THANK YOU TO SHERWOOD FAMILY PET CLINIC FOR SPONSORING THIS STORY!
The Grassroots Organization Gets a Mid-Life TransFURmation
It doesn’t get much more grassroots than a nonprofit whose mission sprouted on the grounds of Laurelhurst Park in Portland. It was there that Animal Aid’s founders, Jack and Kathryn Hurd, began rescuing abandoned pets and rehabilitating injured wildlife in 1969. The couple not only opened their hearts and home to these animals, but gave them a voice through Jack’s career as a radio talk show host.
“As listeners tuned into Jack’s show, learned the plight of the animals the Hurds were saving, and shared their own stories and struggles as pet guardians, the concept of Animal Aid took shape,” said the shelter’s Director of Operations, Paige España.
The Hurds’ first step in assisting the community was to enlist the help of local veterinarians and pet supply stores who were willing to offer their services and products at a reduced rate. Jack and Kathryn paid for some expenses from their own pocket, and eventually Jack’s listeners began to donate as well. Over time, the couple acquired a core team of volunteers to help with fostering, adoptions, delivering food, and whatever else came up.
Flash forward to today, and the now 50-year-old rescue is still driven by the compassion of its volunteers, supporters, and a small dedicated staff. Animal Aid is focused on providing individualized care and a lifelong commitment to each of its animals, including those referred to as “Heartstrings pets”—those with special medical or behavioral needs.
“We’re focused on quality over quantity, which to us means providing as much time and resources to each animal as they need and working diligently to make thoughtful adoptions that result in forever homes...homes where their personality and needs are the right match for a family’s expectations and capacity” España explained.
To accomplish their mission, Animal Aid operates a free-roam shelter for cats, a network of foster homes for dogs and cats, and two partnership programs to provide funding for urgent vet care and canine spay/neuter services.
“One of the really cool things we’ve been able to do is carry forward the collaborative relationship with local veterinarians that the Hurds helped establish 50 years ago, and our Animal Aid Cares Fund is a direct link to that,” said España. “Through this program, we partner with vet clinics to provide a monthly stipend they can pass along to their clients facing urgent and overwhelming medical or behavioral expenses.”
Many changes have taken place for the nonprofit over the decades, and particularly in the last two years as they embarked on a full shelter remodel, adding several new animal care rooms and renovating all existing spaces to allow the organization to increase its rescue capacity by 25 percent.
In order to make the upgrades possible, Animal Aid kicked off their Shelter TransFURmation Remodel Capital Campaign in 2017, offering supporters the chance to help pay for the renovations with naming opportunities in recognition of their sponsorship. Learn more at AnimalAidPDX.org/campaign or by attending Animal Aid’s open house on July 20th that will mark the official unveiling of the remodel.
In addition to their open house, be sure to mark your calendars for Animal Aid’s 50th anniversary party, Apawllo 50, when the rescue will celebrate in style.