Friends of Strays is a terrific nonprofit shelter in St. Petersburg, Florida. The shelter's staff and executive director have real vision for how to help our community's animals and engage our community, and how to effect that vision. They are quick and careful to implement important lifesaving programs, which in turn help save more animals' lives.
Now that we are all dealing with the extreme challenges of a COVID-19 world, I'm so proud and pleased to see how FOS is adapting -- and committing the organization to meet the needs of our community and our community's animals, however we can.
If this all sounds a little bit abstract, I'll also say: there is little I enjoy more than stopping at the shelter to play with cats and kittens for a couple of hours. They have toys to entertain the cats with, squirrel videos for the cats to watch, and more. It's all in service of helping the cats get adopted, and helping them thrive until adoption. I think FOS is doing a great job of it.
The team at Friends of Strays is extraordinary. They care deeply for the animals in their care, as well as our community. I love the creative programs (such as doggie day out, happy cats and pet food pantry) that have made a huge difference in finding animals forever homes and keeping them there even through tough times. I really like how friendly and helpful the staff are to each other, to volunteers and to the adoptors. I have adopted four cats, fostered dozens of kittens, and spent countless hours volunteering. I encourage anyone interested in adopting a cat or dog, volunteering of their time, or financially supporting an animal shelter to consider them. You won't be disappointed.
I love Friends of Strays, and their ideals and goals align with mine. The number of adoptions from this shelter is in the thousands, and they strive for more each year. It’s a nonprofit it is a easy for me to get behind. I’ve donated thousands of dollars over the years, and I do not plan on stopping. After all, I wouldn’t have my sweet kitties without them!
I've been volunteering with Friends of Stray Inc out of St. Petersburg, FL for several years and have truly enjoyed the experience of both helping the animals in our community as well as meeting like-minded people. It's also fantastic to see the businesses throughout the community support the rescue effort through their donations of money, time and use of their space. It really is a lovely feeling to see everyone come together through volunteering and donating time, efforts, space and love in support of the animals.
Volunteering with FOS has been an eye opening and rewarding experience. I am relatively new to the organization, since January 2020. I try and volunteer at least once every weekend, as my schedule permits. The shelter itself is very clean and organized, with specific protocols for each task. Training on each task has been very straightforward and there is always staff nearby for should I need any help or have questions. It may not be glamorous to clean cages, mop floors, or vacuum, but that is not why I volunteer. It is to spend time in between cleaning, or at the end of the shift with the animals. Or to watch prospective new owners fall in love with one of the sweet cats or dogs, and finally to watch them walk about the door with their new best friend. It is so rewarding to see the process and to be part of a happy ending. The highlight of volunteering here is seeing first hand how well these animals are cared for and loved while waiting for their forever home. Each staff member I have interacted with truly cares about the health and well being of the animals. I am more than happy to assist with the daily task so that it frees their time to rescue more animals. FOS is a great organization and I hope to continue being a part of it!
I have enjoyed volunteering at Friends of Strays for over a year. I am enormously impressed with the dedication and passion of the staff and other volunteers. Friends of Strays is like a loving family with everyone working together and supporting one another. Each cat, kitten, dog, and puppy is cherished. Just being there puts a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.
I've been volunteering at Friends of Strays for 3 years. I started when I first moved to St. Pete. I spent a lot of time there - mainly doing laundry, cleaning cat cages and rooms and socializing the cats. I have always enjoyed the group of volunteers and the staff - makes it a warm fun place. I've had lots of laughs there. 2 years ago I moved to Tampa and now I'm involved in more things like special events when I can. The team gives me an opportunity to do lots of different things. Now - the cats and dogs. The place is always so clean and there is a tremendous focus on socializing the animals to adoption. The compassion is amazing. The board is amazing and Dara Eckart - the CEO - has such a vision. Her impact has been invaluable. The fact that they hired a full time veterinarian on site shows their commitment to the health of the animals. I love FOS
I've been a volunteer at Friends of Strays since 2015. Prior to working at FoS, I didn't know very much about animal shelters. I now know that it takes dozens of man-hours a week to do all the work that is required, and that money is dear, and must be spent carefully and wisely. For these reasons, volunteers are a vital part of the equation. The staff at Friends of Strays lets us know how important volunteers are by treating us warmly and professionally. The onboarding process is organized and efficient, and we are trained to do as many tasks as we are comfortable with, with the safety of volunteers and the visiting public of paramount importance. With the wide array of duties, volunteering is always interesting. The facility is bright and cheerful, so coming to work is always a positive experience. Most of all, we know we are an important part of turning cast off cats and dogs into beloved pets. As someone with time to give, loves animals and wants to make a real difference in the community, I feel fortunate to have made Friends of Strays an important part of my life.
I've been a volunteer with FOS since summer/fall 2017. I usually volunteer about 6-8 hours per month, which can vary depending on my work travel schedule. I've found the staff to be highly organized when it comes to training and utilizing volunteers—especially our younger volunteers, many of them high school students who are getting their required volunteer hours. There's always plenty to do around the shelter, and I have the autonomy to choose which task I want to perform next when I've finished any assignment I've been given. Plus, I get plenty of time to snuggle all the cats and dogs. I can't think of a better place to spend my Saturday morning—I always leave feeling so appreciated by the staff and all the four-legged residents.
I’ve been volunteering at FOS for 4 years and have loved the experience. There are several positions available, all of which are fulfilling as well as enjoyable as you get to interact with the animals. The staff are friendly and welcoming as are the other regular volunteers. Everyone there clearly cares deeply for the animals as well as the adopters. I’m so happy I’ve found FOS and grateful for the opportunities they have given me.
I have been a Volunteer for this organization since 2010. I volunteered at the Thrift Shoppe and the shelter 3 days a week. FoS has had its ups and downs, but at this time, with a new director that is focused on what FoS needs, it is going in the right direction. I am proud to say I am part of this organization. I went to another local shelter to volunteer, but they did not make me feel a part of them like FoS. I truly love this organization and want nothing but the best for them. FoS has a great staff, new director, and lots of dedicated volunteers which make FoS a great place to volunteer!!
Review from Guidestar
I volunteered for this rescue and was treated very badly. The volunteer intake process was nice enough, but once we got down to business, there was one problem after another. I was working in a new "day job" -- volunteer work doesn't pay the bills and was very clear on my application that I could not be there on certain days and at certain times. The volunteer coordinator assured me they would work around that. Only they didn't. There were some reasons, but none of those reasons excused the rude treatment I got from the vet tech. I was transporting the kittens I fostered (I live over an hour from the rescue) and got caught in traffic. I called and left a message that I was stuck in traffic and she called me back and said "You're still in bed, aren't you!" When I explained that I was not still in bed and was stuck in traffic, because the rescue had failed to work around my schedule and the the location of my home, she said "Well, where are you then!" I dropped the kittens off, and the staff all treated me like a complete failure as a foster. When I called later to see how the kittens had done during surgery, the receptionist told me they were "fine" without asking for their names. I hope the kittens were "fine" and thay they are thriving in their forever homes. I'll never know, because Friends of Strays would not tell me what became of them.