Friday, February 11, 2011

Did you know...

...that 2010 was an incredible year for RAL? It's true! It was so great that it has taken us this long to wrap it up!
  • We were off and running in January preparing for the exciting opening of our new clinic, the Loving Spay + Neuter Clinic (LSNC). The only high-volume, low-cost spay/neuter clinic south of the James River, LSNC was awarded a contract with Chesterfield and Prince George County to spay and neuter every animal before an adoption takes place. The clinic offers free spay and neuters to feral cats and those without the resources to pay to have their pets spayed/neutered. Dr. Laura Drinkwine performed close to 4,000 procedures since the opening of the clinic in February.
  • February was a great month to recognize our foster program. Led by Pam Bridgmon and Pat Trombley, RAL’s foster program allows us to save even more animals than we have space for in the shelter. Fosters are called on not just when the shelter is full, but when an animal needs a little extra attention or has been at the shelter for a very long time. Iggy, our beautiful white adult cat recently had knee surgery and is recovering in a loving home. Very young puppies and kittens are fostered until they are old enough to be adopted. Puck, one of our three-legged wonders, in currently getting love, attention, and rehab with a dedicated foster. Our fosters are an integral and vital part of our ability to rescue and save as many animals as we do!
  • In March our volunteers were finally given a break from all that snow and cold weather! We count on our volunteers every day to make sure that our cats and dogs are feed, clean, and happy. Despite snow, rain, freezing temperatures, holidays, and busy lives of their own, our volunteers show up time and time again to help. RAL has always counted on volunteers, but we have more volunteers than ever before, and they perform at the most professional level. We could never do what we do without them!
  • April saw the very first Metro Richmond Pet Savers (MRPS) adoption event! The dream of reducing euthanasia rates in our community was realized as rescue groups worked together and the first massive adopt-a-thon was held. Participating groups pull animals from municipal shelters who need our help and offer those animals for adoption at these events. More than 600 animals have been pulled from shelters that may not have been able to keep the animals much longer. That means more than 600 lives saved. MRPS has not slowed down—even during the colder months. In fact, the coalition continues to grow. On the second Saturday of each month MRPS will be at a PetSMART near you (visit for details).
  • May meant WOOFSTOCK! It was a beautiful day on Monument Avenue! Woofstock is a time to play! The day begins with Strut Your Mutt, a fundraising walk benefiting all of the animals in our care. There is music, food, beer, doggy fashion shows, training demonstrations, agility courses, and DOGS, DOGS, DOGS. It’s the most fun you can have with your leash on.
  • Richmond Animal League quietly celebrates a birthday in June. RAL was incorporated on June 10, 1979. Even from the humble beginnings, RAL has been a no-kill shelter. Most, if not all, shelters aspire to be no-kill. Lack of space and resources, and the seemingly endless stream of homeless animals make this very difficult. With careful planning, dedicated volunteers, incredible community support and teamwork RAL was able to start out as a no-kill shelter, and continue for more than 30 years.
  • In July, RAL staff and volunteers attended the Virginia State Animal Rescue Team summit to gain information about forming a Community Animal Response Team (CART) in Chesterfield County. Within weeks we had plans to recruit and train volunteers and met with county officials to get the ball rolling. A CART in our county would ensure that there is a plan in place to care for domestic animals in the event of an emergency, evacuation, or natural disaster. It’s not a matter of if, but when a CART will be needed. We’ll be there when you need us!
  • August. Oh, the dog days of summer were celebrated when our cats were finally able to shake ringworm! Brought into the shelter through a few cats that were part of a hoarding case, ringworm necessitated isolation, confinement, medication, and resulted in no cats being available for adoption. Through hard work and diligence all of the cats were eventually given a clean bill of health and were able to get on with their lives and bat their eyes at potential adopters!
  • We had to step it up in September to increase adoptions to make up for the slow months of ringworm. RAL brings in around 800 animals each year, and the faster we can find them loving and permanent homes, the more we can bring in. We work closely with county shelters and local rescue groups to maximize the number of animals we can save. An adoptions committee was formed and started to come up with plans to “push the fur.”
  • The first adoption specials were held in October with adoption fees on all orange or orange and white cats reduced. Mr. Shoo posed for a photo in a pumpkin and we were able to adopt 10 cats that month! Happy Halloween, indeed!
  • November brought the grand finale of Best in Show! Seven candidates had embarked on a 12-week fundraising blitz to vie for the crown! Every dollar counted as a vote, and the candidate with the most votes won. Special thanks to Tarra Balcom, Ashley Carroll, Dee Bogetti, Natalie Wier, Carly Keating, Suellen Christeller and Heather Mullican. The efforts of these women resulted in more than $78,000 for the animals in our care! Ashley Carroll took home the crown for Best in Show 2010. If that wasn’t enough good news for November, we opened a thrift store in the village of Midlothian. Reuse sells household goods, books, jewelry, and a few pet supplies. All proceeds from the store further RAL’s mission of SAVING LIVES: providing hope, help and homes to animals in need.
  • As the year drew to an end, MRPS held a holiday-themed adoption event and Santa came to hear all the wishes of our cats and dogs (he was not surprised that “a home” was the most common Christmas wish). The end of the year is a special time to reflect—and to look forward. As we looked back over the year, it seemed right to us that Family Dog Digest and Lite 98 chose the president of our board, Sharon Cornett, as the first ever Pet Person of the Year. Sharon has led us through all of the good news this year, and is pulling us into 2011.


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