Non-Profit Spotlight: Furry Friends: Finding “forever homes”

Jen Hard

Furry Friends has found support within the Clark County community and operates completely on private funding: monetary and in-kind donations. The organization has found creative ways to contribute to its cause. Through working with Speed’s Towing, Furry Friends accepts cars, trucks, boats, RVs and trailers. Iron Gate accepts saleable items on behalf of Furry Friends; the organization hosts garage sales or auctions and sells items online, with 65-100 percent of the proceeds going to Furry Friends.

Furry Friend’s annual fundraiser is coming up on September 27, 1014. Tickets are $50 to the dinner auction, which will be at the Firstenburg Community Center. This year’s theme is “the cat’s pajamas.”

“We’re encouraging people to wear pajamas,” said Cox. “There are lots of fun items that we’ll be auctioning off, plus a costume contest.”

The fundraiser will help support one of Furry Friend’s main causes: cat foster care. In addition to its halfway house, home to up to 25 cats, Furry Friends places cats in foster homes while they wait for permanent housing.

“When our halfway house is at capacity, which we frequently are, all we can do is refer them to other adoption agencies or place them in a foster home,” said Cox. “We sometimes have to refer them to Oregon Humane or Southwest Humane, but only if the shelter is no-kill.”

Furry Friends also uses funds to take care of medical needs, to spay and neuter cats and feed/care for basic needs until they can be adopted into forever homes. Annually, the organization places about 250 cats into forever homes per year.

“Our philosophy is never to euthanize just because they can’t find them a home,” Cox said.

He explained that most cats find homes within a year, but it really depends on the time of year and the cat.

“I’ve seen a cat with dysplasia, a debilitating paralysis of the hindquarters, that was really difficult to place,” he said. “Most humane societies would probably just say we can’t place this cat, we’ll just put it down. But we actually found somebody in Arizona after just a few months.”

In addition to hosting pet showings around Clark County, volunteers do pet visitations to senior centers or assisted living facilities. Furry Friends also sponsors visits from therapy dogs.

“We’re always looking for volunteers,” said Cox. “With the basic crew we have, people come in twice a day at the halfway house to feed them, change water, clean litter and clean the rooms.”

The two-story house is luxurious living for cats whose alternative is often cages or euthanasia. With an outdoor ‘Cat-io’ – a fully enclosed outdoor patio and deck – the cats can access fresh air and sunshine at their leisure.

“They all seem very happy,” said Cox, “but the main purpose to get them adopted out.”

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