We started off the year renewing our commitment to find and qualify more foster homes for our dogs. To make this happen, we created a National Foster Coordinator position. On the next level are state coordinators who work with volunteer fosters in each state to identify when a foster home opens up and a dog can be moved there. The state coordinators have been meeting every week to talk about available foster homes and which dogs can be moved. We've also offered training sessions on medical, behavioral and administrative topics so everyone can learn the best practices for managing people, dogs and data. We ask our volunteers to do so much and we want to support them every way we can.
Our volunteers have gone out for events in a big way this year. We added new events in Ontario, Canada, Tennesee and Ohio to the places where our volunteers gather to set up booths and talk to people about the experience of fostering and adopting Pyrs. Great Pyrenees Rescue Society volunteers showed up at the Old Fashioned Parade and Festival in Newberg, Oregon this summer and Great Pyrenees Rescue Oklahoma has been having meet 'n' greets in Kansas City. We're doing our job on the back end, too, and took considerable time and effort to launch a new, mobile-friendly website in July and develop a clean new logo to help us stand out more online and at events.
Medical costs have always been our greatest expense in rescue and 2015 wasn't any different. The Wags & Menace Foundation gave us a grant to help with medical costs and we had a generous benefactor we are very grateful to, come forward to help with some major operations. This allowed us to consider medical procedures that would have been cost-prohibitive. As veterinary medicine becomes more closely aligned with human treatment for similar conditions, we have seen the demand and costs rise for diagnostic testing. Bloodwork, x-rays, ultra sound, 3-D modeling and sophisticated scoping are some of the diagnostic tools that have been used this year. We want to give each dog their best shot and diagnose their medical condition so we can treat them properly. The generosity of our members and donors helps us offer our dogs more medical options than many other rescues do. We can't fund every case but we are willing to consider many of them.
Transport remains one of our greatest challenges. Moving dogs thousands of miles is very time consuming and expensive. We've gotten great help from volunteer transporters that cuts down on the cost but this makes careful planning even more important. National Pyr's transport team meets every Tuesday to talk about the different options for moving dogs. This January the team reaches the three-year benchmark of having weekly transport meetings (that's over 150 meetings!) to facilitate moving hundreds of dogs many thousands of miles. Nevertheless, we are still happy to place the occasional puppy hitchhiker with a volunteer who may be "passing through". Dave Burns told us he would be going through Kentucky on his way home to New Jersey and offered to drive two dogs for us, which we took him up on!
We're sad to say we had to say goodbye to some of our treasured friends. Mary, Major, Asia, Davis, Bonny, Yogi, Sammy, Loki, Anna May, Phoenix and Old Bob are some of the dogs whose loss we felt deeply in 2015. Our sorrow is tempered by knowing that being in rescue, if only for a short time, can be the best time of a dog's life. Our resolve is strengthed by our awareness of this and we will continue to do all we can to "Save More Pyrs" in 2016. Please join with us as a volunteer, foster, member or donor. Visit our Annual Pyr Appeal page to leave your message and a year-end donation so we can continue our work.