We look back on 2020 as a year of tumultuous change. NGPR was challenged in many new ways.
Not knowing what lay ahead of us, NGPR’s board set some goals for operations east of the Mississippi in January 2020. We are happy to say that two out of three were surpassed, and the third stayed steady. Our goals were to increase adoptions 10%, and that goal was crushed with adoptions up 34% and 127 more dogs finding their forever homes. We can all be very proud of this achievement.
The second goal was to increase volunteers by 10% and this goal was also met, as we approved 90 new volunteers in 2020. Our third goal was to decrease boarding costs, and although these costs stayed flat, even that is an achievement with 127 more dogs coming through rescue in the East. We supported a new startup rescue in the Western states, Great Pyrs and Paws, and saw an increased flow of dogs in the mountain states of Montana, Utah and Idaho. Everyone’s resources have been stretched as we adjust to the “new “normal.
As a result of the increased popularity of the breed, we are called upon to take litters of homeless puppies while accommodating older dogs who are abandoned when property changes hands or when dogs are no longer useful as guardians. But because Pyrs are so different, many people who are new to the breed have problems integrating them into their households. Google reports that NGPR’s Training and Behavior page, training-behavior, is the second most popular page accessed on our site, right after the nationalpyr.org home page. We have added more information and links to our training and behavioral pages to meet the demand while our bi-monthly newsletter, now in its 13th year, provides current behavioral and health information about the breed to thousands of readers.
We continue to innovate by finding new ways to reach our growing audience. Quarantine logistics have forced us to communicate differently, so the Home Visit now takes place virtually on FaceTime, Facebook Messenger or Zoom. We needed to find new ways to assess dogs, too, so we learned to use these tools to virtually “meet” owner surrender and shelter dogs and dogs who exhibit behavioral problems. Our weekly live Saturday 1 pm broadcast, the Pyr Show, on the National Great Pyrenees Rescue Facebook page and other channels, answers training questions and takes viewers into foster homes to “meet the dogs.” This broadcast recently received $8,000 from the PEDIGREE Foundation to develop new training resources and purchase additional hardware and communications equipment.
Right now, the need for foster homes is urgent. There are dogs in shelters that we are being asked to help, dogs in boarding who could be in foster homes to reduce costs and help us learn more about them, and dogs being surrendered by owners who find themselves in a rough spot. They all need a place to go.
We also need people who can learn to navigate our Rescue Groups database to help with record keeping and identify qualified adopters for our dogs.
If you can help, please go to become-a-volunteer to learn more.
We have our work cut out for us, but with the help of our volunteers, adopters and donors, we are gearing up for another year of saving Pyrs in need. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get ready.
(And yes, Christmas, the Pyr with the pink tail, did find her furever home!)