Middlesex Bank Sponsors Baypath’s 2023 Education Initiatives
Last year, Middlesex Savings Bank’s support allowed us to roll out a more cohesive resource package for our constituency across our various programs – adoption, volunteer, foster and Baypath Educates/community education programs. We were able to serve over 900 cats and dogs – and countless families – with critical safety, training and enrichment materials.
The feedback on these materials was overwhelmingly positive – and the need for them, especially as it pertains to our adoption program, continues as we are pacing well over 100 adoptions a month currently. So we turned to our partners at Middlesex and asked them to continue their support of our humane education initiatives, which they were more than happy to do!
Middlesex’s support will allow us to procure more educational materials and focus on our adoption program – to help increase the bonds between people and pets, increase safety and reduce the number of pets that are returned to shelter.
In fact, studies consistently show that the most common reason for a pet being returned to shelter is unwanted behavior. According to the ASPCA, of over four million animals adopted annually in the U.S., an average of 15% are returned to shelter due to behavior issues (in some areas of the country that percentage exceeds 50% – according to an NIH study). At Baypath, returns are often due to behavior challenges or the need for more structure and training.
Based on over 45 years’ experience, we believe that many of these obstacles to forever connections can be overcome. Over the past 10 years, Baypath has increased successful outcomes for pets and their families by responding to behavior issues both in shelter and out of shelter. Our efforts are fortified through the following:
- Staff/Volunteer Education and Training: Baypath staff are highly trained. in the past year, Shelter Manager Nikki Baltas earned her recertification as a Veterinary Technician, preparing her to work closely with our vet partners; our Dog Foster Program Coordinator Lauren Dimartino completed the Shelter Dog Behavior Mentorship, a 3-month, 13-module course looking at shelter dog behavior, our In-Shelter Dog Programs Coordinator Emma Wailgum completed the Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional Program; and our entire animal care staff completed the Fear Free Shelter Program – a program committed to reducing stress in shelter animals. In addition, our longstanding relationship with trusted behavior partner, Beth MacLeod, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Baypath’s Director of Training & Behavior, provides critical training for staff, volunteers, and adopters for working with challenging dogs. On the cat end, our critical relationship with renowned cat behaviorist Rachel Geller, Ed.D, ensures we can support our team and community and set countless cats up for success.
- Pet/Pet Owner Preparation and Training: We take care and behavior very seriously at Baypath. Observing it, documenting it, and doing what we can to curb concerning behaviors is our priority. Our goal is to help new owners create an essential bond with their pets and to learn the ways they can take steps to building mutual trust. All pets in our care receive daily enrichment, and we teach those strategies to new owners. Baypath supports science-based humane training methods that are based on redirection and positive reinforcement and help new owners to understand the value and process of this method of behavior change.
- Post Adoption Supports and Surrender Prevention: Baypath’s adoption process is designed to create the best possible connection between cats and dogs and potential families, including initial intake for pet and owner, which informs an in-depth discussion of the unique needs of each cat and dog. Our post-adoption follow-up supports families and their new pets, especially during the critical transition period. We are also able to prevent pet surrender at times by leveraging our vet, behavior and pet pantry partners to provide additional resources to families in need. Keeping families together is an increasing need and we are honored to be able to help when possible.
Middlesex Savings Bank’s partnership will help us fortify all the above programs by allowing us to complement our critical adoption program with a myriad of educational and safety materials.
We are beyond grateful for their critical partnership!
About Our Programs
Adoption Program – This past year we were able to help over 875 families welcome 1019 cats and dogs into their homes. We served families in 205 cities and towns in Massachusetts.
About Middlesex Savings Bank
Middlesex Savings Bank is the largest mutual bank in Massachusetts, with more than $6 billion in assets and approximately 30 branches in the western Boston suburbs. The Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation is dedicated to supporting a broad range of community needs, with a focus on educational opportunities, basic human needs, and nonprofit capacity building. Since its inception in 2000, the Foundation has provided more than $13 million in grants to more than 750 non-profits providing critical community services.