In December of 2014, the Community Foundation for Nantucket awarded grants through the Nantucket Fund™ to 27 deserving Nantucket nonprofits. Now in 2015, we are excited to feature and highlight these nonprofits and their amazing efforts. We asked each recipient a series of questions that get to the heart of their organization and how it benefits our Island community. Our second nonprofit to feature is one that cares for our furry Island friends – It’s the:
1) How does your nonprofit help the Nantucket community?
When people think of an animal shelter, naturally they think of homeless animals—stray dogs, feral cats, abandoned bunnies—those sad stories that pull at our heart strings. But behind every animal is a human. And Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals is dedicated to helping the entire community of Nantucket—both its people and animals.
Many of our grant-funded programs focus on assisting people with their pets: our Seniors with Pets Assistance (SPA) Program helps seniors care for their animals; the Lucky Whiskers and Wags Program offers financial aid to people with an acutely ill or injured pet; and Spay/Neuter Island Pets Program (SNIPP) grants vouchers to those families wanting to ensure their pets don’t have unexpected litters.
Our educational programs for both children and adults teach the rewards of adoption, the perils of pet overpopulation, the links between animal and human abuse, dog/child safety, what to do with injured wildlife, and more. NSHA board members and volunteers are often out in public or on social media sites guiding and educating island citizens.
Counseling and guidance during times of hardship—whether it be finding pet-friendly housing or helping modify a pet’s behavior—are also daily occurrences at the shelter. This counseling helps a family decide to keep their pet, to re-home one that is not a good fit, or perhaps to find a new one to add to their clan.
In addition to our formal programs, our staff and volunteers go out of their way to help people find their wayward pets. From being the first to respond to lost dog reports to making and posting signs about a missing beloved cat, our staff and volunteers are often on the front lines when the missing pet alarm is sounded.
As much as we love to spend time with the kittens and puppies at the shelter, we know that caring about animals is caring about people. And that is how Nantucket Safe Harbor for Animals helps the entire Nantucket community.
2) What does our Nantucket community mean to you and your nonprofit?
With the advent of Facebook and other social media sites, it has become so clear to us that we are a community of animal lovers. We have over 362 Twitter followers and 2035 Facebook friends. Every time we post an animal for adoption or an animal that is lost, found or needs a foster home, we have shares and retweets in a matter of minutes. So along with supporting us financially, our Nantucket community supports our work by helping us do our work.
3) Tell us a specific story of how your nonprofit has benefited someone in our Nantucket community.
We have dozens of stories, but here are two (names and details have been changed to protect privacy):
Our SPA program (Seniors with Pets Assistance) helps seniors with their pets in times of need. An elderly man recently broke his hip and could not walk his rambunctious dog. For two months, this program paid for a dog walker so that the dog did not lose his quality of life while the senior recovered.
A woman had a cat who needed a surgery that would save the cat’s life, but she could not afford to pay for that surgery. The Lucky Whiskers and Wags Fund covered the cost of the surgery, allowing the woman to keep her only companion. Months later, she sent us a letter thanking us for stepping in. In the letter was a check for the entire grant that NSHA had made. Her personal issues had resolved, she was solvent again, and felt it only right that she pay us back. That money can now go toward another animal in need.
4) In one sentence, tell us your thoughts on the Community Foundation for Nantucket and how you think it benefits the Nantucket community and all your efforts as a nonprofit.
The Community Foundation for Nantucket promotes community by helping Nantucketers support local causes: CFNAN helps Nantucketers help Nantucketers!
5) Where did your grant dollars specifically go this year?
To help fund our Lucky Whiskers and Wags program, which covers the costs for shelter and community animals needing surgery, medications, or other emergency or critical medical care.
6) Any event dates for your nonprofit we should know about in 2015?
Saturday, April 25th, Daffy Dog Parade
Sunday December 6th, Pet Photos with Santa
Location: 11 Crooked Lane, Nantucket, MA
Mailing Address: PO Box 2844, Nantucket, MA 02584
Phone: 508-825-CATS (2287)
Follow Nantucket Safe Harbor for animals on social media –
Facebook: /nansafeharbor, Twitter: @ackshelter and Instagram: @acksafeharbor