Animal's Best Friend Fund Newsletters
Did you know that ABF sends out a bi-monthly newsletter? If you are not receiving one currently and would like to, please use the Contact Us link to send us a request. You can read the current and archived newsletters below.
We recently helped with the spaying and neutering of 12 dogs and 8 cats from Van Buren County Animal Control that found homes during the October 14 Bissell Empty The Shelter event. We are proud to be a
part of making sure that the animals that find new homes from VBCAC leave the shelter already spayed
We have also recently formed a new partnership with Cat Nap Lodge. We will be assisting with the neutering of cats and kittens they take in, and they will be taking in adoptable cats and kittens and nursing mom cats and their kittens that we come across during our trapping projects and finding homes for them.
Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust Grant
For the second year in a row, we were honored to receive a grant from The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank trust, for our Free Spay/Neuter Program for Feral and Free-Roaming Cats. The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust is a private foundation focused on preventing cruelty to animals and promoting the humane treatment of animals, particularly companion animals such as dogs and cats, and other species of animals commonly kept as household pets. It extends in perpetuity the generosity toward animals in need shown by Kenneth Allen Scott during his lifetime, and assists those who care for them today. The Trust focuses their efforts mostly on Ohio and the Great Lakes Region. We are so honored that Animal’s Best Friend was chosen for a grant from this organization! We thank the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust for caring about the cats of Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties.
What's Happening in Kalamazoo?
With the warm winter weather, trappers have had the rare opportunity to trap when the snow usually flies! There are several ongoing projects happening in Kalamazoo. One is at George’s Appliance. We received a facebook message about at least 6 cats living in the greenhouse. A veteran trapper headed out with someone who had previously been trappingin her yard to show her the ropes. Kim is our new star trapper at George’s!
What's Happening in Van Buren?
Van Buren trappers have been busy with lots of projects too but here is one very special case. Meet Wreck It Ralph, affectionately named because of his severe injuries. Van Buren County trappers, Jim and Marcie received a call about an injured kitten and rushed right out to trap it. He was brought to Eighth Street Vet the next morning by ABF founder, Karen King. Ralph immediately underwent surgery to flush and close a very large wound that was presumed to be from an animal attack. It was not safe to return him to his original location and he needed to recover for at least 4 weeks so he went to the Paws Fur Learning Classroom. The students, board member Sarah, and a licensed veterinarian will oversee his recovery and care. After he is healthy and 100% socialized, he will be adopted out. If you are interested in following Ralph’s story, look on
Year End Report
Thanks to everyone who contributed in 2016, whether it be monetarily, by volunteering at our events, trapping cats and taking them to their spay/neuter appointments, or whatever you did to help! We had 1,864 cats and dogs spayed or neutered during 2016! All your efforts combined made it a very successful year for the cats and dogs of Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, and we were able to continue our life-saving work. What we're doing is making a difference for the cats and dogs in our community. Thank you all for your contributions during 2016. It takes an army to do this work!
Our goal for 2017 is to spay/neuter 2,150 cats and dogs. Help us reach our goal by supporting our fundraising efforts!
Animal's Best Friend Reaches a Significant Milestone!
In mid-October, ABF's 50,000th animal was neutered at Paw Paw Veterinary Clinic! Thanks to everyone who helped make this milestone happen. Just think of all the unwanted litters of kittens and puppies that weren't born to lives of starvation, battling the elements, and abuse. You can be proud of your contributions to this program that has helped so many needy animals! Whether you provided the labor of love that traps the feral cats and takes them to their spay/neuter surgeries, made monetary donations, baked for our bake sales, volunteered at one of our events, or were one of the veterinary staff that does the actual surgeries, you have made a difference!
The Paw Paw Courier-Leader recently ran an article about our accomplishment here.
Shown in the photo below are Marcie Parker-Bremmer, cat trapper; Dr. Ann Marie Baker of PPVC; and Karen King, founder of ABF.
Million Cat Challenge
Dr. Kate Hurley presented at the Great Lakes Animal Welfare Conference. The basic concept of the Million Cat Challenge is to keep one million cats out of the nation's shelter system in the next five years using five initiatives: alternatives to intake, managed admissions, capacity for care, removing barriers to adoption, and return to field. Since ABF is not a sheltering agency, we cannot sign up as an active agency, but we are a supporting organization for this challenge, and as it turns out, we have been way ahead of our time doing return to field for years, just without the fancy term! You can learn more at www.millioncatchallenge.org. Also be sure to watch the short video, in which Dr. Hurley explains return to field!
