November 14, 2019
Categories: Foster Programs, Apprenticeships
Dog and woman on a car ride

Pitt County Animal Services (PCAS) may not have a lot of resources, but that doesn’t keep them from trying new ideas to save lives.

In July of 2002 they took over shelter operations from the City of Greenville, NC. At that time, only 25% of animals were leaving the shelter alive. It’s been a long road, but in September of 2019 they had an 86% live release rate, their best to date.

How’d they do it? By opening their minds to new ideas, taking advantage of grant opportunities as well as the opportunity to learn from others.

“I will never be able to put adequately into words how much Maddie’s® Apprenticeship Program and Grant Opportunities have truly helped us transform our agency,” said Michele Whaley, Director of Pitt County Animal Services. “We have very limited resources and budget, and we would not be able to be as progressive as we have been and increase our live release rate without the opportunities we have been granted!”

In January of this year, the organization received a grant from Maddie’s Fund® to start a Doggy Day Out Program. They saw instant success and results almost immediately!

“We stay booked up for this now and it has increased our adoption rates, decreased length of stay for shelter dogs and we have gained many new volunteers and supporters from it!” explained Whaley. “We are now excited to soon begin a sleepover program as an extension of the Doggy Day Out Program.”

PCAS is no stranger to Maddie’s Apprenticeship Program, having participated in three already and has been accepted into two more. Whaley shared that a staff member will be traveling to Charlottesville, VA, in December 2019 for a Maddie’s® Apprenticeship to learn how to successfully begin the sleepover program. She fully expects the same instant success.

“This same staff member will also be going to Austin, TX, in January 2020 for another apprenticeship to learn how we can help our dogs with behavioral issues,” Whaley continued. “This is our main reason for euthanasia at our shelter currently!”

Shelter medicine has also been a struggle for the shelter, as they don’t have access to a veterinarian on staff. Thankfully, there was an apprenticeship for that, and they attended. “My shelter manager attended the Shelter Health Apprenticeship in Charleston, SC, and she learned several things to assist us with our shelter health which was incredibly helpful.”

As for Whaley, she personally attended the Leadership Academy in Austin, TX, last year as well as the Fostering Apprenticeship in Charleston, SC, both of which she describes as, “amazing.”

Whaley concluded, “We have come a long way, but still have a ways to go. Thanks to Maddie, we are getting there!”

Interested in attending a Maddie’s® Apprenticeship or two? Apply today! The application window closes on November 22nd, 2019.