Any ideas to help a struggling shelter?

This is a special section for dogs needing new homes and for inspiring stories of dogs that have found their furever home through Dogster or through the love and energy of rescuers. This is also the place to discuss shelters, rescue organizations, rescue strategies, issues, solutions, etc. and how we can all help in this critical endeavor. Remember that we are all here for the love of dog! If you are posting about a dog that needs a new home, please put your location in the topic of your thread so those close by can find you! Make sure to check out Dogster's dog adoption center!

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Looking for- love!
Barked: Tue Apr 27, '10 1:25pm PST 

I am posting on behalf of our non-profit rescue, Homestretch Hounds, Inc. We are trying to survive and continue helping pets in need, but have run into a tough situation in finding affordable good quality pet food for our shelter. I know there are so many caring and educated people on Dogster, so I am hoping for some ideas. As I am sure you know, times are tough and our rescue and shelter is struggling to survive. We are desperate to find an affordable source of good quality pet food for the shelter. We have tried a few local feed mills, but the quality of the lower priced foods offered has proven substandard. Our shelter residents need and deserve a good quality food and we also promote the importance of quality food to our visitors and adopters. We are desperate to find a solution in order to remain open and continue helping pets in need.

We are not a subsidized shelter, we rely on adoption fees and donations to fund our expenses, the rest comes out of pocket. Needless to say, with the tough economic times, donations have nearly disappeared and adoptions are down, leaving more pets in our rescue's care with less money. Some of the pets in our care have been in our rescue for years as they have behavioral or medical special needs or are of a breed or mix that is not desired by most adopters. Please visit our website at www.hhdogs.petfinder.com to "meet" our wonderful shelter and rescue residents.

Homestretch Hounds Inc, an all volunteer, non-profit, no-kill shelter and sanctuary located in Southwestern Ohio, was founded with a mission to help homeless pets. Our rescued pets end up homeless through no fault of their own. They come from rural county facilities and pounds, as well as owner releases and strays. Our mission is to give these fantastic animals a second chance at life by bringing them to our program when their time is up at other facilities or when they have no other place to turn.

We have been with a large company shelter feeding program, but the cost has gone up and up and the company has criticized our rescue for using too much food per pet. They apparently have ratios that each adopted pet should only consume so much food. Being a no-kill rescue, we are unable to meet the ratios so the company has let us know that they will not be renewing their shelter feeding contract with our rescue.

For several weeks, we have spent countless hours calling and emailing pet food manufacturers, distributors, etc to find an affordable way to purchase food...we are not asking for a hand out, but a way to feed the shelter residents good quality food at an affordable cost. We have received few responses and surprisingly, of those, no offers of any help other than to tell us to "keep up the good work". I have been saddened and surprised at the lack of help any company thus far has been willing to provide and even more surprised at the rather rude responses from a few companies.

I am just wondering if anyone out there has gone through this with a shelter and/or has any suggestions. Thank you so much in advance!

Homestretch Hounds, Inc.
a 501c3 charity


I Will Guard You- Now
Barked: Tue Apr 27, '10 1:32pm PST 
When we were doing adoptions at Petsmart, they would give us some of the bags of food that had been torn or opened. I wonder if it would be worthwhile to ask local pet supply stores about that.

Looking for- love!
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 3:42am PST 
Hi Willa and thank you for the idea. We have approached several pet related businesses, including Petsmart, but have been told that they are already donating their broken and expired products to other organizations. We have received a few broken bags, but not enough to keep the rescue pets fed. We of course kept the door open, hoping that they will consider our organization in the future as every bit helps. Thank you for the idea...we will keep asking and trying. blue dog

Edited by author Wed Apr 28, '10 3:46am PST


Member Since
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 4:08am PST 
Some people check dumpsters at like walmart for expired food. Not sure how successful they were, though. Try going to small pet stores, I went to one to buy my friend's dogs some food because she couldn't afford it and the lady gave me a big bag of Innova for free cause it just expired.

