*Below information from Melody Kelso at the Pet Connection*
A Gardner family was in tears tonight as they were reunited with their dog, now 15 years of age, Faith, Siberian Husky Mix, had been stolen by a boyfriend several years ago. Her family, including a 10 year old boy, never found their family member. Prior to her disappearance, family portraits, vacations, and sleeping in the bed were her known routine. It's hard to believe that a dog so loved barely escaped death and survived on her own, at large, malnutritioned, deaf, blind, crippled, and alone.
The family didn't even know it might be possible that their once beloved pet was still alive. Imagine their surprise when they discovered Medora was currently residing at The Pet Connection's cageless facility in Mission. It is because of The Pet Connection that the Ray of Hope program faciliated by the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City, is able to take in so many special needs pets. This service to the community has perpetuated the KCK animal control to drop their statistics from 73% to .3%. At TPC, the genuine philosophy is that all pets should live out as natural a life as possible and be allowed to perform as pets until that dying day. Because of that philosophy to value each life, Medora can start her old life again tomorrow as the Faith that she once was.
Ray of Hope started almost 2 years ago and has only made improvements. Once a place where stray animals went to die at a whopping 73%, this is no longer the case, but efforts to keep it that way need to be reinforced. In the past 2 weeks, TPC has had to turn away dogs in their network because of budget constraints. Rebounding from program changes that had huge financial repercussions, TPC has now had to scrap it's current budget and start over. The challenge is developing temporary funding through donations so that lives can continually be saved. HSGKC and TPC have both been put under the gun while trying to keep this program past just a launch stage. Only 8 dogs have lost their lives this calendar year because of the efforts, putting our local systems in line for national attention and funding. It would be tragic if the effort could not continue when every city should be making strides towards a time when no animals are killed.
Kelso knows that adoption programs like The Pet Connection routinely rescues and rehomes pets that were just lost but failed by the current systems. Improvements have been made in the past few years, but many shelters state reuniting pets with owners as their primary mission and pass the matching responsibilty to not for profits who are underfunded and underinformed. This program gap needs to be approached so that resources for rehoming aren't unnecessarily used and lost pets aren't unnecessarily killed. TPC has pulled dogs from animal control facilities, found their microchips, and returned them to their owners. If the pet had not been pulled, it could not have been reunited.
In 2008, Medora (AKA Faith) could have been another statistics: old, malnutritioned... the assumption would have been a dumped dog, an uncared for dog and the outcome would have been euthanasia. Because of The Pet Connection, special needs and rehabilitated pets can easily be rescued. Elderly pets are no longer considered unadoptable and pit bulls, mixes thereof, black dogs, and feral cats are all considered a part of the family. The cageless environment attracts a large range of volunteers who enjoy and benefit from Medora's existence. While in our facility, Medora worked with a wide range of people including elderly, special needs, and juveniles. Everyone should value life and be taught how to care for aging pets so the responsibiltiy is known fully. TPC also maintains a group of behavioral volunteers and staff that help rehabilitate and care for pets who otherwise would NEVER get a second chance. Their agreement to take 4 dogs a week has routinely been shifted to 15, making TPC one of the largest contributing organizations to the cause. However, in the past few weeks, this open door policy trend at The Pet Connection has continued to be threatened by lack of funding and other challenging obstacles. TPC is awaiting on promised funding and has had to stop taking in pets. Even though this large shelter operates on a small budget, this years responsibilities have been compromised and requests for more assistance have been made.
Regardless of the outcome, TPC has continued to take in the pets that they committed too, knowing that death was the likely outcome. Melody Kelso, Founding Director, loses a lot of sleep and meals trying to make sure that this 16 year project to bring no kill agendas to Kansas City doesn't come to an abrupt end. Budgetary shortages are often a part of the challenges when organizations do not have departments dedicated to fundraising. However, TPC's staff consists of community members who wanted to see animal shelter reform happen 15 years ago and have been working towards that goal.
Faith will be going home tomorrow afternoon. In the past 10 years, TPC has serviced 33,000 pets in the Kansas City area on a very small budget. The help that is given will directly help animals in our community. We are so happy to have had a little Faith. We are also glad to share Faith with her family and this community. Volunteer time, membership funding, and supplies are needed to give the program longevity.
If you have lost or found a pet, please contact kcpetconnect.org and your local animal control departments. Flyers should be displayed in the area where the pet was last seen. Don't give up easily, talk to someone at The Pet Connection or use the above resources to insure that all leads are exhausted. Please contact Melody Kelso personally for lost and found help. Reunite is much better than readopt.