Good Shepherd director reports 'strong kitten season'
By Samantha Jones
It's raining kittens at Good Shepherd Humane Society Adoption Center.
Cole Wakefield, director of animal operations, reported on July 24 that the adoption center has seen a major influx of kittens over the past few weeks. Wakefield said the kitten season started later than anybody expected but "the kittens made up for the time."
"It seems to be pretty much all region wide that kittens are popping out like crazy," Wakefield said. "We continue to be at a low length of time for stays. We have some dogs who have been with us for a couple of months, and we're working really hard to make sure nobody's stuck in the back for a couple of years like they used to."
Like most nonprofits, Wakefield said, Good Shepherd has experienced a loss of income because of COVID-19. Wakefield said the thrift stores, which help fund the adoption center, closed for a few weeks at the beginning of the pandemic. Good Shepherd budgeted $182,000 in revenue by July, Wakefield said, but has brought in only $167,000.
"So that's a gap of almost $20,000 that we were counting on this year," Wakefield said.
Despite the revenue shortfall, Wakefield said, the adoption center has worked hard to reduce its expenses while increasing the quality and quantity of care. The adoption center had 45 live outcomes in June, including 40 adoptions. Wakefield said those numbers are looking even better for July, saying Good Shepherd has adopted out 43 animals and the month isn't even over yet.
"Our volume is almost double if not double than what we were doing last year and our operational expenses are almost $11,000 under budget," Wakefield said. "We've worked hard to find operational efficiencies to negotiate with vendors to do things differently so we get the best deals. We're making our limited money go further and we continue to find ways to do more with less."
Wakefield said Good Shepherd is upping its fundraising game, offering fundraisers that make sense during the pandemic. It will be a while before anybody can attend a big fundraiser in person, Wakefield said, so Good Shepherd is working on ways for supporters to donate online.
"We are working harder on electronic fundraising, which has been quite successful," Wakefield said. "We're doubling down on online fundraising. You'll see a pretty cool online auction soon."
There's no way to know what's going to happen in the coming months, Wakefield said, so the adoption center is gearing up to take in more animals if that becomes necessary. Wakefield said some people could get evicted when government assistance runs out, leaving their pets homeless.
"We're constantly trying to be prepared for that sort of event to happen, but the reality of it is we don't know how everything is going to go," Wakefield said. "This is unprecedented. We're just trying to … be judicious in our preparation but not paranoid to the point that we don't continue on our regular mission."
For those who would like to help, Wakefield said, Good Shepherd accepts donations of money, supplies and time. Wakefield encouraged people to volunteer at Good Shepherd, whether that's at the thrift stores or adoption center.
"The more we can do with volunteers, the less we have to pay somebody to do that which is more money that goes directly to animal care," Wakefield said.