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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Big Get Bigger, the little get ignored...

I am back! No I have not deserted you, despite the lack of writing for what, ten days?  I went on a three day vacation that took 3 days to get ready for and 5 days to catch up after!

I have a few things draining my brain tonight.  Things I don't necessarily understand, so that is why they sit in my brain, eating what few brain cells I have left, until I sit down, type it here, and let it go.

We applied for a Maddie's Fund grant.   I read this on their website, and thought, "WOW, is this group made for us!"  A quote from their website reads, "Guided by its mission to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, Maddie's Fund® is devoting its resources to help build a no-kill nation. Towards that end, Maddie's Fund wants to support local coalitions that combine the talents and resources of adoption guarantee organizations, animal control agencies, and traditional shelters to end the killing of healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats in their communities within 10 years."

I applied for a grant with Maddie's fund on Friday morning.  Friday afternoon they called me!  Awesome!  This must be good news! Right?  The woman on the phone said, "We reviewed your application at our one hour meeting."  I am ready to scream with joy!  She continued with, "and we cannot give you any money. We only give money to communities with a population of 100,000 people.  There is just no way we can give you any funding."  All I could say was, "Okay", and I hung up the phone in disbelief.  Wow.  I didn't even have a few days of being hopeful as I eagerly awaited their response to our application.  It just came down on me within hours like a tornado in a trailer park.  Everything was gone at that point.  They didn't even try to learn more about us, and what we are doing.

We are PERFECT for their goals!  They fund spay/neuter programs, veterinary clinics, animal control, shelters.  They fund everything for other groups,that we provide for an entire county in Iowa that has no other form of humane animal control, but they won't help us !

NO OTHER FORM OF HUMANE ANIMAL CONTROL!  This entire county in Iowa, has a population of approximately 16,500 people.  Much smaller than Maddie's fund requirements of 100,000 people.  All I can say is that I was and am still stunned.  I am providing veterinary care to stray dogs and cats, owner relinquished pets during this terrible economy, puppy mill surrendered animals also during a terrible economy, and shelter transfer pets that were at high risk for euthanasia.  I am providing these animals with a temporary home (some more temporary than others), food and shelter, veterinary care, human and humane attention that some have never had before, and I am giving them a chance at finding that loving home they deserve, no matter how long it takes.  I am assisting in getting laws enacted to protect those animals in the care of commercial breeding facilities. Then I find a group that I am certain will fund my efforts if even in a small way, and they say, we are too small?  Tell that to the 600+ animals we have cared for, sheltered, rescued, and rehomed!  Not bad for a vet in a small town of only 1200 people, ey?  The good thing about this small community, is the limited overhead.  Yes, I could do this in Des Moines, or Chicago, nice big communities that will meet that population requirement, but I would have to put all the money I get into paying for the land and building!  Animal Rescue is certainly one place where size does not matter!

Looking at the Maddie's Fund website, I see a sweet picture of a Miniature Schnauzer, named Maddie, of course.  It is in her memory that this fund was started.  I think of the dozens of Schnauzers that went through my clinic in a weeks time.  They were puppy mill Schnauzers.  A friend of mine runs a spay neuter clinic and does animal rescue, APE and knew that these dogs were in dire need of dental care, something she did not have the equipment to provide.  So rather than just run them through her spay/neuter clinic and leave the dentals for the rescue groups to fund and provide (which would require being placed under anesthesia a second time, not the best idea for senior dogs), I did the vet work which included dentals at a significantly reduced rate.  These teeth were so bad the jawbones were also rotting.  They had oral infections like I had never seen.  Fur wrapped like Christmas lights around the base of their teeth.  When I removed the tartar, the teeth would fall out of the mouth.  The tartar buildup was the only thing holding these teeth in their sockets.  In one dog, the bone had rotted through from a tooth bed infection so far that it had created a fracture.  These dogs all went to a schnauzer rescue and have hopefully all found their first and forever homes.  I wonder if the rescue they went to qualified for a Maddie's fund grant?

Now, I am not trying to say that Maddie's fund is not a good program.  I am trying to say that judging a rescue group by their local population is NOT a good way to " help build a no-kill nation so that shelter dogs and cats can be guaranteed a loving home".  It is a good way to allow and propagate primitive animal control methods in rural areas that need the assistance the most.

Last weekend as we drove off on our vacation, we drove past a commercial breeding facility that has given us dozens of their retirees over the past few years.  We have not heard from them in a while, and I wondered if another breeder friend of theirs, who has written articles in the Iowa Pet Breeder Association newsletter telling other breeders not to give their retired dogs to rescue, had convinced them to cease giving us their retired dogs.  I recently testified at a senate committee meeting to encourage the passage of Iowa's puppy mill bill.  I also wondered and worried about whether this action would get any of our breeders to stop giving us their retired dogs.  As I drove by this breeder's facility, I could see fresh upturned circular mounds located in a corn field right behind the property.  I wondered if these were grave sites.  I wonder if this facility has gone back to shooting the unproductive dogs, something they openly said they did prior to our services.  I hope that I hear from them in the weeks to come, which will set my mind at ease, but I fear that I will not. 

The changes our small group is making are huge.  And we could do better if we could get some decent funding.  We do not limit ourselves to our 16,500 population county.  We have rescued animals from shelters and breeders from counties all over Iowa, from Missouri, from Nebraska, and from Illinois.  Our biggest clients for our discounted rescue vetwork are from Minnesota and Wisconsin, with some of the smaller repeat clients being from New Hampshire and South Dakota.    It is too bad that the folks at Maddie's fund see us as insignificant.

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Anonymous said...

Maddies Fund is obviously not for a no-kill nation in 10 years if they won't fund projects in areas less than 100,000 because there sure are a lot of communities smaller than 100,000 residents that could use the help.

crazydoglady said...

did you file for a Pedigree Grant?

Immydog said...

No, we haven't really applied for many grants yet because we are non profit under an umbrella program. We cannot apply for grants that the main group has already applied least that is what I understand.

Carmen Linda Conklin said...

Nathan Winograd has a lot to say about Maddie's Fun. Check his blog. on Aug. 20, 2011 he wrote "Maddie's Fund's Parting Shot" on their failed attempt to create a No Kill Nation..

Maggie's Dog God Stories said...

Have you tried for a grant with Best Friends? The rescue I was working with got a couple of grants through them.

Mary Delaney said...

This is sad. Why would a fund make population one of their criteria? I understand criteria are necessary, but population????

Amy Haas-Gray said...

So true and so...sad.

Agape Fosters said...

Welcome to our Rescue family Lisa, isn't it just one slap across the face after the other in every direction for us Rescues/Shelters that do it right. Thank God for the donors we have.

Maggie Hess said...

Who can I contact about Maddie's Fund? They should set aside a certain amount of money to be shared with small rescues in counties like ours (Franklin) that have small populations and no official anything.