Visit our Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter this Friday or Saturday and you won’t just see animals in the dog and cat adoption areas, you’ll see people too!
That's right, one employee, two board members, and two volunteers will be spending 24 hours in our adoption areas without the comforts of their home, family, or cell phone. They will live in the dog runs and cat colony rooms, experiencing meal times, play times, and socialization much like the animals awaiting adoption. Their goal? To experience a night without family and the comforts of home, putting themselves into the 'paws' of homeless animals to help raise awareness and funds for our Enrichment Program, which supports the behavioral and emotional health of shelter animals.
After the last Night Without A Family event, participants wrote down their thoughts and feelings in response to the exercise, providing excellent insight into the sensations and emotions that shelter animals may be experiencing. “We’ve made some changes to our daily animal care routines as a response to this event and the feedback we received,” says Sunniva Buck, Executive Director of Cape Ann Animal Aid. “We have made it a real priority to get shelter dogs out for regular off-site adventures and have created different visual barriers in the animal housing areas to help calm those that may be anxious or overwhelmed.”
Last year, we found loving homes for 1,440 animals and we expect that number to grow by at least 10% this year. Through all of this, our focus continues to be not just on providing food, shelter, and medical care for animals in need, but also on their mental and physical well-being. The Enrichment Fund provides things like interactive toys and feeders, obedience classes, behavior evaluations, agility equipment, play yard and trail maintenance, and calming supplements.
“By definition, the Enrichment Fund really does focus on enriching the lives of homeless animals, helping them to feel comfortable, learn new skills, and prevent boredom through things like play therapy, socialization, and training games while they are awaiting adoption,” says Buck. “As an added bonus, these activities also help make for more well-adjusted pets in their new homes.”
Night Without A Family participants have created online fundraising pages to help meet their collective goal of raising $5,000 for the Enrichment Fund. Donations are encouraged online, in person, or via mail and can be made in sponsorship of an individual participant or of the group as a whole. We are thrilled to share that just this morning, we hit the halfway mark in our fundraising goal!
The 24 hour experience begins at 3pm on Friday, March 2nd and will conclude at 3pm on Saturday, March 3rd. See the tentative schedule posted below! Members of the public are invited to visit with both the animal and human occupants during normal open hours. Of course, our staff will be ready to process adoptions of real shelter animals too, hoping that many will find homes at the same time. Updates and live broadcasts will be posted throughout the 24 hour stay on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
We are looking forward to an exciting weekend ahead. If all goes well, we hope to continue this event in future years, eventually including members of the public and even public officials in the immersive and unique event. What do you think of this event? Sound off in the comments below and stop by and visit this weekend!
Cape ann animal aid
An opportunity for you to learn more about the mission and programs of Cape Ann Animal Aid. Sharing candid insights, guest columns, breaking news, and of course, adorable photos of shelter animals.