Read Part Two, here.
In 1967, united by a love for animals, a group of women in Hollis, Queens, joined forces to save homeless dogs and cats in their neighborhood. They began as a rescue group, taking in needy animals while working to find them permanent, loving homes. The group grew and eventually opened an animal shelter in Flushing before expanding again in 2008 and settling into their current location in the SoHo area of Manhattan. This group’s innovative approach to animal rescue includes enrichment programs for the animals in their care, educational programs that enhance the bond between humans and animals, and a fund to help animals with medical needs. And to top it all off, this wonderful group is one of the six founding affiliates of Broadway Barks, which is why we are proud to highlight the work of Animal Haven.
Saving and Enriching Animal Lives
Animal Haven cares for roughly 100 animals at any given time. With space for only 70 animals in their shelter, Animal Haven relies on a network of volunteer fosters who work as the organization’s founders did in 1967, by keeping animals in their homes until they can be adopted. Their efforts are paying off, as the group currently boasts an adoption rate of more than 700 animals per year! But Animal Haven’s work goes even deeper than finding homes for the animals. They enrich the lives of the animals in their care by providing a variety of activities and experiences to keep the animals engaged and to improve their socialization. Animal Haven has a 2000-square-foot training room where the dogs go through basic training and enjoy playtime with toys. Dogs with lots of energy to burn can even take a jog on the treadmill! To help keep the animals relaxed, Animal Haven also plays music in the kennel, and they use essential oils to give the animals a different scent to experience each day. These extra steps really do wonders for the animals—they stave off the depression and fear animals can experience in a noisy kennel, and they ensure that the animals are socialized, trained, and well adjusted when they are adopted. This is more important than you might think, as many animals in shelters are surrendered due to behavior problems that usually stem from a lack of proper training and socialization. Animal Haven’s enrichment program seeks to not only improve the animal’s wellbeing, but also to ensure that their adopted home will be happy and permanent.
Promoting the Human-Animal Bond
In addition to its animal rescue efforts, Animal Haven also runs a number of programs that work to promote the bond between humans and animals. One of these programs is Caring Kids: Animal Ambassadors. This program is a joint effort with HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) and is a hands-on program for children ages 5 to 17 who are interested in learning about and helping animals. The kids learn about the humane treatment of animals while also completing volunteer work and service projects. The youngsters can pick from a variety of themes including companion animal issues; non-traditional companion animals, such as reptiles, birds, and small mammals; issues facing wild animals; or even farm animals. The Caring Kids program includes structured lessons with a teacher of humane education, and hands-on time with the animals. The children work with animals in Animal Haven’s shelter, which not only educates the kids, but also provides socialization and exercise for the animals. Animal Haven also hosts fun and educational holiday and birthday parties.
Funding a Future
Animal Haven operates its Recovery Road Fund to help shelter animals that have costly medical needs get the care they deserve. The fund is used to cover veterinary bills for basic and complex surgeries that are too costly for many prospective owners. In a recent case, Animal Haven received a call from the city shelter about a stray dog that was brought in with three severe breaks to his front leg. The city shelter was running out of room, and before they euthanized the young pup, they wanted to see if Animal Haven could take the dog into their care.
Animal Haven named the dog “Alex,” and they were able to use money from the Recovery Road Fund to take Alex to an emergency veterinarian for treatment. The veterinarian explained that Alex’s leg could not be saved without multiple surgeries that would cause distress and lifelong pain for the dog. The decision was made to amputate his leg. But the teams at Animal Haven and the veterinarian’s office had seen many “tripod” dogs go on to make a full recovery and live happy, healthy lives. In fact, just a few hours after his surgery, Alex was sitting up and “kissing” the veterinary staff—he quickly became an office favorite. As expected, Alex made an amazing recovery and was recently adopted!
Animal Haven Answers the Call – Paw-Paw’s Story
In June 2013, the ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy Program rescued a large number of animals from a horrible hoarding situation in New York State. The ASPCA quickly reached out to area rescues to find safe places for the animals to recover and eventually be adopted. When Animal Haven received the call from ASPCA asking if they had any space, they did not hesitate to take in five of the dogs. One of those was a 15-pound Pekingese, Jack Russell, Tibetan Spaniel mix named Paw-Paw. For the next month, Animal Haven nursed Paw-Paw back to health.
They exercised and socialized him, they gave him some basic training, and they introduced him to a variety of new smells. And by the time Paw-Paw was ready to be made available for adoption it was time for the annual Broadway Barks adoption event! In the days leading up to the big event, Animal Haven was asked to provide some adoptable dogs to appear on a local news channel for a segment on the Broadway Barks event. Paw-Paw quickly stood out because he was so calm and relaxed in the busy television studio, which he is why he was chosen to appear on the news with Broadway Barks co-founder Bernadette Peters!! Things were looking up for Paw-Paw! Click on the image below to watch Ms. Peters and Paw-Paw:
Read Part Two, here.
By Charlene Sloan
Enjoy Broadway Barks every day of the year! Our Broadway Barks 2014 Calendar is available for purchase online!
Filled with photos of some of the celebrities who have participated in Broadway Barks (Michael Cerveris, Peter Gallagher, Sean Hayes, Anjelica Huston, Jeremy Jordan, Angela Lansbury, Nathan Lane, Lea Michele, Mary Tyler Moore, Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters, David Hyde Pierce, Andrew Rannells, and Jo Anne Worley), along with lucky dogs and cats who found new homes at Broadway Barks, this limited-edition calendar is a keepsake that will make you smile every time you look at it. It’s a great gift idea, too, so you’ll probably want to purchase additional copies for family members and friends.
All proceeds from calendar sales will be used by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals to help save the lives of NYC’s homeless pets.