During this time of crisis, the world continues to change with an unsettling uncertainty. Yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes the country into another week of quarantine, for the lives of all the animals at North Shore Animal League America it’s just another day in the dog park.
Thanks to the dedicated team at our Port Washington, NY campus, the day-to-day routine for our dogs, cats, puppies and kittens has been uninterrupted. Keeping this level of consistency is no small feat in this new world. With reduced staff in all areas of the shelter and medical center due to illness, and state-mandated guidelines for stopping the spread of COVID-19, every available team member from kennel staff to custodial services has truly gone above and beyond.
Our front line is comprised of kennel staff and volunteers who make sure that every animal gets the same attention and nurturing care they deserve. Whether it’s playtime for the puppies and kittens for a little socialization, giving a senior cat an extended belly rub, or giving the larger dogs more time for fetch on one of their daily walks, this consistent care is what makes all the difference in the life of a homeless animal. “Enrichment is important. We are using interactive toys for our felines along with the usual petting, socializing,” said Diane Johnson, Vice President of Shelter Operations. “Enrichment for our dogs includes longer walks, more park time, and play groups to interact with other dogs.”
In addition to the day-to-day care for the animals, our team continues to work hard to try to find them all loving, responsible homes. “We are reaching out to all of our pre-approved adopters,” Diane explains. “We have a tremendous demand from potential adopters looking to find a companion. We just have to make sure it is the right fit for the adopter as well as the pets.” The team is setting up appointments every day for potential adopters to come to the shelter and meet their potential new best friends.
Equal importance is given for the health and well-being of our team, and all who enter our facility. Our Adoption Center is cleaned on a regular basis, which includes sanitizing cages, kennels, and communal areas several times a day. This cleaning regimen has been increased to include periodic cleaning of door handles and surfaces in all common areas. As standard procedure, hand sanitizer is available throughout both our Lewyt Canine Adoption Center and Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center. Our restrooms also include antibacterial soap for handwashing.
Pet Health Centers
Also working with a reduced staff, and In the interest of public safety, our Pet Health Centers have had to cancel all elective procedures and wellness appointments. However, we remain open for sick patients and emergency cases ONLY.
A vet tech discusses a patient while practicing social distancing.
In an effort to maintain social distancing, the PHC team has started a greeter program that allows pet parents to bring their sick pets to see a vet without having to come into the building themselves. A vet tech meets them in the parking lot, and while the owner remains in their car the tech will take a full history of the animals’ situation. Then, while covered in protective equipment, the vet tech will take the animal from the car and inside for their veterinary examination. The owner will then be updated on their cell phone of their pet’s condition. This program has been in place for several weeks and has received a great response from clients.
We have also ramped up our already stringent cleaning protocols in all communal areas of the Pet Health Centers. As a veterinary hospital we regularly use cleaners that are effective at killing germs, including coronaviruses.
In addition to the heroes on our front line, we have a vast team working behind the scenes to keep Animal League America running. The team continues to work hard every day to remain true to the mission that started over 75 years ago – to continue to be the world’s largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization.