Top 2020 Dakin Stories

by Lee Chambers

An Unforgettable Year

While most people won’t remember 2020 very fondly, there were many Dakin moments that brought peace, health and happiness to animals, their people, and everyone who helped make those inspiring moments happen.  We are proud to have been there when we were most needed.  Here’s a look back at some 2020 highlights:

Clinic PLUS keeps community pets healthy

Luna being held by Sam  

Sam handles Luna at the Clinic

2020 brought many challenges.  Dakin quickly readjusted plans, modified programs, and reimagined animal care to remain a resource for pets and people in our community. Part of that was launching Clinic PLUS, a program offering treatment packages for a limited number of common pet health issues as well as healthy pet packages. The need for accessible veterinary care is very high, especially during these tough times brought on by the pandemic. Not long after the launch of the program, we saw our 100th Clinic PLUS patient! Luna and her person came to see us this month and was a very good patient!

Sending PPE where it’s needed

PPE on its way to Baystate

Lifting others up when they need help is what makes our community humane. Back in March, as healthcare workers faced severe shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) at their facilities, we saw an opportunity to help. We had a large supply of surgical gloves, gowns, and masks that we donated to healthcare workers at Baystate Medical Center. While Dakin was able to use alternate methods of PPE, we were proud to support our healthcare workers as they worked tirelessly to treat those affected by COVID-19. Dakin’s supporters stepped up with gifts from our Amazon wish list including gloves and washable lab coats, that allowed us to stay safe and keep the animals in our care healthy.

Space Pioneer rocked our world

Space Pioneer halting productivity as usual

Space Pioneer came to us after someone saw him in their neighborhood and could tell he was in rough shape. His extremely friendly nature and constant demand for cuddles made every staff member he met fall in love.  His outgoing and interactive personality was a surprise after an exam by our vet team revealed that Space Pioneer was in a lot of pain. He had 4 broken teeth and an old elbow injury that healed on its own but was causing him chronic discomfort. Our vet team began medical care immediately to make our friendly patient as comfortable as possible. Your support offered Space Pioneer the care and comfort he needed while he was with us, and during his transition to a loving home with a family who now enjoys all of life's pleasures with him every day.

Filling pet food bowls



A customer at last summer’s pet food event

Helping people keep pets fed became critical in 2020 due to the many challenges brought forth by COVID-19. From the beginning, Dakin mobilized its Pet Food Aid Program and modified the way we distribute food to where it’s needed. Thanks to large gifts of pet food made by our supporters and GreaterGood.org, we have supplied more pet food to families facing food instability than ever before. The pandemic’s economic crunch hit hard, and some people who normally would be supporting our Pet Food Aid Program now needed its services.  Our partnerships with organizations including local animal control divisions, The Grey House, The Food Bank of Western MA, Greenfield Fire and Police Departments, and the John Zon Community Center resulted in nearly 800,000 meals for pets.  Read more about it here

Kitten Street Team Helps Community Cats


A Kitten Street Team capture

In 2020, Dakin launched the all-new Kitten Street Team!  These specially-trained volunteers are performing TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) locally to help community cats and prevent a future of critically ill, orphaned kittens.  TNR is humane, effective, and Dakin is proud to have started this important work in the Pioneer Valley and beyond.  So far we have trapped and assisted over 115 cats and kittens.

Coming to a robin’s rescue

Madeline makes a new friend

A concerned resident contacted Dakin about a fledgling robin in a nearby nest who was in trouble. Mom built the nest with some questionable material and the fledgling had gotten pieces of tinsel and string tangled around their leg. Madeline, Animal Resource Counselor and certified wildlife rehabber, was able to untangle the strands, and safely return the bird to the nest while Mom robin watched from a nearby tree.  Thanks, Madeline! Here’s more about this rescue

Simba Smith’s Incredible Journey

Simba sees his family again

Simba Simth was a very special cat who had the opportunity of reuniting with his family after becoming separated and leaving the state. Thanks to Simba's microchip, we were able to identify and contact his family when he arrived at Dakin. Read about Simba's full journey here.  

A COVID reunion that warmed hearts

Eliza carries Samantha to her ride home

Samantha is one of several animals Dakin has taken in from homes where people have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Lots of staff members cared for Samantha during her stay in quarantine with us before being happily reunited with her family.  Learn more about her story here

As we close the book on 2020, we thank you for your unwavering support and dedication to helping animals.  Although the world may have shut down around us, the care we show to animals does not pause.  You helped us continue to serve the animals and people who need us.  We are grateful for every act of kindness you put forward in helping animals and building a more humane community.

Your gift will help keep people and pets together this holiday season – creating a season of hope.  Please click here to make a year-end gift!

Thank you and enjoy the holidays!

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