mail me at email@example.com. A picture and a brief write-up about your pet(s) is all that I need. If I don't have enough info, I will get back to you. It would be helpful to know your pet's shelter name (if you renamed your pet), when you adopted, pet's favorite activities, other pets that you may have and whatever else you would like to include. If you are not able to send a picture, that's OK. Many of you send periodic updates regarding your adopted pet to the shelter. I can use those write-ups if you would please indicate (in your letter/e-mail to ICHS) that you are giving me permission to include your pet's story in the newsletter. I hope to hear from you!
I have been hearing about Angel's Wish for years, but as busy as I am with ICHS, I have never taken the time to find out more about this organization. When Angel's Wish took 17 of ICHS's cats on February1st and then made a return trip and took another 28 cats on February 21st, I decided that it was time to learn more. I contacted Amy Good (board president) and asked if it was OK if I stopped by and asked a few questions. Amy said, "Yes", and so I did.
Angel's Wish is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization that began back in 2000. Their goals are similar to most shelters/rescues: reduce overpopulation, rehome companion animals and raise awareness of animal welfare issues. They take in mostly cats but also a few dogs and birds as well. In addition to their adoption area, there is also a retail store featuring both essential and specialty items for animals. You'll find the pricing to be competitive with other suppliers. In 2014, Angel's Wish took in animals from nearly twenty WI counties as well as a few animals from other states. Their stats for animal adoptions are awesome (which is one of the reason why they asked for our cats – they were nearly out of cats)!!!
What is so cool about Angel's Wish is that the cats (and other animals) awaiting adoption live with foster families in a home environment during the week and then when the cat(s) is ready to be adopted, the foster families bring the cat(s) to the adoption center on weekends to meet prospective adopters. If the cat(s) don't find their special someone, they go back to the foster home until the next weekend. Angel's Wish has approximately 25+ foster families. Most of their foster families have other cats, dogs and kids so the cat(s) awaiting adoption is exposed to a home environment. This gives the Angel Wish volunteers more background on the cat(s) and helps adopters know if the cat will be "a good fit" for their family.
I visited Angel's Wish on Saturday, March 7. I met with Amy as well as several other volunteers – everyone was so friendly and knowledgeable. The site is very pleasant and spacious. A few of the ICHS cats were there when I visited. Georgie Girl (Rory) was napping – all stretched out – not concerned at all about what was going on. The 3 black Hollandale kitties – Hayden, Holden and Hooper - were piled on top of each other – extremely content! There were a few of the other ICHS "teenagers" there as well.
Here are the ICHS cats that went to Angel's Wish (* denotes adopted):
And just a quick update on 14 year olds Cupcake and Rolly. Amy fostered, and then adopted both after they fit in so well with Amy's other four seniors. Amy relayed, "Rolly acts like he's been here his whole life. He is my husband's lap kitty, runs through the house chasing toy mice, and gets along perfectly with all of our cats. Cupcake is probably our most playful cat and just loves being wherever we are. If we close a door, she paws at it until we open it – so much for her being a bit stand-offish!" If you remember Cupcake at ICHS, she NEVER sought attention; she just wanted to be left alone. Thank you, Amy, for giving these two precious seniors a home!
If you are in the Madison area on a weekend, I suggest that you stop by Angel's Wish in Verona. The Angel's Wish Pet Adoption and Resource Center is located at 161 Horizon Drive (turn at the McDonalds and it is just down the street) – very easy to locate. They are open from 10-4 on Saturdays and 1-4 on Sundays. Some of the foster families live on the east side of Madison so those cats can be seen at the PetSmart East on Madison's east side on Sundays from 1-4 PM.
Thank you, Amy and all of the volunteers, for helping find homes for so many of our ICHS cats and for all of the good that you are doing for animals! To learn more about Angel's Wish, go to www.angelswish.org
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