Since moving from Bay Shore to Patchogue, Almost Home Animal Rescue adoption rates have almost doubled, but rent has also tripled.
Hundreds of cats and dogs, both young and old, have found their forever home thanks to Almost Home Animal Rescue in Patchogue. The no-kill shelter established in 2007 aims to find the right family for each cat and dog while also helping families who already own animals in economically challenged areas. Since moving from Bay Shore to Patchogue, adoption rates have almost doubled, but rent has also tripled.
The shelter’s bills amount to over $10,000 a month and donations are the only thing keeping the nonprofit alive. President Linda Klampfl said some weeks’ donations are plenty, but others not so much, leaving the volunteers in fear of closing.
Per month, rent is about $3,100, vet bills amount to about $6,000, payroll for caretakers is about $1,000 and food totals about $2,000, plus medical supplies, phone bills and other costs. About two months ago, fear of closing became closer to reality, as savings became lower and lower with no incoming donations.
“The thing that is problematic about relying on donations is that it varies so much,” said Klampfl, a Medford resident and registered nurse with a passion for helping animals. “Sometimes we have $2,000 in donations one month or a fundraiser that gives us $10,000, but then — nothing.”
Adoption fees are minimal, about $375 per adult dog, which includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, deworming, and flea preventative and microchip, which essentially cost more than the discounted fees.
Currently, the shelter houses about 20 dogs, 25 cats and 30 kittens, with additional adoptable animals in foster care. The youngest is about a year old, there are a few 8-month-old puppies and the oldest is a 10-year-old dog in addition to dozens of adult cats and kittens.
Volunteers are aplenty, about 30 to 40 of them help out. And food, toy and miscellaneous donations come in — but, according to Klampfl, the biggest thing people can do to help save the shelter is to donate money to help cover the bills.
“It’s hard to keep up with all our monetary expenses,” she said, sad to see the day the shelter has to shut down. “My ultimate goal would be to not have to exist [at all], where everything was wonderful and every animal had a home, but that just is never going to happen. We do so much good for these animals; I can’t imagine not being here. It would be devastating.”
Volunteer Lisa Tranquada felt more of the same and has been with the group for the past four years. Drawn to help the cats and kittens, she said just last year they sent home over 50 kittens and 50 adult cats.
“We are just overloaded with kittens,” she said, unable to imagine if they no longer existed. “Linda has done a great job. She really loves the animals and is here to improve their quality of life.”
In addition to saving animals and finding them homes, the shelter also has a spay/neuter program for low-income families and also goes out on a limb to help families struggling to pay vet or medical bills, such as dogs that are hit by cars and need immediate assistance. They also help other states in times of need during natural disasters and save dogs from the meat trade in Thailand.
“We have helped hundreds of people and their pets since moving to this location,” added Klampfl, proud of the work they have done.
Erin Kelly Connell, also a volunteer, said she began helping out last year after her Girl Scout troop started a program where they read to the dogs and socialize with the cats. She created their Medford Chamber commercial to help promote the rescue and even adopted one of their dogs, Noodle, a 5-year-old Maltese mix.
In an attempt to save the shelter, she has also started an “Operation Save Almost Home” campaign with T-shirts and political support from Assemb. Joe DeStefano, councilmen Neil Foley and Michael Loguercio, and Legis. Rob Calarco.
“No animal should ever feel unloved or unwanted,” she explained of her pull to help. “Almost Home changes that mentality and finds the right home for these precious animals. We are their voice and can make a difference in not just one but many lives of cats and dogs across the world.”
Upon hearing the news, her daughter and Girl Scout Addisonrae Connell added that “they can’t close. The dogs and cats will not be able to find their ‘furever’ home.”
Several fundraiser events will be held in an attempt to keep the shelter’s doors open:
Psychic Night at Ristegios, June 12; Medford Chamber Fashion Show at the Medford VFW, June 18; Yoganomics on the Bay at Corey Beach, June 24; Poker Tournament at the Medford VFW, June 12. For more information or future events, call 631-627-3665, visit @AlmostHomeAnimalRescue on Facebook or go to www.gofundme.com/almosthome to donate.
The rescue shelter located at 646 Route 112 is open Monday through Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for drop-offs and adoptions. All adoptions — $375 for dogs and $125 for cats — include spay/neuter, microchip, vaccinations and deworming.