I am a Veterinary Technician, a profession that is rewarding in more ways than one, but a profession that can literally break your heart in two. I began working in an animal hospital in high school and at that time our small community has no humane society to speak of. Stray dogs and cats came in daily and often in groups of two or more. We did our best, and so did our small community, but with zero funds and just not enough homes to go around, we were forced to euthanize countless strays. There were days the staff would all be in tears, knowing there was just not enough resources to do the right thing. It was out of our hands.
I went off to college and later returned to the same animal hospital in the same small community. But things had changed; a small group of volunteers had formed Oregon Outback Humane Society and despite their small number big things were happening. At first the number of strays had not changed, but now we were not having to euthanize. Once it was determined there was no owner, these animals were being spayed and neutered and were being adopted in the community or being shipped all over Oregon to be matched with a new family. And in my three years at this hospital the number of strays that came through our doors drastically dropped. And not only were we not seeing as many strays, but owners were being financially assisted with spaying and neutering their own pets.
Oregon Outback Humane Society has done wonders for the animals and animal lovers in our small town. And not to mention this Vet. Tech. who doesnt get her heart broken nearly as often!
Review from Guidestar
With no financial assistance from local County or City Municipalities, Oregon Outback Humane Society is an all fostern all volunteer organization, there is no shelter. Volunteers work endlessly after their day jobs, to educate, promote spay/neuter, assist pet owners with low or no incomes with food, spay neuter options and outreach regarding behavior, training and tips to help keep pets in the home. Board members and volunteers spend many hours a week returning phone calls and checking emails regarding lost pets, animals who's owners want to surrender them and always, problem solving/the challenge of feral and stray cats.
All funding comes from donations, fundraising (cleaning restrooms, Holiday Fairs, Community events, such as the Mutt Strutt and Feline Festival) and an occasional grant applilcation. Newsletters and donation letters are sent out regularly to keep the community, adopters and donors informed on the status, needs and accomplishments of the small non profit organization. Regular adoption events take place monthly at a neighboring county three hours from Lakeview, as the chances of finding pets forever homes are greater in a larger city.
Although the work is endless, the challenges are stressful and the situations can be chaotic, the end result...happier, healthier, altered animals.
Oregon Outback Humane Society is the first animal rescue organization in the largest, lowest populated, highest poverty rate county in the state of Oregon. The need is endless for people and their pets.
Oregon Outback Humane Society (OOHS) receives no funding from any government agency. All funding for this organization comes from fundraising activities and donations. OOHS is run by a handful of highly dedicated volunteers who run all aspects of the organization. Unlike many 501c3 groups, 100% of donations goes to benefit animals in Lake County, Oregon.
I have been an OOHS volunteer for approximately four years and have been continually impressed with the innovation and dedication of OOHS volunteers. The only real criticism that I have about this organization is that many of the board members don't actively participate OOHS programs. An organization as small as OOHS needs all the volunteers it can get. In my opinion, the board members need to step up and help run the programs for which they make decisions.
Review from Guidestar
In an area where no other options exist, OOHS has made significant strides to making Lake County a place where no animal need be homeless. By focusing on the proactive solutions, the number of stray dogs and cats is decreasing. Through Targeted TNR, community cat numbers are on the decline and the quality of life of the community cats that are here is improving. Pet Food Share and Companion Animal Spay Neuter are keeping pets where they belong, in the home they already have. Foster and Adoption programs and partnerships throughout the state of Oreogn and beyond are giving more homeless a second chance.
We are fortunate to see daily what other organizations that have existed for a long time no longer have memory of, the palpable positive changes that take place when opportunity arises. In an area where there are no shelter statistics (because there are no shelters) you can see the change first hand every time you look around. Less stray dogs, less community cats, companion animals that are well fed, fewer and fewer free puppy and kitten signs at the local grocery store, people telling you how much nicer there neighborhood is since we started a Targeted TNR Program. You don't need to see numbers to know there has been a change for the better. We have watched it happen. We hear it from people everyday.
So now, after five years, we find ourselves where other communities have been for quite some time. Trying to find the answers to why, with all the resources we make available to pets and people, we are still not there. Why we occasionally get the call about someones cat having kittens, see the sign at Safeway for free puppies, get a call about a stray dog. Sure, these instances are fewer than at the beginning , but that they still exist means we still have a lot of work to do. It means our job is not done
Now, we look to other organizations for direction as we struggle to find the solution. Organizations that have are or have been in the position we find ourselves. We picked the low hanging fruit and are challenged to reach higher. Now we are going to need a ladder, someone to hold it for us and possibly a stick to reach further,
I know we do not have all the answers yet, but we are determined to keep looking. Our situation (remote location, remote individual communities and a community where financial resources are few) adds complexity. It makes it necessary for us to be more creative, to have better problem solving skills. We can reject the "you can't" because we already have done so much more than so many thought was possible in our community.
I truly believe we can make Lake County a community where no pet need be homeless. It is not going to be easy, but it can happen. We need to make sure we don't just pat ourselves on the back for what we have accomplished, we need to keep reaching, to never be satisfied.
Review from Guidestar