Happy New Year!
We hope that everyone had a safe and blessed New Year and that 2009 will bring even more blessings for all.
Our 2008 season ended on December 13th. We will reopen for visitors in April, weather permitting of course.
We are looking at changing our visitor season. It seems that the season slows down a great deal around the end of October and as a result we are considering closing for the winter beginning November 1st. Our board of directors is going to sit down and evaluate this. So, please keep checking our website for updates and information. Making changes to hours is always something that needs to be carefully considered because people don’t always see the changes and may get frustrated at the changes.
We did something different this year. We’ve been holding bake sale fundraisers for two years or more and we hold them every six months. Well, we thought that maybe having a Christmas bake sale might be a fun idea. So many people go to parties and are always looking for something to bring to these parties. We thought this would be a good way for people to buy some really good baked goods and at the same time help a really good cause. I must say it was a success. We were able to pay off the blow dart system we purchased and that is really nice. This is the system we use to administer vaccines in a less stressful manner to the cats. So, we want to thank those of you who supported us with this bake sale.
Speaking of the blow dart system. It was used in December to administer vaccines to all the cats and this was a much nicer system for us. In the past we used, however successfully, a pole dart system. It is an effective method of delivering medicines, but let’s face it. These animals are smart and when the see the pole they know what is coming. We can hide it behind our backs all we want, but these cats are smart. The pole system is better than the dart gun, which is noisy and expensive to use, but the blow dart is by far the best. The amount of pressure applied with the pole is more than when a dart is blown. There is no noise, less pain, and more accuracy. Overall we are very pleased with this and so are the animals. We are so happy to have this equipment.
2008 presented many challenges for us at Yogie and Friends. As always there are the financial challenges, but the year presented many medical challenges. One was our beloved Siberian tiger, Pooh Bear. Pooh developed a urinary tract infection that sadly he didn’t respond to treatment and died on March 27th. Then in September we had to humanely euthanize one of our cougars, Bubba. Bubba was 19 years old and his body just gave out and he couldn’t walk, so we had to do the kind thing for him. It is never easy for us to lose any animal, but we know this will happen.
We also faced medical issues in three cats, our male lions, Batman and Robin, and our cougar, Boudreaux. These three showed serious problems from botched declawing. When they arrived at Yogie and Friends they were already declawed. They never showed any problems until, as is not uncommon, several years later. The nails try to grow back or they have bone fragments floating around in their paws. Often these animals suffer infections we don’t see for years and the treatment is painful and costly. Robin’s paws are so messed up that it would take three or more surgeries to repair. This is also risky having to be anesthetized so many times.
On a positive note we entered 2009 with only the truck payment as a liability (and that is only about $3000 to pay off). Of course we have the regular bills such as water, electric, fuel, insurance, phone, and food, but having no credit card or any other unsecured debt is a blessing and not something many can say. So, we feel extremely blessed about this. Your contributions help with all this and know that it all goes to running the sanctuary. Nobody receives any pay or compensation whatsoever.
Now, with many successes and some sad losses behind us we move on into the New Year with renewed hope. Our hopes and goals are to be able to get more land, hopefully donated, and expand the size of the enclosures for the current residents. At this time we are not looking to bring any new cats in, but to expand the living situation for the current residents. When this is achieved we will look forward to future rescues. Also, we are expanding our educational focus and outreach into the community to spread awareness about the plight of all animals, wild and domestic. We hope you can help us with all this.
Something many don’t realize is that we also work with domestic animals. We are doing a great deal of work with feral cats and stray dogs. We have had much success in the arena because we have been working with breed specific rescues for the dogs. We’ll post some success stories in the future. But, the feral cat situation is really bad and even more so in rural areas such as Frierson and Desoto Parish in general. We are working on an educational program for the schools to help with awareness regarding these issues.
Yogie and Friends can only experience financial success and growth with the help of faithful donors who know that we are truly a rescue and that it isn’t about us, but all about the animals. We hope and pray you will continue to stand by us and what we continually strive for to make things better for our resident animals. Please don’t ever give up for them. They need your help and support. Don’t ever let bickering and arguing cause problems for the animals. They need us all.
Yogie and Friends 10th Anniversary Calendar is in production. This calendar will be for the 2010 calendar years and will have amazing photos of our beautiful animals as well as species and biography information. If you are interested in helping sponsor this calendar, then please contact us. Our goal is to have the calendars available for sale by October 2009. May 2009 will be Yogie and Friends tenth anniversary. At this time it looks like the calendar may sell for $14 – $15, but we don’t have the final numbers at this time. Hey, 100% of the proceeds go to the animals and it will make a nice gift for next Christmas or Hanukkah!
An easy way you can help the cats is when you do your shopping on-line is by using iGive. If you do your shopping on-line then you can contribute by shopping through the iGive tool. Everything helps. Visit www.iGive.com and select Yogie and Friends as your cause when you shop. It’s so easy.
Volunteers of the month: Thank you to those who helped us with the bake sale. There are so many of you so I just want to send a collective thank you. You rock!
Kroger Neighbor to Neighbor Program replaces the Kroger Share Card Program. The new Kroger program is now up and running. The advantage of the new program is now you only need to use the one card, your Kroger Plus Card. The Share card is obsolete. If you download the Kroger letter from our website and bring it with you the next time you shop at Kroger’s all you need to do is give the letter, with the bar code, to the cashier along with your Kroger Plus Card. The cashier will scan the bar code and it will be part of your Kroger Plus Card. One less step.
Combined Federal Campaign. It is that time of year again when Federal and Military personnel can donate to Yogie and Friends through payroll deduction under the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) program. If you are interested in contributing this way our CFC number is 42427.
Coins for Cats! I recently emptied a little piggy bank I throw all my change in when I come home. It wasn’t even full, maybe half so. It added up to $106! That little bit of effort ended up being a nice chunk of change. I gave it to Yogie and Friends. This is a neat way for kids to be able to help the animals with very little effort.
Cans for Cats! Kids can also help by collecting cans and taking them to the local recycling center for cash and this can also add up to a nice piece of change for the cats. It’s something kids can do to help go green and help the big cats all at once.
If you are interested in volunteering with us then please contact us. Come visit us at the sanctuary and see what we are all about. This is a 100% volunteer driven organization, which means, nobody gets paid for the work they do. We love the animals and what we are doing for them. There are many different volunteer opportunities such as tour guide, admissions, lawn care, fundraising, etc. A little something for everyone. But, please know this. There is absolutely no contact with the animals. If you want to volunteer with the intent of “touching” one of these animals, then this is not the place for you. If you are doing this for the love and care of the animals, then maybe this is something for you.
Check out the programs being offered at Yogie and Friends. There is the Yogie and Friends Membership Program , Sponsorship Program, and Corporate Sponsorship Program . These are programs that help us support the animals and another way that you can get involved. Program packages are available here on our website.
Go Green with our ink jet and cell phone recycling program. Details are listed on our website.
We have several programs for you to help our animals: www.magfundraising.com, www.igive.com, Cause ID 19883, www.networkforgood.org, www.goodsearch.com, just to name a few. They are all listed here on our website.
Please remember to spay and neuter your pets.
Also, do what you can to prevent flea and ticks causing serious illnesses to your animals. They deserve your care and kindness. Don’t stop using preventative just because it is cold outside. Some of these pests are still around in the winter.
Please make sure you provide all your animals, inside and outside, fresh, clean water (and not covered in ice during the winter). Provide good, warm and dry shelter for those animals outside.
Be good to your animals. Be good to people! Be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Jenny and the Yogie Cats!
Posted in Monthly Newsletter and tagged cats, sanctuary, yogie and friends