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Times may have changed, but for the Scituate Animal Shelter in Massachusetts, offering care and compassion for animals doesn’t stop. When the organization moved to remote operations in March, they knew local pets would need them more than ever. With a handful of creative ideas, dedicated staff and over 200 volunteers, they put together a plan that allows them to spread kindness and continue the support of their community during this difficult time.

To help pet parents facing financial hardship, the shelter opened a 24-hour pet food pantry. There for all who need it, supplies are free and restocked daily. Volunteer Rich McSweeney recently drove supplies 100 miles to a recently adopted pet owner who is in isolation. Usually, you can find him walking dogs and taking professional photos of the shelter pets to help find them homes.

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Even without the uncertainty of a global pandemic, Scituate Animal Shelter regularly donates thousands of pounds of pet food annually—to both regional pet food pantries and local seniors. Kim Andrew, another volunteer dog walker and fundraiser, has also helped secure donations to the pet food pantry, because no member of a family should go hungry.

The shelter also knew everyone deserved to be checked on and launched their latest initiative, Phone Pals. The staff wanted to make sure vulnerable senior pet owners were being taken care of. They matched volunteers, like high school student Hope Brown (who usually takes care of shelter cats), with a designated senior. Phone Pals call and check in to see how their match and their pets are doing, offering a friendly voice during times that can feel so lonely.

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Perhaps the most inspring idea the shelter has had was to continue pet adoptions—just virtually. As pausing on-site operations seemed inevitable, Scituate Animal Shelter was able to move all of their shelter animals to foster care by expanding their foster roster. Usually nurses, like Emily Boysen, would take care of shelter cats, rabbits and small animals, but the community came together to take the care into their own homes.

Going virtual hasn’t changed the adoption process too much—interested families chat with staff (over the phone), fill out an online application and then meet those hosting the animal, like volunteer foster Kelly Mellen, (over video chat). Going virtual has also allowed the organization to donate the bulk of their Personal Protective Gear to area hospitals. Volunteers have also participated in making homemade masks for local first responders.

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Scituate Animal Shelter has been helping Massachusetts pets and the people who love them since 1992 – and they’ve proven nothing can stop them. Sperry is proud to donate $1,000 to the Scituate Animal Shelter to support their efforts.

Interested in donating or adopting a pet? Visit the shelter’s website to learn more. Support your community’s animal shelters by searching for a local animal shelters doing good.

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