Also, I believe Hill's gives food way just for the cost of shipping.. It's not a great food but its food.
Maybe try Craigslist or Freecycle for free food. shrug
Max (aka- Sebastian)

Lovin Life
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 5:18am PST 
I know the last time I was at Tractor Supply picking up Max's food I saw where they have a pretty good food that is cheaper then most better quality foods. It's called 4health, when asking about it on here, some dogs responded that they have had lots of luck with it.
If you have a tractor supply maybe talk to them about discounts they may offer, or see if they will save any broken bags for you guys (if you have a tractor supply) also see if they can get you in contact with the 4health company and see if they can offer you a good rate for thier food in exchange for you promoting them to new adopties.
I know our local walmart donates to organizations in the community, have you tried seeking a monitary donation from them? Also maybe get the word out about what you guys need. Have lists of needed items and have that posted on your website (if you have one, if you don't I'd suggest setting up one) and see if any local businesses would post your list.
Also, where we live, there are always events going on ie. car shows, dog events etc. These make great oppertunities for buisnesses to get thier names out there by sponsoring a local cause. Stay in contact with your local community developers, your chamber of commerce and even building and planning offices, when you get word of a new buisness opening or a reopening, see if you can get involved, example: Bring dog food and recieve entrance into event, or recieve a chance to win prize, or recieve discount on purchase, what ever that buisness does, it helps get the word out for them, and helps you as well.
See if you can get your local paper to do an article on your organization, the importnace of adoption and the need of donations, by featuring a heart felt story, people will be more likely to react and donate.
Go to drawthedog.com, it's an entertaining website and now they are working with rescues so they are offering thier artwork free so rescues can raise money by selling products with the artwork on it. Once you get to thier website click on the rescue tab and there are directions there.
Good luck, rescue is such a wonderfule thing, it takes a lot of work, because of you, these dogs have a chance at a wonderful life.

My dog is- spoiled, as he- should be!
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 5:48am PST 
Be VERY careful with broken bags!
I have gotten a bag home and later noticed that it was broken.
When you have these huge stores that have 'feed' very often they will have a rodent or two running around!
In my case, I poured that bag into the bin in my pantry and put the lid on it.
When I went to open the bin to put food in the bowls Mr. Jingles was jumping up at me and I was up on the table doing some serious screaming.

st. francis of- asses
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 6:01am PST 
Frank...big laughbig laughbig laugh
Max (aka- Sebastian)

Lovin Life
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 6:47am PST 
After posting I went back to drawthedog.com and read in more detail about how they help rescues. They will allow you to use thier art for t-shirts, according to thier website there are websites like cafepress where you can set up online stores so people can buy your shirts online, and you have to tell drawthedog about it, but they said they will post it on thier site so that would be more opportunities for people to buy shirts from your rescue.
I'd buy a shirt of thier print that says rescue me.

Looking for- love!
Barked: Wed Apr 28, '10 11:40am PST 
Hi All!
Thank you so much for the wonderful suggestions. We do have a web site at www.hhdogs.petfinder.com thank you for the suggestion. We will continue trying local businesses and thanks for the caution on the broken bags...we will watch for any unwelcome visitors.smile

Hills is the company that we have been working with for several years. They recently informed us that we are using too much food per adopted pet and that they will not be renewing their contract with us unless we can meet their ratios of food use per dog adopted. Being no-kill and having many tough to place dogs that are with us for a long time, it would be impossible for us to meet their ratios.

I just went to the drawthedog.com and signed our shelter up...that site is wonderful and I am hopeful it will help us with some much needed fundraising. Once you sign up, it says that you will hear from them, so fingers and paws crossed.

Thank you so much and please keep the ideas coming, they truly are very appreciated!snoopy

Edited by author Wed Apr 28, '10 11:42am PST


All that lives- is holy.
Barked: Thu Apr 29, '10 11:24am PST 
The more community involvement you have, the better.

Have a kid's day with face painting and maybe ballons- but MAKE SURE you don't spend a whole lot of money on it or it defeats the purpose. Have donation jars everywhere.

Attend every local festival, fair, or event- maybe even stage your own. Have volunteers walk dogs in parades, et cetera. Visibility is key.

I know more than I care to about dumpster diving. Wal-Mart doesn't have dumpsters, they have dangerous trash compactors and will prosecute you for snooping. PetSmart and Tractor Supply dumpsters are often hidden treasure-troves, but it's an at-your-own-risk thing. I recommend going to crimethinc.com for some information about offbeat ways to acquire supplies.

I also recommend looking at some finance websites or books, like Dave Ramsey's. Honestly, until revenue goes up, you should probably close intake and reduce the number of dogs you keep.
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