When Covid-19 hit Plainfield Area Humane Society (PAHS) in Plainfield, NJ, their animal shelter population was higher than usual. They had 70 additional dogs and cats on top of their normal population, due to a hoarding case.
Thankfully when they put out the call to their community, they experienced an increase in both foster caregivers and adoptions. But due to Covid-19, veterinary care was harder for their fosters to access, as their veterinarian who usually came into the shelter was no longer working in-house.
“When a foster had a medical issue with their foster pet, they would bring it to the shelter so we could [provide] care, but now we had to send our fosters to veterinary hospitals, and that was an added cost,” said Elijah Brice-Middleton, Director of PAHS. When PAHS received the Pet Foster Stimulus grant, thanks to Maddie, they were able to use the grant to cover some of their medical expenses.
On the upside, PAHS was almost completely empty, allowing them to help other animal shelters. “We were able to pull [animals] from other shelters, and as soon as we would get an animal, it goes straight out the door,” said Brice-Middleton.
Another upside? Their turn around was faster than ever before, which was unique for them. “I just took over only a year ago,” shared Brice-Middleton. “The average length of stay when I took the shelter over was around six years, and now the average length of stay is at the most a month, but it’s really around a week or two.” They had a whole line of fosters and adopters who were eager to get a pet.
While their community has always showed a strong sense of support, they rallied to help even more so. “We’ve always had a really good response, but now we have to turn donations away, or we send our donations to [other animal welfare organizations],” said Brice-Middleton. With the large amounts of donations of dog food, paper towels, etc., they were able to create a Covid pantry to help pet owners who needed assistance to support their animals due to current financial restraints. The pantry offered food, litter and cleaning supplies.
Thanks to Maddie, PAHS was able to pivot their animal welfare organization to best meet the needs of their fosters when Covid challenges arose. From reducing their length of stay from six years to one month, to helping more pets and their people with the support of their community, PAHS has truly demonstrated that anything is possible!