Blog the Change – Duncan’s Place

Blog the Change

Pumpkin’s Mom here. Pumpkin’s letting me take over her blog for today.

I started this blog just for fun. It never even occurred to me that it would be anything other than fun. About the same time I started this blog I got involved in the Twitter Anipal community and started reading other pals blogs. I saw what others were doing with their blogs and with the connections they made through Twitter. I decided I needed to learn more about using social networking to help others and went to BlogPaws West 2010. I came away from BlogPaws determined to do what I could to help. I’m still going to have fun with my blog, but I’m also going to try to do some good with it.

I contacted some shelters letting them know I was looking for someplace to sponsor on my blog. It was amazing that none of the places got back to me. I finally had success when I contacted Duncan’s Place. Duncan’s Place is a cat sanctuary started by Cathy Campbell. They don’t have a facility, so they foster cats in homes until they can adopt them out. Their mission is to make sure every cat in their community has home. I think that’s a pretty awesome mission.

From Cathy: “Duncan’s Place is named after my late beloved kitty. He was my first cat,and a lot of little furry lives owe a lot to him. Duncan was a Scottish Fold and was a rescue, too. I now have another Fold, Ainsley, who is also a rescue. The neat thing about Folds is that they can all trace their ancestry back to the same female Suzie, so Ainsley and Duncan are related.”

I had a nice long talk yesterday with Cathy and asked her some questions. I was really curious about how she was able to run a successful cat sanctuary without a facility. It turns out she does manage to do it –  and quite well, too. Since 2008 when Duncans Place opened, they’ve rescued 133 and adopted out 113 cats. Not bad for a small operation with no building of its own.

Here are the questions I asked and her answers. Unfortunately I’m not great at taking notes, so the answers are all my paraphrasing and not direct quotes from Cathy.

Q: What happens to cats you can’t place?
A: They stay in foster care until they’re adopted. Sometimes they’re adopted by the family that fosters them. None of the cats have ever been sent to another shelter because it couldn’t be placed. They also try not to move the cats around to different fosters so the cats have nice, stable, comfy homes where they’re cared for as part of the family until they find their forever home. Duncan’s Place is a no-kill sanctuary, and cats stay in foster care until they find homes.

Q: Is the sanctuary how you support yourself or do you have another job, too?
A: Cathy is not supported by the sanctuary. She works as a vet tech and also as a massage therapist, both for humans and for animals. How she finds the time to run the sanctuary and coordinate supply distribution, listing the animals for adoptions, arranging adoptions, making sure all the cats are properly cared for, keeping up the website, getting donations, and doing all the other things that need to be done is amazing! I don’t think I could do it.

Q: Do the fosters supply everything for the cats or do they get supplies from the Sanctuary?
A: Both. Duncan’s Place has some extremely generous donors that give them lots of supplies. The foster parents buy some things themselves and the rest comes from the food and other items donated to Duncan’s Place. These supplies are also distributed to families that need help feeding their pets and also to people helping to feed feral cat colonies.

Q: Do you find it’s harder to get donations without a facility?
A: It’s more difficult to get donations from the general public, but they’ve had some success getting donations from some corporations and some of the local businesses. Here is a list of some of the corporate donations they’ve received.

  • Merrick Pet Food
  • Avoderm Pet foods
  • Drinkwell
  • Bach’s Flower Essences
  • Catit Drinking fountains(Hagen pet company)
  • Hartz
  • Dr. Esley’s Precious cat litter
  • Idexx laboratories(FIV/FeLV/HWE tests)
  • Home Depot(shed & cat enclosure)
  • Lumber Liquidators(donated laminate flooring)
  • Tiki Pet Products

That’s a very impressive list for an organization that hasn’t been around that long. And impressive as that list is, it still doesn’t cover all the costs they incur. There’s an equally impressive list of individual donors, but they still need help. Caring for so many cats and trying to help people in the community who need assistance caring for their pets takes a lot of resources.

Q: Is it hard to place the cats without a facility where people can just come and see them?
A: It is a little harder when people have to make appointments. On the other hand, people who make appointments are more serious about adopting. Out of 113 adoptions, only 3 cats have been returned. That seems like a pretty good track record to me!

