“We didn’t want to see the vaccines go to waste,” House Rabbit Network foster parent Aimee Swartz tells us. “So we just picked the humane society we knew could really use them and that we work with a lot.”
The House Rabbit Network won the grant by coming in second in the state during the recent Animal Rescue Site Shelter+ Challenge. Like all second-place state winners in the online competition, the network received 100 dog or cat vaccines.
Unable to use them on their rabbits, the volunteers who run the organization decided to give the Lowell Humane Society 100 FRVCP vaccines to protect its cats against the upper-respiratory infections most common in shelters.
“It’s great,” says Jill O’Connell, executive director of the Lowell Humane Society, a private, open-admissions shelter that takes in nearly 2,000 homeless pets each year. “We are a pretty small shelter, but we consider ourselves pretty high-volume. The majority of our money is spent on medical costs, so this allows us to spend somewhere else.”
In the next Shelter+ Challenge, the House Rabbit Network plans to go for Massachusetts’ first-place prize — a cash grant, Swartz says. In the meantime, its vaccination grant will make a huge difference for nearby cats.
“We are just getting into kitten season,” O’Connell tells us, “and to vaccinate 100 cats is really going to help.”