Animals Helped By Your Donations
We received a call from a boy in Hartford about an injured kitten that needed help. The kitten had had a rough start to life and was suffering from a broken front leg and an infected back foot. While this is not the kind of issue that we normally help with, we could not turn our backs on this little baby. Despite her injuries, she was grateful for the love and care she is received at our partner vet clinic. Once her infected foot is healed, her broken leg will be removed and she is expected to make a full recovery. Despite the horrific pain this beautiful kitten, named Eddi for the boy who reached out for our help, makes it known that she is grateful for our love and help. We found an area rescue willing to take Eddi in, and raised $800 for her vet care. We covered her spay as well. Thank you to everyone who donated to help Eddi!
We received a frantic message from Van Buren County Animal Control about two owner surrender cats. They needed them gone ASAP because the floors in the building were being resurfaced the following day. Thankfully, we were able to contact our rescue partners and a foster stepped up - a wonderful family from Paw Paw! The kennel staff had noticed that the female cat’s front paw was swollen but we were hoping it was nothing serious. After a trip to the vet it was found to be a bite wound. A Convenia injection was given (14 day antibiotic). That didn’t make an improvement, so Bella had to be put under anesthesia so the abscess could be lanced and drained. She was sent home on two medications. Normally ABF covers only the cost of spay/neuter and occasionally a FIV/feline leukemia test, but we needed to send her to rescue without hefty medical expenses. As you can see from the picture, Bella (top) is feeling much better and thanks you for donating toward her $300 medical bill!
Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust Grant
We recently received a grant from The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust, a KeyBank trust, for our Free Spay/Neuter Program for Feral and Free-Roaming Cats. The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust is a private foundation focused on preventing cruelty to animals and promoting the humane treatment of animals, particularly companion animals such as dogs and cats, and other species of animals commonly kept as household pets. It extends in perpetuity the generosity toward animals in need shown by Kenneth Allen Scott during his lifetime, and assists those who care for them today. The Trust focuses their efforts mostly on Ohio and the Great Lakes Region. We are so honored that Animal’s Best Friend was chosen for a grant from this organization! We thank the Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust for caring about the cats of Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties.
Petco Foundation Grant
We are pleased to announce that we recently received a grant from the Petco Foundation for our Free Spay/Neuter Program for Feral and Free Roaming Cats! We have earmarked these funds to cover our expenses in this area for the month of April. Thank you to the Petco Foundation for their generosity and for helping the cats in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties!
Smith Strong Memorial Spay/Neuter Fund
In the wake of the tragedy that occurred in Kalamazoo on February 20, we established the Smith Strong Memorial Spay/Neuter Fund as a way to properly memorialize Rich and Tyler Smith, both of whom were animal lovers. We got to know the Smith family through Emily (daughter and sister) when she worked at MVPets, and we would hold events there. Over the years, the family has rescued several animals from a mom cat and kittens to a pit bull. We would like to honor Rich and Tyler's zest for life and love of animals by creating the Smith Strong Memorial Spay/Neuter Fund. All donations made in memory of these two amazing people will be put into a fund to be used specifically for dogs in Kalamazoo County. The family will be notified of each donation and we will also send them pictures of each spay/neuter fund recipient when possible. Their legacy will live on by saving animals in the community that loves them so much. Donations can be made online at or sent to PO Box 443 Oshtemo, MI 49077 (please note Smith Strong Memorial with your donation).
Paws Fur Learning
BISSELL Pet Foundation Grant
We received a grant from the BISSELL Pet Foundation for our Free Spay-Neuter Program for Feral and Free-Roaming Cats. We look forward to putting these funds to good use reducing the feline overpopulation problem in Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties. Thank you, BISSELL Pet Foundation, for your assistance!
PetSmart Charities® Grant Requirements Completed!
We completed the cat neutering requirements for our Paw Paw/Lawton project that was funded by PetSmart Charities®. 700 cats and kittens were sterilized through this grant in a little over six months! Many people worked hard to make this project a success: board member and grant writer Jennifer Cohen, lead trapper Marcie Parker and her husband Jim Bremmer, board member and trapper Sarah Gerstner, board member and founder Karen King; area vet clinics and staff including Family Pet Health Center, Paw Paw Venterinary Clinic, Lawton Animal Hospital, Red Arrow Animal Clinic, Kalamazoo Humane Society, Kalamazoo Cat Hospital Eighth Street Veterinary Care; countless volunteers who worked hard to socialize the cats and kittens which resulted in 184 of them being transferred to our partners at Animal Rescue Project who found them forever homes.This project is an example of the amazing things that can happen when everyone works together!
