The end of the year is upon us and as we prepare to celebrate the holiday season, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle. There’s always so much to do and never seems to be enough time. At Special Pals Shelter, the end of the year is a busy time for us, too. During the holidays, we see an influx of people and animals come through our doors. On the positive side, we receive much needed donations of food, supplies, and treats from kindhearted souls. Our adoption numbers also increase; people are more apt to add a new furry friend to the family during the holidays. Unfortunately though, for every dog or cat we adopt out, we receive at least five requests to take in an animal with nowhere else to go. Owner surrenders and stray intakes increase dramatically in December, straining our limited resources.
2018 was a year of ups and down for Special Pals. We saw many successes in 2018. Feisty, one of our long-time residents, was adopted by a wonderful family and is now living in Iowa with kitty sister Khaleesi (who was also adopted from Special Pals). We partnered with Texas Chihuahua Rescue to transfer Carrot and Chica, a bonded pair of pups who had been with us for more than a year, into their program. Texas Chihuahua Rescue has tremendous success adopting bonded small dog pairs and we know they will find our sweet Carrot and Chica the perfect forever home. Our newly revamped volunteer program continues to grow by leaps and bounds, which is very exciting. Volunteers are the life blood of our organization. Without them, important programs like our Walk with a Friend Sunday dog walks would not be possible, nor would our incredibly hardworking staff have the added support needed to keep the shelter running each and every day.
But we also faced a number of challenges this year. Due to flooding caused by Harvey in 2017, many people were forced to surrender their animals because they were unable to find temporary housing that allowed pets, or they couldn’t afford to take care of their pets due to the cost of rebuilding their home. While we did everything in our power to keep pets with their owners, in many cases, it just wasn’t possible. We saw a greater influx of intakes in the first quarter of 2018 than we ever have before. Additionally, an outbreak of contagious disease over the summer affected our overall operations for nearly seven weeks. Containing, controlling, and eliminating the outbreak caused increased payroll and medical expenses and decreased the number of animals we could adopt out.
But our biggest setback has been from the significant decrease in the amount of funding we’ve received from foundations this year. Because we don’t receive any government funding, we rely heavily on grants to support our programs and operating costs. Due to the impact from Harvey, much of foundation funding was directed to hurricane relief and rebuilding.
As we head into the final days of 2018, we are in a situation we haven’t been in for quite some time. We are facing a funding shortage of approximately $20,000. We are humbly reaching out to our animal loving friends for support. A gift of any amount is greatly appreciated, and will help us continue our tireless work to
save homeless animals in the Houston community.
In 2019 Special Pals will celebrate its 40th anniversary. Over the years we have given thousands of homeless animals the chance to live a life they deserve… full of love and happiness. We are proud of the impact we’ve made on our community. But as they say, there is still much left to do. As Houston’s longest running no-kill shelter, we are dedicated to doing whatever we can to help homeless pets in need. But in order to do so, we need your help.
We realize there are many wonderful organizations asking for financial support during this time of year. But we hope there is room in your heart for the dogs and cats of Special Pals.
Can we count on you to help us ring in 2019 on a positive note?
We thank you so much for your support!
Click the images below to view this full letter and our end of year stats.