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Meaningful Connections Save More Lives

We know that connections are important for all of us, whether it’s with animals or other people. In the animal welfare community, we often have great opportunities to make meaningful connections with the people and communities we serve. Whether it’s helping to adopt a new family member into an adopter’s home, reuniting a family with their lost pet, or working with struggling families to help keep their pets in their homes, the opportunities we have to make profound connections are limitless.

Contra Costa Animal Services wants to make those connections with the people and the pets in our community. Why? With a strong connection, both CCAS and our community members can help animals in their own backyard and save more lives along the way.

CCAS is doing more than ever to connect with our community in meaningful ways. The thought is simple: If we are going to save more lives, we cannot do it alone.

By providing increased community engagement about adoption, pet ownership, and what to do if a animal becomes lost or injured, we are seeing an increase of people coming through our doors. While families visit our shelters, we strengthen that connection by providing an enjoyable experience, which results in positive reviews and word-of-mouth accounts that encourage even more people to visit our shelters.

Through our partnership with Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, or ARF, we’re working to help struggling families by providing resources and intervention that will allow them to keep their pets whenever possible. This partnership has resulted in cutting the number of owner-surrendered animals in half from 2015 to 2016. When Michael B. came to our shelter to surrender his beloved German shepherd because he could not afford to feed him, he was provided food and directions to all of the local pet food banks, which allowed him to keep his dog instead of surrendering the animal, and a profound connection was made.

We’re also building stronger connections with our transfer partners in an effort to save more lives. By implementing the Bridge Program, which provides funding to rescue groups to assist with medical and other costs associated with rescuing an animal, we have formed a stronger bond and connection with our animal welfare partners in the community that has resulted in many animals being placed in loving homes.

One of our strongest and most valuable means of making connections is through our committed staff and volunteers. You can see our volunteers at our shelters every day assisting people with finding the right pet for them or reuniting them with their pet. They foster animals and work with our partners outside of the shelter to build networks for all the animals. They develop innovative programs that touch the community in unique ways. One program, Book Buddies, allows children to read to shelter animals, and another, Running Dog, provides increased enrichment and awareness. In the end, programs like these help us to form stronger connections with both the animals and our community. No matter what our team may be doing, it is always making invaluable connections for CCAS.

Now we would like invite you to make a connection with us to help us do a better job within the community, because it’s these connections that will make a difference to all our animals. Connect with us by adopting a pet instead of buying from a breeder. You’ll find that shelter pets really do understand and appreciate what you’ve done for them. Connect with us by volunteering and assisting with our many programs to help animals and also educate the public on pet care. Connect with us through our website or social media and share our stories. Because, what good is a connection if it’s only one sided?

Steve Burdo is the community and media relations manager for Contra Costa Animal Services. He has been known to bake in a very hot car to help animal owners understand the consequences of leaving a pet in a hot car. He loves animals, including very strange bald cats. Click CCAS to learn more.

Shelter Zone features a different shelter and rescue group each month. To contribute, contact Editor@BayWoof.com.

Main article photo by: Courtesy Contra Costa Animal Services