Feeding Time at Osterhout Colony
We have completed our grant from Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society mentoring program sponsored by PetSmart Charities. We have spayed and neutered 339 feral, free roaming, and owned cats in a limited section of Paw Paw. Between October 2014 and February 28, 2015, we spayed and neutered 552 cats in Paw Paw. Stay up to date on the project by watching our news page and facebook.
May brought the exciting news that we were approved to receive grants from both PetSmart Charities® and a foundation who wishes to remain anonymous! We are so grateful to have been chosen from among numerous applicants to receive this funding.
Applying for grants is very competitive, and we want you to understand that we have our wonderful volunteers, donors, and supporters to thank! Foundations want to see a number of criteria being met before they will consider a charity for a grant. Not only did we have to show we have a proven track record, we needed to show stable sources of funding through donations and fundraising. Without our volunteers working hard in the field doing TNR and community outreach, baking for bake sales, sewing our catnip products, staffing events, etc. - and really doing a great job at it - foundations would not want to entrust us with their money. And without our generous donors and people who support our bake sales and other fundraising efforts, we would not have qualified to apply for these grants. The financial support from our community literally made these grants possible for us! Thank you to all!
Without further ado, let us tell you a little about each of the two grants…
You may remember that we have been working toward the PetSmart Charities® grant for some time, through participating in the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society’s Mentoring Program. Over the winter, we did a small pilot project of providing free spay/neuter for feral and free-roaming cats in Paw Paw, and we did so well that we received further funding to continue this work! As a bonus, we are also approved to spay/neuter feral and free-roaming cats in the adjacent community of Lawton.
Our second grant is from a foundation who wishes to remain anonymous. They awarded us funds for our feral cat TNR program. This grant is not restricted to geographic location like the PetSmart Charities® grant, which means we can use these funds anywhere in Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. This is going to be very helpful, as we receive calls from all over our service area requesting assistance with the spay/neuter costs for feral cats.
We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to both foundations for believing in Animal’s Best Friend and for providing funds so we can continue our important work of reducing pet overpopulation!
Merrimack River Grant
A newer concept in the field of spay/neuter is called targeted spay/neuter. When researching grant opportunities this year, we had the opportunity to learn a whole lot more about it. PetSmart Charities, a large grant-making entity in animal welfare, is a big proponent of this concept, and requires that all their grantees follow a targeted approach in their spay/neuter efforts. What does this mean? In a nutshell, it means that an organization should identify the “problem area” in their community and work hard to achieve at least an 80% spay/neuter rate in that tightly controlled, targeted geographic area. When we heard the term “problem area”, the village of Paw Paw immediately sprang to mind.
Shortly after learning about the PetSmart Charities targeted spay/neuter grants, and feeling slightly overwhelmed by the rigors of their program and this new way of doing things, we stumbled across the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society’s Mentoring Program for Free Roaming Cats. MRFRS, located in Massachusetts, works with non-profits and municipalities that have never received a targeted or free-roaming grant from PetSmart Charities before and are interested in getting spay/neuter money through the free-roaming cat program. This program is sponsored by PetSmart Charities. Each non-profit approved to participate is granted a small grant to do a targeted project in its community. There is grant money available for equipment, like traps, as well. Over the course of 3-4 months, the group will do a targeted free-roaming cat spay/neuter project and then once the project is completed, MRFRS will help go through the process of the PetSmart Charities application, with the goal of successful funding for a larger-scale project. Learning about the he MRFRS Mentoring Program excited us very much, and we applied to their program in August of 2014. In late September, we learned that we were accepted and would be receiving one of their small grants and mentoring in targeted spay/neuter and applying for the bigger PetSmart Charities grant!
We chose a section of Paw Paw as our target area and have been benefiting from the grant money, equipment and mentoring provided by MRFRS. In just over three months’ time, we have spayed/neutered nearly 200 free-roaming and feral cats in our target area, with all the funding for this coming from the grant. Soon we will dig into writing our grant proposal for the larger PetSmart Charities grant with MRFRS’s help and instruction on how to best approach it. It is our hope that we obtain the grant so we will be able to continue this intensive work in Paw Paw!
ABF Makes the Paw Paw Courier-Leader!
All of our hard work in Paw Paw has paid off and we made the news! To read the full article, click here!