Baypath’s From the Desk of Newsletter
At each Baypath board meeting, I am asked to share a mission moment – a feel-good story that reminds us all why we are so dedicated to this cause. I’d like to do similarly with this, my annual update on the shelter, by sharing the story of Jamba.
Jamba came to us from a rescue partner in the South, where brown dogs like her are often overlooked. When Jamba arrived, she seemed fearful and conflicted about receiving affection. The noise and stimulation of the shelter kept her in a nervous state, but we soon found she loved taking long walks in the woods and that calmed her.
One of our remarkable foster families, who is well-versed in fearful pups, took Jamba home with a behavior plan that supported the decompression the sweet girl needed. It was slow going, with Jamba emerging from her chosen safe space only for quick trips outside in the beginning. After several days of sitting quietly near Jamba, her patient foster mom was rewarded:
“She took her first step towards trusting me today, so I’m very hopeful with time and patience she’ll come around. She came and sat with me when we were outside and she then allowed me to scratch her ears. She moved closer when I stopped, so I continued and we sat there for a while. This is the first time I have touched her and it was on her terms so definite progress there.”
This glimpse of Jamba’s potential led a staff member’s family to believe they could help Jamba longer term. They fell in love quickly after meeting her. And when Jamba went home with them, she settled in more quickly this time. She’s now one of the family, sharing all the spaces, racing around with her canine brother Jack, eliciting pats from everyone, and eating well. Lots of time, patience, and love went into getting this girl the ideal home for her.
I share this story as a reminder of what makes Baypath unique, characteristics that have only been sharpened in the pandemic. We are committed to understanding each and every animal who comes into our care and to creating a plan that addresses their specific needs. This isn’t always easy, quick, or inexpensive. But it is our mission and, even as day-to-day operations were complicated by year two of the pandemic, we remained laser-focused on fulfilling the complex needs of these deserving animals.
Beyond animal care
We began last year hopeful about our ability to restart our community outreach and education, resume our in-person events, finalize our land lease with the town of Hopkinton, and welcome visitors into the shelter. The fits and starts of the year let us accomplish some but not all of what we had envisioned, simply because conditions did not allow for it.
Two of our Signature events, the Fur Ball and the Fore Paws Golf Tournament, couldn’t take place in person, but a spectacular online auction, supported by generous donors, helped fill the fundraising void in March. In October, we were able to successfully host the 12th annual Paws & Claws 5k road race at Hopkinton State Park – our first in-person event in over two
years! And, as it turned out, it was one of our most successful.
We have continued working with the town of Hopkinton to finalize the land lease for our new shelter, and look forward to the successful completion of these negotiations soon. We also updated our Website and deployed a new animal management and adoption platform. While the improved Web site supports better presentation of each adoptable animal, including videos, the new platform supports better tracking of each dog or cat and their medical records, adoption contracts, and foster information.
Our board of directors has grown in the past year, gaining more talent and expertise in events, human resources, accounting and financial investments, development, and more. Our staff and volunteers continued to learn new behavioral and training skills, including through an in-shelter mentor program.
The impact of 2021 and looking forward
The influx we saw of pets needing to be rehomed in 2020 continued and even accelerated in 2021. Our community is struggling and we are honored to be a trusted resource for them to turn to for short-term needs, such as behavioral assistance or food for their pets, and long-term needs, such as pet rehoming.
The generosity from our donor community has made it possible for us to step in quickly and make an impact in the lives of pets and their people. The COVID-revised adoption program put in place in early 2020 facilitated the safe adoption of hundreds of cats and dogs through 2021. And our partnerships with community nonprofits, such as Project Just Because, ensured we could meet the needs of our neighbors in a way that was convenient for them.
I am happy to be able to say that Baypath is in a strong position, in-shelter and in the community, as we enter 2022. We will continue to respond quickly and with compassion to the needs of the animals and the public we serve and we thank you for trusting us to carry out this important mission.
PS. Please join us for our 10th Annual Fur Ball on March 26th at the Boston Marriott Newton.