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Every Creature Counts: Shelter+ Challenge Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The grant was use to remodel one of our 12 special cat cottages and complete our outside dog play areas. The cat cottages allow up to 12 cats to freely roam inside the 10x20 building with access to a fenced outside area. The outside dog play areas needed some special covering for sunscreens.

We have been able to start the remodel of our 12 cat cottages. The remodel will provide the cats with new shelving areas to lounge on and make it easier to clean. The dog outside play areas are now completely done. The dogs generally are in the play areas about four hours a day. The new sunscreens offer more comfort on a sunny day.

How many pets did this grant help?

Because the cat cottages are constantly in use, we really don't have a number, but it will be helping many cats for a very long time. The dog areas are used for our rescue dogs every day (weather permiting).

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Grayson is a male Rat Terrier who was surrendered to Every Creature Counts when he was two years old along with five other small dogs. His guardian had passed away and her family was not able to take care of her pets. Grayson was a very timid dog and was scared to be in a kennel. Unfortunately, his fear manifested itself as aggression in the kennel. He would bark and bare his teeth at people approaching him. The shelter staff understood that he would be harder to place for adoption since people were concerned that he might bite them.

Grayson was content to share a large kennel at the shelter with one of his former housemates. Over the course of a year, Grayson’s dog friends were adopted, but Grayson remained. Realizing that Grayson would be lost in the kennel without his friends, a foster parent took him home to work on his socialization skills with people. She recognized that Grayson needed some extra help in this area before he could be successfully adopted.

Grayson had a dramatic positive response to living in a home environment. He was still skittish but he followed his foster mom wherever she went around the house. He loved the other dogs in his foster home and initiated play with them. Soon he was sitting next to his foster mom, letting her pet him, and letting her pick him up. He showed no signs of aggression. One day, he got brave enough to take a treat from his foster mom’s hand. That was a huge step for him and confirmed that he was learning to trust. Then he started wagging his tail and holding his tail high as his confidence continued to build every day.

The foster mom and the shelter staff determined that Grayson was now ready for adoption to the right person. His ideal home would be a quiet home with another small dog. We updated his photos on Every Creature Counts’ website and on Petfinder. Within days, the picture of our shy little dog was seen by someone who was looking for another dog for her household. Grayson’s prospective new mom, Alison, lived with her 5-year-old female Rat Terrier and 7-year-old Devon Rex cat, which was the ideal situation for Grayson. After reviewing Alison’s adoption application, we arranged a meet-and-greet so Grayson could meet Alison and the other pets in his potential new home.

The meet-and-greet went very well — it was love at first site for his new mom! Grayson was adopted right then and there! Alison understood that Grayson needed a little extra patience and time and she was willing to provide him with everything he needed.

The first night all four family members found their places in Mom’s bed. Grayson was very comfortable cuddling with his new mom and dog sister. At 1 a.m., Grayson let Mom pick him up and he received his first of many kisses to come.

We now receive reports that Grayson continues to blossom every day. He loves his daily walks and comes when he is called. Grayson LOVES his big sister and he is trying to get his cat brother to realize that all he wants to do is play … but the cat doesn’t understand that yet. He continues to climb out of his shell and is happy, comfortable, and very much loved in his forever home.

Snow: How a Foster Home Can Make All the Difference
One cold January day, a little white ball of fur who would later be appropriately named Snow showed up on the doorstep of Every Creature Counts, a no-kill rescue organization in Fort Lupton, Colorado. She had been picked up off the streets by a local animal control agency and was in bad condition.

Snow was around a year old, was not spayed and was missing her ears. Soon, other things became apparent: She was deaf, she was sick with raging diarrhea, she was too thin and she was afraid of everyone and everything. To make matters worse, she would not eat and got very depressed at the shelter. She got the reputation of being the “mean cat” because she had been terrified to be in a cage and would bite and scratch anyone who tried to touch her. It would be a challenge to get her adopted.

Finally, a brave volunteer decided to take Snow home and foster her. Soon after arriving in her foster home, extensive fecal exams indicated that she had a rare parasite which is difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat. Snow was not easy to medicate due to her resistance to being touched. However, she quickly realized that her foster mother only wanted to help her.

After only a week, Snow began to eat and take her meds like a trooper! After seven months of various medications, special food and LOTS of love and attention, Snow grew into a beautiful, loving and playful cat who relished sitting on laps and being petted. What a transformation being in a foster home had on her! After recuperating in the dedicated care of her foster mother, Snow was adopted into a forever home and is now healthy, loving and loved, and doing wonderfully!

Snow’s guardian says that Snow brings her such joy that she smiles just thinking about her. She reports, “Snow is a very happy, healthy ball of fun who loves to be the center of attention. You would never know the difficult start she had in life. Foster parents rarely get the recognition they deserve, but thanks to their love and dedication, they change the world for those in their care and those who reap the benefits later, myself included. It’s funny that a little white ball of fluff can be so inspiring.”

Further Reading