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Animal rescues push through pandemic

Humans are having trouble taking care of themselves lately, much less taking care of homeless animals.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused Delaware animal rescue centers to struggle with funding, volunteers and finding adopters.

Delaware’s contracted animal shelter partner is the Brandywine Valley SPCA. Any strays picked up by animal control go to their shelters. Our websites feature an adoptable pet from Brandywine every Friday, so be sure to check them out.

However, the First State is full of smaller animal rescues. Some have brick-and-mortar shelters with a few employees, but many operate solely through foster homes and with unpaid volunteers.

COVID-19 has dealt them a unique blow. The animals they help still need homes, and the rescues still need the resources to find them.

Grass Roots Rescue

Location: Foster-based out of Milton.

Director: Karli Crenshaw

Animals in rescue: 60 dogs, 1 cat

Lap dogs like Chance come in all sizes.

COVID-19 challenges: “Our biggest challenges have been our inability to hold adoption events … and getting veterinary care in a timely manner. The concern about whether or not people will still be able to make donations we rely on has also been worrisome,” Crenshaw said.

How can people help? By adopting, fostering and donating supplies or money.

Featured adoptable pet: Chance is five or six years old. He loves other dogs of all shapes and sizes and would love to go to a home with other fur-siblings. Chance is house-trained and does fine alone in the house, with or without a crate. He does not like loud noises.

First State Animal Center and SPCA

Location: 32 Shelter Circle, Camden

Director: John Parana

Animals in rescue: About 130 dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, horses, goats – you name it.

Sweet Pea loves going out with Runners for Rescue on the weekends.

COVID-19 challenges: “The largest challenge has been having enough workers to take care of the animals. We did have quite a bit of employees that were exposed and have had to take time off,” Parana said. “The other problem is we cannot just let people come in and view our animals because we have to limit it to two at a time. We’ve been affected pretty much the same way all retail establishments have.”

Featured adoptable pet: Sweet Pea has been at First State for two years. She is a high-energy pitbull mix. Her favorite activity is going for runs on the leash with Runners for Rescue on the weekends. Sweet Pea would like to be the only pet in the home and, because she is so high-energy, a home without small children would be best.

How can people help? Donate. First State’s bills go up in the summer because they air-condition all their kennels.

Encore Animal Rescue

Location: Foster-based out of Camden.

Director: Brittani Howell

Animals in rescue: 12 dogs

Alvin has been looking for a home longer than any other animal at Encore.

COVID-19 challenges: “Face masks can make dogs leery, so that can be off-putting with initial meetings,” Howell said. “And the veterinarians we work with have been inundated, causing longer waits for appointments necessary to place a dog into a forever home.”

Featured adoptable pet: Alvin is a 12-year-old mixed-breed dreaming of a quiet home where he can spend all his time next to his person or people, without other pets. A retired person or couple would be great for Alvin.

How can people help? “We would love to add more members to our foster family – the more fosters we have the more animals we can save,” Howell said. “We are 100% volunteer-based and run off support from the community, so monetary donations are very appreciated and help us offset endless but life-saving vet expenses.”

Renee’s Rescues

Location: Foster-based out of New Castle County.

Director: Renee Martini

Animals in rescue: About 32

Timba and her foster, Silas Fielder.

COVID-19 challenges: Fundraising. “We haven’t been able to do any face-to-face events in months. It caught us off guard, as we have had to change the ways in which we raise money,” said Renee’s Rescues Vice President Chelsea Kirk.

Featured adoptable pet: Timba is a purebred, seven-year-old German shepherd female. She has some gastrointestinal issues that are treated with monthly medication, which she will be on for life. She is dog friendly and shares a foster home with several other large-breed dogs, but no cats for her. Previous shepherd experience is important in potential adopters.

How can people help? Donate. Renee’s Rescues averages around $6,000 a month in veterinary expenses. If you can’t donate, simply sharing the rescue’s Facebook posts is a big help, too.

Delaware Humane Association

Locations: 701 A St., Wilmington, and 18675 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach

Director: Patrick Carroll

Animals in rescue: Around 300 of many different species.

COVID-19 challenges: “For being thrown into a pandemic suddenly and unexpectedly, we actually do not feel we have been struggling. We’ve actually been thriving with an increase in adoptions and foster home placements, and our donors continue to give!” said marketing manager Cory Topel. “However, there are two challenging areas that come to mind. The first is that we have had to cancel all of our fundraising events this year, which is a large portion of our revenue budget. Also, with visitor and volunteer restrictions and being unable to accept used items, there has been a dramatic decline of in-kind donations that are so critical to our daily operations.”

How can people help? Donate money and supplies. Fundraising events have been canceled this year. Linens, blankets, towels, wet cat food, and other supplies are also urgently needed. Also, adopt or foster an animal!

Brady is a little shy but just needs time to get to know a potential adopter.

Featured adoptable pets: Cats Brady and Tanya have both been with DHA for over 440 days. “Although these cats are good with other cats they are far more on the shy side, so they continue to be overlooked for more outgoing cats.”

As for dogs, Zeke has been at the shelter for over 150 days. He gets along with other dogs but needs a home without cats. He’s also done well with kids he’s met. Rhonda hasn’t been at the humane association that long, but prior to arriving there, she was at a shelter in Georgia for about eight months. She’s a “big, lazy, snorty piggy.” She is also heartworm positive but is being treated.

Doggone Happy Animal Rescue

Locations: Foster-based out of Harrington.

Director: Dawn Mitchell

Animals in rescue: 54

COVID-19 challenges: Transporting animals. "We do most of our own because I like knowing who the dogs are with," Mitchell said. "But it's difficult going to other states because everyone has different rules and quarantine requirements." 

How can people help? Doggone's biggest needs are food (puppy and adult), beds, leashes, collars and harnesses.

Gypsy loves car rides.

Featured adoptable pet: Gypsy has been with Doggone longer than any other animal. She’s a four-year-old pittie who loves car rides and all the attention she can get. She needs a strong handler.

Faithful Friends Animal Society

Locations: 12 Germany Drive, Wilmington, and many foster homes.

Director: Jane Pierantozzi

Animals in rescue: 62 dogs and 450 cats

COVID-19 challenges: "Our biggest challenge has been fundraising to support our daily operations, due to changes with how we typically interact with donors," said Faithful Friends spokesperson Shannon O'Neill. "We transitioned our major in-person event to a virtual platform, other events have been cancelled or postponed and we aren't able to see our supporters in-person as much during this time." 

How can people help? By adopting, fostering or donating - money or supplies. Faithful Friends also has an Amazon wish list.

Jetta has been at Faithful Friends since 2012.

Featured adoptable pet: Jetta has been at the Faithful Friends shelter since 2012! She is an exceptionally sweet cat, who loves to greet everyone and follow her favorite people around the shelter. Jetta has been overlooked because of her age and her "seasonal sniffles." Jetta has plenty of experience living with other cats and dogs.

For more photos of adoptable animals featured here, see the photo gallery at the top of the page.