2018: Quite a Year!

by Lee Chambers

Plum, the 1,000th patient in Dakin's Kitten ICU


This past year brought some incredible moments to Dakin. Thanks to support from so many, we were able to improve the lives of animals (and the people who love them) both nearby and far away. New programs allowed us to work more efficiently and encouraged innovative thinking, and everyone benefitted. All this and more because you cared and wanted to help animals. Thanks for your support, and join us for a look back at a great year:

Jackson Galaxy Said We Have Cat Mojo – Esteemed Cat Behaviorist Jackson Galaxy selected Dakin to participate in his Spring ’18 Cat Pawsitive Pro program. Through this program, a team of our volunteers and staff learned how to enrich the lives of shelter cats, decrease their stress and make them more inclined to interact with prospective adopters. Two months later, Jackson’s group held a national high-five contest to find the best feline high-five giver. Of all the entrants, top honors went to Dakin when a three-legged shelter cat named Mimi was videotaped high-fiving Animal Caregiver Bethany Terry. Mimi, who had just recovered from an amputation days earlier, gamely re-learned the trick using her remaining front paw. The video earned Dakin a $5,000 grant from GreaterGood.org, plus 10,000 bowls of pet food from Halo Pets.  View Jackson Galaxy's video here

Now Serving 80,000 - We celebrated our 80,000th patient in the Dakin Community Spay/Neuter Clinic. She was a seven-month-old miniature schnauzer named Sasha. Read more here

Spay Days of Summer – We held monthly Free Feral Spay Days during the summer months. People who humanely trap feral cats using TNR (trap/neuter/return) techniques were able to bring them to Dakin for surgery at no fee on those designated days.

Kittens and Puppies Cure Mid-Winter Blues – We rarely see puppies or kittens in the winter, but it happened in the beginning of the year. We had a litter each of puppies and kittens that needed socialization with people, and we hatched our first Pop-Up events. During them, people hunker down on the floor and play with these baby animals, with all proceeds helping animals in our care. People got a delightful fix of baby animal cuddling, and the tiny ones got used to being handled by humans. Win/win! Read more here

No Trouble Brewing at Mystic Brewery – Dakin’s barn cats have customarily been placed in barns, garages, warehouses and other outbuildings, but with the arrival of more breweries and wineries, we started encouraging the placement of barn cats in those settings to keep pests away. In July, Mystic Brewery in Chelsea, MA became the first brewery to adopt barn cats (Blep and Tortie) and put them to work!

Helping Pets Facing Disaster – When gas explosions destroyed homes in eastern MA, and Hurricane Florence ravaged the Carolinas, Dakin accepted pets that were already in shelter in both areas. This allowed area shelters to take in pets displaced by disaster that needed to stay local and be reunited with their families. We already had 400 animals in our care at that time, and when we asked folks to consider adopting, so many did. We thank you!

Nick’s Nursery Milestone – During the summer Nick’s treated its 1,000th patient; a tiny, feral tuxedo kitten named Plum who recovered and was later adopted. This was the fifth season the Nursery treated at-risk, neonatal kittens.

Dr. Sherri to the Rescue – In November, our own Dr. Sherri Therrien, a veterinarian at our Community Spay/Neuter Clinic, participated in a Spayathon sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States in Puerto Rico. Her team spayed or neutered over 3,000 dogs and cats in six days. The island has been struggling to help homeless animals, especially since Hurricane Maria hit last year. Read more here

Smile! – Dakin received a $15,000 grant from the Banfield Foundation that enabled us to purchase veterinary dental equipment and models of feline and canine mouths (excellent for teaching). Equipment like this is a huge help as we have so many incoming community pets with dental complications. Read more here

Let the Sunshine In – Solar panels were installed at both our Springfield and Leverett Adoption Centers. The project was funded by Brian Adams and Morey Phippen, local philanthropists whose generosity now allows us to “work green” while helping animals! Read more here

Thanks to all of you whose support made so many of these great moments happen at Dakin. Every gift, every adoption, every volunteer effort, every gesture…all of these add up and make it possible to do more for the animals. We hope you and yours enjoy a wonderful new year!


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