Message from the Director

Grateful. Humbled. Uplifted. Hopeful. 

These aren’t words that would normally be associated with the current pandemic situation but it’s what I’m feeling today thanks to our community.  I know every one of us is going through this unprecedented time with a mix of emotions and many are uncertain of what the future will bring both personally and financially.  And yet, I feel hopeful because I’ve seen so many wonderful things happening thanks to our supporters. 
I wanted to give a heartfelt “thank you” to the many people who have helped the animals over the past few weeks. We’ve had dozens of adoptions– many long-term guests! – and we are so grateful to everyone who opened their homes to animals in need. We’ve received notes of encouragement, adoption updates that have lifted our spirits, and happy pictures of animals who are loving having their families at home.  
We’re also so appreciative of the donations we’ve received. Not only are finances uncertain for many but there are also so many other worthwhile causes in our community that help fill a variety of needs.  I opened an envelope today that had a note with a five-dollar bill. The note said “I know it’s not much but I wanted to give a little something to help the animals. Thank you for what you do for them.” It brought tears to my eyes and was truly a humbling experience. 
We’ve all had our challenges with everything that’s been happening, but I'd like to think we’ll come out of this an even more compassionate community. I’m already seeing it and it is truly amazing. I'm sorry to keep repeating the same thing but can I say it one more time? On behalf of the animals, and our staff, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts!
Joni Geiger,
OAHS Executive Director


Past Message: 

Different On Purpose

You may have noticed we’ve begun using the phrase “different on purpose” on some of our messages.  But, what does it mean?  First, it’s important to note, no two animal organizations operate the same.  Each has different philosophies, protocols and priorities.  Our philosophy at OAHS is pretty simple:  Every animal deserves an opportunity to find a loving family.  Every.  Single.  One.   If an animal has a treatable medical condition, we work with our network of medical professionals to get them as healthy as possible so they can have a good quality of life.  If a cat comes in with a “litter box issue,” we run medical tests and then set them up for multi-day observation in our litter box testing room.  If an animal is anxious or appears reactive when they arrive here, we give them time and space to settle in using positive reinforcement techniques.  If an animal has a hard time adjusting to a shelter we utilize our pool of resources including foster care, enrichment programs and behavior modification.  These things mean we may have some animals staying here a little longer while they get the help they need.  And that’s okay.  Because we owe it to every one of them to invest in their success as an individual.  Each life matters. That’s why we’re here, after all; we’re here for the animals and for the people in our community.

Our adoption process focuses on matchmaking rather than first-come-first-serve.  We get to know each adopter and help match them with an animal who would thrive with their lifestyle.  That might mean we steer people away from a certain animal and suggest a different one that might be a better fit.  We want both the adopter AND the animal to be happy. Before an adopter takes their animal home we ensure they get the tools they need, including tips and techniques, to make the transition to the new home as simple and easy as possible. Again, it’s about setting everyone up for success. 

Is our “way” the best way?  That’s certainly debatable.  Some may argue we could help more animals (possibly transfer more in from area shelters and have a faster turnaround) if we didn’t spend time and resources on the sick, the elderly, the special needs, or the ones needing behavioral help. If we focused on the "easier" ones.  That argument certainly has its merit but we’ve chosen to be how we are simply because we believe every animal has value and every animal is worth the investment.  Every one.  In an age where things happen at such a rapid pace, we never want to lose focus on every single animal and their individual needs.  Some take more time and effort than others.  And we’re okay with that.  That is why I am proud to say OAHS is “different on purpose.”   

Joni Geiger