After volunteering as an adoption coordinator for over 5 years for a large well-established rescue group on Long Island and, although they were responsible for approximately 100 great adoptions a year out of a few cages at a local pet store – we, Mary and Bill McDonnell, felt that we had better control over the medical care and daily care of the rescued cats we were trying to get homes for if we had our own rescue. We were spending a great amount of time with the rescues and with each adopter and delivering each cat, so it made sense to have better control over any decisions that had to be made and the daily care of the cats and marketing them.
It is our belief that in order to get great adoptions, cats don’t need to be in a tight cage with limited playing space. Cushy beds and toys only add to the happiness of the cats – which in turn is reflected in their overall health. We had double width size cages made that are bilevel – so siblings can be together and can play all they want. Potential adopters could look at the cats face to face and watch them interact and observe them as much as they want before they even inquire about adopting them. We are also very focused on the cats health, including the condition of the cats teeth and gums, as all of that plays a great part in not only the overall health of the cat, but the cats' personality. People are irritable when they don’t feel well or when they have a toothache, but we can vocalize it and drive ourselves to a doctor or dentist. The rescue cats need us to be their voice. The stress they incurred prior to our rescue is a great contributor in any sickness or condition they can have. 95% of them are correctible with a doctors visit and some meds, or maybe some minor surgeries.
So after 5 years volunteering for other rescue groups, Home Sweet Home Animal Rescue of Long Island was born in January, 2013. Since that time, approximately 600 cats have been rescued and adopted – all out of limited space and with limited funds and assistance. The first year of any rescue is difficult, as grants usually cannot be received until tax returns for a calendar year are submitted and budgets to the grantor. Many rescues start out with a handful of cats until they get on their feet. Home Sweet Home started out with over 20 cats that needed homes and medical care – and have a constant turnover, as there are so many cats that need to be rescued from shelters or are shelter bound that need our help.
Our goal is to continue growing as a rescue, to have many more volunteers on board who understand and agree with our thinking and mission – and help as many cats get rescued and rehomed as our space and financial limitations will allow.