Animals in Distress (AID) Needs Your Aid
Mar 02, 2015 01:14AM
By Elizabeth Reed
Did you know animal shelters need your help to survive? The American Humane Society statistics show that nationwide more than five million animals (cats and dogs) enter shelters each year because they are homeless, lost, abandoned or relinquished for some reason. The goal of an animal shelter is to provide a safe and caring environment until a pet’s owner claims it or it is placed in a new home or with another organization for adoption. However, in many cases, animals may be euthanized if they are not adopted within one to two weeks after arriving at some public shelters. The staggering reality is that 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats are euthanized each year at shelters with this policy.
The good news is that most private animal shelters are now typically run as no-kill shelters. One such notable shelter, founded in 1964, is Animals In Distress (AID), located in Wilton. AID is a free-roaming, no-kill cat shelter with no time limits placed on the length of residence. This nonprofit organization is fully staffed by volunteers who are dedicated to the caring and socialization of cats and kittens to ensure that they are ready for adoption to forever homes.
What makes AID unique is that 100 percent of all donations are used for the caring of their cats, not on advertising or promotional gifts for patrons. It is expensive to run a shelter and they could not exist without the generous donations provided by patrons. Vet bills make up the largest share of expenses for all shelters. The average cost for a new cat or kitten coming into a shelter is approximately $150 for neutering/spaying, medical checkups, shots and bloodwork, including FIV/FeLV testing. The second largest medical expense is for dental or unforeseen medical issues. These expenses are followed by general shelter costs for food, litter, cleaning supplies and miscellaneous necessities.
AID can hold a maximum of 30 cats. “We try to stagger incoming cats so there is less stress amongst cats already here. In many cases, our volunteers and foster families will temporarily house incoming animals to assist in their transition,” explains Katherine Reid, the president of AID. “All new arrivals at AID start their shelter life in crates until they are acclimated. This can take anywhere from overnight to three months or more for a cat to come out of the crate on its own. The shelter’s free-roaming environment makes for a more socialized pet ready for adoption. We are able to evaluate and learn each cat’s personality. We recognize and recommend if a cat would be better suited for a single pet home or if they would be more suited in a multi-pet household. During their stay, many cats form friendships and bond with other shelter cats. In such cases, it would be ideal for a patron to adopt a bonded pair.”
The dedicated volunteers who work at AID put a great deal of effort into every cat that comes to the shelter. “Each cat is like a child to the volunteers at AID. We invest our personal emotions, time and effort into each cat we rescue. We are rewarded tenfold through the care we administer to each cat and kitten we nurse back to health, socialize, and then place into a loving forever family,” says Reid.
Connie Henrici, AID’s Treasurer, has been a volunteer since 1999 and has seen a change in the shelter since Reid took over its management. “Since Ms. Reid took over managing the shelter three years ago, Animals in Distress has successfully paired countless people with wonderful cats. Katherine is so dedicated to the plight of cats in need that she will answer rescue calls in the middle of the night. She has made a real difference in all aspects of making this a terrific shelter.” says Henrici.
As of 2014, the number of companion cats in American households is 95.6 million and the average household has two cats. Cats currently outrank man’s best friend, the dog, as the most popular pet in America. Fundraising for shelters is always a challenge. If you are interested in supporting shelters’ efforts but are unable to foster or adopt a cat, consider helping a local shelter financially with a donation. Without the public’s financial support, no-kill shelters like AID could not exist. In order for shelters to stay open and continue their humanitarian rescue work, they need a influx of funds along with steady adoptions.
Elizabeth Reed, MS, CNS, is the owner of BodySmart, a boutique fitness and weight loss studio in Monroe. She is a clinical nutritionist, public speaker, PMA-certified pilates teacher and NASM personal trainer. Connect with her at 203-767-0623, Facebook.com/BodySmart or BodySmart.cc.
For more information, call 203-762-2006 or visit Facebook.com/Animals-In-Distress or Animals-In-Distress.com. Location: Animals in Distress, 238 Danbury Rd (behind Wilton Town Hall), Wilton. The shelter is open Saturdays 1 to 4 pm or by appointment.