Little did Lisa McCormick realize how much her life would change after she adopted Puddy and Otis. Both feral cats were about to be put to sleep at a pound in Washington County, Ill., about 15 years ago.
“But I realized (then) that all the animals I left behind would be dead in a few days,” she said. “They only had, at most, seven days to get out. The animal control did few adoptions, and there was no rescue groups taking the animals. Buckets of collars were on top of the gas chamber where the animals were euthanized.”
That prompted McCormick to volunteer at the pound. Two years later, McCormick started Partners for Pets (P4P) inside her 1,200-square-foot red barn in rural St. Jacob.
Her barn is now home to about 20 cats and 40 cats.
“We are so cramped,” she said.
But her animal rescue group, which serves Madison and St. Clair counties, recently received a much-needed shot in the arm.
A New Home
In October, P4P acquired a two-story home with an attached garage, along with three outbuildings, on a five-acre lot located at 9136 Lower Marine Road in rural Troy.
On Saturday, May 16, the public is invited to a “sneak peek” of the new shelter from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All proceeds collected will benefit the construction of the shelter that will feature an on-site spay and neuter clinic in addition to housing adoptable dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, McCormick said. There will also be a memory walk and garden outside, with an option for those interested to purchase a brick, bench or tree to honor four-legged friends.
“One day, our animals will be able to enjoy a communal space, a training area, separate kennels, an area for pregnant dogs and puppies, a cat room and sun room and ultimately, an on-site spay and neuter clinic to serve all metro communities,” McCormick said.
On Thursday, Puddy and Otis were already resting up for the big move. But neither cat will be up for adoption.
P4P has rescued and re-homed more than 12,000 dogs and cats since 2002.
Last year alone, they adopted 1,389 dogs and cats that otherwise would have been euthanized.
More Funds Needed
But due to the challenge to serve the growing number of abandoned dogs and cats, P4P has used their limited funding to start their new shelter, which will cost about $400,000 when it’s completed. To date, P4P has raised about $107,000.
“We are still in need of $160,000 for the property loan and another $180,000 to achieve the minimum amount of construction that will allow us to begin housing the dogs and cats,” McCormick said.
P4P plans to use any additional funding to help create a spay/neuter clinic.
“But, as you can see, we have a long way to go to reach our goal,” McCormick said.
P4P is a 501(c)3, not-for-profit, tax-exempt charity registered with the Internal Revenue Service. It is licensed as an animal shelter with Illinois Department of Agriculture. The current shelter can hold 36 dogs and 12 cats at one time. P4P also has 45 licensed foster homes.
Donations can be made by PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by sending a check to Partners for Pets, P.O. Box 445, Troy, Ill. 62294. Donations can also be made over the phone by calling (618) 540-7387.
P4P will also be holding animal adoptions every Saturday at the O’Fallon Petsmart and every Sunday at the Glen Carbon Petsmart from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
In the meantime, P4P will continue to go to area animal control/shelter facilities and pull dogs and cats as space permits at their existing barn, McCormick said.
“As soon as a space is open, we get another in that spot,” she said.
P4P gives priority to sick, injured, frail, and terrified animals. They also give cranky dogs and cats a chance. Animals that have used up their time and are in danger of euthanasia are also pulled by P4P.
While at P4P, the rescued animals are vaccinated, wormed, and provided some tender, loving care, McCormick said.
And as soon as the veterinarian’s schedule permits, or as needed, the animals are provided with heartworm/FIV and FELV checks, microchip, rabies vaccinations, health checks, and are spayed or neutered. But there is a backlog on heartworm treatments.
Each dog is also given any other medical care that is needed, for which P4P uses grants to offset the cost.
Over the years, P4P has also been an active proponent of spay and neuter campaigns in the St. Louis region.
“In 2014, euthanasia rates fell by 25 percent at Madison County Animal Control, a positive indication that we are making a difference by decreasing the number of unwanted animals in our area,” McCormick said.
P4P has one full-time and eight part-time employees on staff. All other positions, including McCormick’s, are volunteer.
To adopt from P4P, you must complete an application and an extensive background check.
For more information about P4P, visit them online at http://www.partnersforpetsil.or, or find them on Facebook.
Partners for Pets Fundraisers
Partners for Pets will host a number of fundraisers in the coming weeks, including:
▪ May 16: New Shelter Sneak Peak in St. Jacob
▪ June 17: Dog night at the Farm in Collinsville
▪ June 27: Pet Expo in Collinsville
▪ June 28: Hawks for Dog Poker Run, starting in Troy
▪ July 12: Psychedelic Pet Painting in Webster Groves, Mo.
▪ July 18: Fur Ball Chicken and Beer Dance in Granite City
▪ July 24: Dave Rosenfelt book signing at The Studio in Glen Carbon, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
For more information about P4P events, visit their website at www.partnersforpetsil.org