It begins with a phone call, an email, a blur darting through the woods in the periphery. Every day, Columbus Pet Rescue is responding to people throughout Central Ohio seeking help for abandoned animals in their area. They come from all over - dilapidated buildings about to be destroyed still full of homeless animals, garbage-filled brush camouflaging nursing mothers, neighborhoods with bushes full of lonely kitties left behind by neighbors long gone.
So our volunteers get right to work, heading out to these locations in all kinds of weather. They bring several Have A Heart live bait traps that run at about $60 a piece, plenty of food, water, blankets, and flashlights. After setting up the traps, we sit quietly nearby. Traps are never left out unattended, so volunteers wait patiently for hours just hoping to coax some curious kitties in. Sometimes the wrong critters wander in, leaving our volunteers with the task of releasing skunks, possums, you name it, we've probably trapped it. Other times we leave empty handed only to return again the next day and start the process again. At least 30 hours a week are spent outside trapping.
After a cat is caught safely in a trap, they are taken directly to the vet to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated, treated for fleas, ticks, and worms, and tested for disease. If they are caught after business hours and do not require emergent veterinary attention, they spend the night in a cage at home with one of our fosters. Each cage costs about $120, not including the bowls of food and water, toys, litter, warm blankets and animal beds set inside to make them comfortable. When they reach the clinic, they receive $115-130 of standard veterinary care, though those that are sick or injured will have significantly higher bills.
Once the animal is seen and altered by the veterinarian, they need time to recover safely. So the volunteer returns to the clinic to pick them up with a $20 animal carrier in-hand for each individual cat. They go home for a minimum of 48 hours to recover indoors where they are safe and without risk of infection, injury, or predation. During the recovery period, volunteers assess the animal's behavior to decide if they will be adoptable. If the animal is feral, the volunteer will return to the clinic to have the left ear tipped, a signal to other rescuers that they have already been caught, altered, and released. In good weather, they can be released rather quickly as long as they have healed well in the first 48 hours. However, in bad weather they may be house guests for up to a week.
At this point, you can see that a lot of time, energy, and money have been dedicated to animals simply in hopes of being able to adopt them into loving forever homes. However, only a portion will be adoptable and the rest will be released. In the instances of release where the previous structure sheltering the stray(s) is being destroyed, our volunteers will take the time to set up hidden shelter for them to move into, often using hay bales or animal houses that are tucked away where no one will bother them and they will bother no one.
The best part of the rescue story is when they are healthy and ready to go home to the perfect forever home, chosen with incredible care. We are so proud of these adoptions that we continue to post many of their faces in our adopted section as a reminder of why we work so hard and remain motivated to keep going. We also continue to stay in touch with the adopters to make sure the animal is adjusting well and continue to share their success by keeping up with our section about how they're doing now!
As of March, Columbus Pet Rescue celebrated having found loving homes for 1,447 animals in the last year, and we are still going strong! Please help us to continue our hard work by making a contribution that will change the life of an animal. Our adoption fees will not even cover the standard veterinary care each cat receives, and we depend heavily on donations to help us make the ends meet. We have several great ways for you to give back that benefit you as well, just take a look at our donation page for more information!
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We would also like to introduce a new way to support Columbus Pet Rescue! A local artist has generously offered to sell her fine handmade jewelry, Lovey Couture, at a discounted price and donate 100% of the proceeds to Columbus Pet Rescue in support of animal welfare! Each piece is one of a kind, made with semi-precious stones, high end Givenchy and Chanel crystals, fresh water pearls, and beautiful metal work that is not only eye-catching but now life-saving as well! You can view the full gallery of currently available jewelry on sale here.