Q: Would you like to have a facility someday?
A: Yes. Cathy would like to have a facility where the cats could be cared for in a cage-free environment. She doesn’t want a large place, just a small one where the cats could get enough individual attention and be cared for in a loving environment until they find their forever homes.

I learned something about cats in foster care, too. Since they live as part of the family and interact with everyone in the household (including kids and other pets), they tend to adapt well to their new homes after adoption. I’d never thought about this before. All my cats came from friends whose cats had kittens, or were rescued from the street.

Duncan’s place is about finding homes for cats. Sometimes that means helping families in distress keep their pets with them. This can be help with spaying or neutering, vaccinations, food and litter, or whatever else they can think of to keep cat and family together.

They also work with Northern Colorado Friends of Ferals. They help with the trap, neuter, release program. They’ve also taken in ferals that were young enough to socialize and helped them find homes.

Most of you already know about my first project to help the sanctuary – The Lake With Petie Memory Book. Pals have been sending me pictures, stories, poems, and memories to put in the book. The proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Duncan’s Place. I was hoping to have the book finished by the end of the month, but I’m waiting for one of the contributors to come back from vacation, so the book may not be ready until November. I’m still taking submissions, so if you want to add anything DM Pumpkinpuddy and I’ll send you the email address to send it to. Please remember that you must have the right to publish whatever you send me. We used a lot of cute stuff that was copyrighted for #lakewithpetie tweets. That’s considered fair use. But since this book is going to be sold, we cannot use that stuff without violating copyrights, so be careful what you send.

I’ve also signed on with Sponsered Tweets. Watch for the hashtag #ad on my tweets. For every #ad tweet link that gets clicked, I earn money. All money earned from ad clicks will be donated to Duncan’s place. (@Boriskitty is doing the same thing for the places he supports, so please click on links in his ads, too.)

Sorry this is so long. Now you know where Pumpkin gets if from! Check out the Duncan’s Place website, and if you can, make a donation. You can find them at duncansplace.org. You can also find Duncan’s Place on Facebook (Duncans Place).

Sunday musings

Here it is Sunday night, and I haven’t written my Sunday Musings yet. I was going to write about Blogpaws, but so many other pals have written about it that I don’t know what to add, especially since they all write better than I do. I will say that I had a fabulous time, met some amazing and wonderful people, and learned a lot. My pictures are all in Facebook if you want to see them.

Packing for BlogPaws
BlogPaws Day 1
BlogPaws Day 2
BlogPaws Day3

This weekend I spent a lot of time at the #lakewithpetie. I had the idea that we could collect all the pictures from the weekends at the lake and make a picture book of them to sell for charity. @Petiethecat would pick the charity. I even talked to @thepetbooklady about it and she’s offered to help. As usual, I got ahead of myself. I was saving the pictures people used from Twitpic and asking them if I could use them. Well I didn’t think it through properly. I’d have no way of knowing what pictures were original and which were gotten from another source, or who to credit for the pictures. Also, a lot of the pictures are just too small to use. I get hold of an idea and I get a little overexcited and start running away with it. I’m nothing if not enthusiastic. MOL.

Spoke to Petie and he and his folks are ok with this project, so I’d still like to do it. I need to collect pictures from pals who have ones they want to contribute. I’d need a good size version of the pictures and assurance from the pals sending them that they own the pictures and can publish them. This way I’ll know we’re legal and I can give proper credit to the pals that contributed pictures.

If you have pictures to contribute to The Lake With Petie Memory Book, please send them to pumpkinpuddy@gmail.com. And remember, they have to be pictures you have the legal right to contribute. Sorry, the book won’t have a picture of the alien ship cleaning up the campsite. Mulder already told me that was a borrowed picture. I’ll let you all know what charity this is going to as soon as I hear from Petie. I’ll know more about price and everything once I get it all figured out with the Pet Book Lady.

That’s all for this week. I can’t wait to get started on this project! Get your pictures in. I’d like to have the book ready in a month or so.

Update: We now have a charity. With Petie’s approval, the money raised by selling the book will go to Duncan’s Place Cat Sanctuary.