It has been quite a year for the animals in our care, the staff and volunteers, and the families we were able to help. From achieving our first-ever no-kill year to starting the Stay Together Fund, we took a look back at our 10 favorite moments of 2020 and realized that we have so much to be thankful for.
This list is in no particular order! As you can imagine, it would be too difficult to rank these moments, as they all have special places in our hearts!
Amazing community support
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early March, there was uncertainty about remaining open, so LifeLine put out a call for adopters and fosters. Thanks to amazing community support, over 1,100 pets were adopted or fostered in just one week!
The first no-kill year ever!
It was a busy year as we worked super hard to save every life possible. For the first time ever, both our county shelters achieved no-kill levels of 90% for the entire year! That’s a two-time achievement for DeKalb County Animal Services. From January to November 2020, we saved over 11,500 dogs, cats and a few others (horses, pigs, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and more!)
Two big Pets for Life milestones
The pandemic hit pet owners who were already struggling harder than most. Our Pets for Life team responded to increased requests for food, supplies and veterinary care throughout the pandemic, all of which we’ve delivered and provided free of charge. From March to June 2020, our Pets for Life program provided 2,469 free medicine/medical services. They also hit two milestones: Serving their 10,000th client and 20,000th pet.
A nationwide initiative to transform sheltering
As a result of the outpouring of community support across the country, a national initiative, called Human Animal Support Services (HASS), formed. LifeLine was proud to be selected as one of 14 pilot shelters working together on significant transformations in animal welfare and lifesaving efforts.
700+ lives at rural shelters saved
When LifeLine learned that we could remain open and many rural shelters were closing, we rescued 731 animals who were at risk for euthanasia, including 343 dogs and 388 cats, from rural shelters.
Provided over 15,000 microchips
Something as simple as a microchip can have a profound effect. We’ve been a part of many pet reunions, thanks to simply scanning a microchip and connecting with the owner. The 15,000 microchips we provided enabled many happy reunions like this one.
Over 4,000 foster homes joined our foster program
Since animals do much better in homes than in the shelters, we worked hard to expand our foster program. As a result, from March to June 2020, 2,680 shelter pets moved from our shelters into foster homes, and over 50% of the pets in our care now live in foster homes. We also hired six new foster employees who are the driving force behind establishing and implementing new foster strategies.
Expanded our shelter services to better serve the community
To help struggling pet owners find resources and solutions, LifeLine created a Community Programs team with nine new positions. Now, caseworkers at each shelter take a case-management approach to better assist pet owners and their animals in need. Additionally, we’ve added three client ambassador positions and six behavioral caseworkers and specialists to help animals with behavioral issues, both in the community and in the shelters.
Joy for seniors
From shelter dogs visiting the windows of quarantined Seniors at an assisted living facility, to watching pets like Cookie walk again, animals continue to make our community smile.
The Stay Together Fund
Realizing that humans aren’t the only ones affected by the financial impact of COVID-19, we started the Stay Together Fund to help keep people and their pets together during tough financial times. Thanks to the fund, pets don’t suffer or have to be surrendered because their owners can’t pay full price for expert veterinary care.
We wish everyone a very happy new year, and we hope you’ll continue to follow and support the work we’re doing to save lives. Happy Holidays!