September 30th marked the end of my first full fiscal year as President and CEO of Bideawee. And what an incredible year it’s been. Inspiring, heartwarming, sobering at times, but always rewarding. I’ve thought about all the pups and kitties that have come through our doors in need, and left healthier, happier, and in the arms of a loving family.
As I reflect on the accomplishments, the challenges, and the learning I’ve done this past year, however, an unsettling thought comes to mind. As Bideawee works to help save animals caught in the wake of Hurricane Florence, I realize it was only one year ago that we, Bideawee, and the collective animal welfare community, were working feverishly to save animals affected by not one, not two, but three hurricanes. First Harvey; then Irma; then Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, where we are still rescuing dogs to help them through the continued hardships they face.
I would have never expected that in my very first year as CEO, I would be leading the organization’s rescue efforts through FOUR major natural disasters. And as harrowing as these circumstances were, I never once doubted our ability to provide care and hope to those who needed it most. Every time disaster struck, and the lives of pets and the people who love them were at risk, I knew our supporters, donors, volunteers, board of directors and my incredible team of staff here at Bideawee would be there to help as many animals as we possibly could. Every one of you has been so generous with your time, your donations, your passion, your expertise and your unwavering support during these critical times.
YOU are the reason we were not only able to help in these times of disaster, but were additionally able to rescue and adopt more than 1500 dogs and cats this year! You are the reason we could spay and neuter 956 animals; you are the reason we surpassed all goals with 65,489 volunteer hours this year! I couldn’t do this job without you, and we certainly couldn’t jump into action to save dogs and cats affected by hurricanes, or help special needs pups like Sassy who came to Bideawee all the way from Utah, or rescue kittens in need of life-saving surgeries. The list goes on and on. None of this would be possible without you, and choosing not to save more lives is NOT an option. Our goal is to double the number of adoptions by 2021 and we are well on our way thanks to you.
As we start to head out of hurricane season, and as the Carolinas start to rebuild and heal, we look at the calendar and realize that the holiday giving season is right around the corner. (Ugh! I’m not ready for the holidays yet!) But I know that my holiday wish this year will be twofold: That there are no more natural disasters affecting people and pets; and more realistically, that you’ll remember Bideawee, and the animals who depend on us in your year-end giving plans so that we can continue to spring into action when there are dogs and cats in need. With your support, we can continue saving sick or injured animals from certain death in high-kill shelters, and continue to match homeless pets with the people who will love them forever.
Thank you for being there for Bideawee during my first year. I look forward to spending my second with you too. Together, we can help to end the needless suffering of our animal companions. Support our efforts today.