March 24, 2020
In just a few short weeks, COVID-19 has changed almost everything in life: the way we interact with one another, the way we work, the way we play and shop, and even the way we think about the future.
But in the midst of this crisis, certain things remain the same: our concern for each other, our gratitude to you, and our commitment to the dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens we care for. Rest assured, North Shore Animal League America will never abandon our no-kill mission to Rescue, Nurture, Adopt, and Educate.
Because our top priority is the health and safety of our employees, their families, and our Mutt-i-grees®, we reacted immediately to the CDC’s directives by implementing strict safety guidelines for both cleanliness and “social distancing.” All doorknobs, counters, computers, and phones — any surface that might harbor the virus — are now regularly disinfected.
Likewise, to minimize the likelihood of spreading the virus, there are very few face-to-face interactions on our campus, and staff whose responsibilities allow it are working from home. We’ve also had to curtail veterinary services. Nevertheless, our dedicated medical team will keep our veterinary center open, though on a very limited basis and for sick patients and emergencies only.
Our incredible on-site staff and volunteers continue to provide loving, hands-on care for our animals. I want to express a special note of thanks to each of them. At this moment, they, along with our veterinary team, are the most important people in our community.
This unprecedented pandemic has impacted every aspect of our day-to-day operations. Most dramatically, we voluntarily closed our Adoption Center to the public. This was an extremely difficult but necessary decision. Our adoption team continues to coordinate with pre-approved adopters to complete the adoption process for many animals, but we’ve temporarily stopped accepting new pre-approval requests.
We’ve also cancelled several important public events and fundraisers, including our popular Lewyt Humane Awards Luncheon. Sadly, 2020 was to be our biggest and best year ever for both Tour For Life® and Global Pet Adoptathon®. For the first time in its 20-year history, we’ve had to call back our Tour For Life mobile adoption units, ending this amazing adoption effort way ahead of schedule. And we also had to downgrade Global Pet Adoptathon to a one-day adoption event on campus. Nevertheless, we continue to work hard on future events, even though we can’t be certain they will happen. What is certain is that our adoption numbers will drop, and our revenue will plummet.
We also anticipate that some people will want to relinquish animals they adopted from us because of illness, economic stress, or fear. We will work with these people and, if necessary, make room for their pets on our campus, though doing so will put even greater pressure on our resources.
Despite everything, we continue to find creative ways to save and nurture lives every day, and there are many beautiful moments to share with you. Earlier this month, for example, we kept our promise to more than 100 mainly small-breed mill dog survivors both young and old. We sent two mobile units to rescue them from deplorable mill conditions in Missouri and Oklahoma. Forty-five arrived safely on our campus; we transported the others to some of our great local shelter partners. Each dog received a loving welcome, followed by a vet exam, vaccinations, grooming, a behavioral evaluation, and medical treatment where needed. Some have already been adopted into the responsible, loving homes they deserve.
I invite you to look through our website and our Facebook page, where you’ll meet some of these new rescues, as well as other dogs and cats whose stories of resilience bring me hope and inspiration. Seeing their faces lifts my spirits, and I know it will do the same for you.
People are fond of saying these days that we’re all in this together, and I believe that’s absolutely true. For the many animals who need us now and in the future, the most important thing we can do together is keep calm and carry on.
With hope and thanks,
J. John Stevenson, President