The Numbers and Beyond: A Look Back at 2010
As we close out one year and push on into the next, it’s a great time to spend some energy on the spreadsheets and data tables on my desk to get a view of the major and minor trends that influence the work we do at the Washington Animal Rescue League. Mostly, I want to know what animals and their people need from us and how we can make sure they get it.
Here are some of the numbers for 2010:
- 68% of the animals placed in homes by the League in 2010 required medical or behavioral rehabilitation before they could be made available for adoption.
- Forty percent of the adopted animals were cats. This is about ten percent more than it was two years ago, before we began our campaign to promote cat adoptions.
- About a third of the animals that the League helped in 2010 came from outside the area, mostly from large-scale rescues.
- Another third were transferred from local shelters when their space was tight or they had animals with medical or behavioral problems.
- The last third were surrendered to the League directly from the public. Many of these were animals with needs that their former guardians could not meet.
- Our Medical Center treated more than 3,800 dogs and cats belonging to low-income people, who can’t afford a private veterinarian. Another 2,210 animals came to our weekly low-cost vaccination clinics. That’s more than 6,000 animals.
- The League spayed and neutered 2,566 dogs and cats. Among these were 224 pit bulls and 386 feral cats treated without charge. (Pit bulls and feral cats are the two types of animals whose populations are most in need of control in this area).
I’m well aware that statistics by themselves can’t possibly tell the whole story of what we do. Every animal we help is so much more than a number in a column! Each one is a living being who is tied to many other lives by bonds of love and companionship. Each one comes to us with a unique set of needs and a unique set of gifts. None of this is reflected in the statistics.
But there are lessons we can draw from the numbers—more, in fact, than can be enumerated here. One conclusion stands out starkly: there is great need—both locally and across the country—for a shelter that emphasizes and specializes in animal rehabilitation. Not just housing animals until they can be adopted; lots of groups do that. But putting in the hard work binding wounds, treating illnesses, and modifying behaviors, so that every animal—no matter how physically or emotionally scarred—has a chance to become the cherished companion they were always meant to be.
Then let this be our resolution for the new year: to help more animals than ever before and to push onward towards the day when all animals’ lives will be free of needless pain, neglect, and abandonment.