2017 is a wrap...2018, here we come!
If you ask all three SEPR board members, 2017 was a very good year. Rachael Leighton, Michelle Kats and Biz Word each agree the organization took great leaps last year, from the success of fundraisers to the lives that were saved. In short, SEPR grew in every way.
For example, 2017’s Corks & Collars not only drew 100-more people than the year before, it brought in well over twice the amount from the previous year (from $11,000 to over $27,000)!! In fact, every SEPR event in 2017 exceeded expectations!!
Then, of course, there’s the “unmeasurable,” the intangible, the stuff not of numbers and balance sheets, but of the heart. Those things grew, too. And for Rachael, a high point was bringing into the program, two dogs taken from a suspected dog-fighting ring in Georgia (Meatloaf-left and Godiva-right). Dogs with those backgrounds hold a special place in her heart – their plight played a role in the founding of SEPR. “The nightmare that is dog fighting drives me to do everything in my power to rescue these dogs and show them the kind of life they should have had from the start.”
Long-time foster Monroe, (now called Jazz) found found her forever home and although she did not come from a dog fighting ring, she didn’t have a great beginning either. This “super high energy girl,” as Michelle describes her, had been with SEPR for nearly 2-years before finding for her forever family. But, according to Michelle the wait was worth it. “She’s the only pet in the house, which is perfect. But her family includes TWO kids who love and play with her. It can take time for some of our kiddos to find the perfect fit, but when they do, we all celebrate, big time!”
In addition to all the triumphs, Biz admits to 2017 being an emotionally challenging year - such is the case in animal rescue. Occasional heartbreak comes with the territory as beloved animal friends make their transitions and cross the Rainbow Bridge. Yet, as Biz observes, “These difficult times often serve to make us stronger.”
Using 2017 as a solid platform, all three board members are looking ahead with excitement and anticipation to 2018. Given the momentum, optimism is high that fundraisers this year will top last years’, both in attendance and donations. Rachael hopes to capitalize on that wave by creating more opportunities for outreach and education in our community… and to put more emphasis on local spay/neuter programs. “Celebrate Your Pit Bull” does just that, but currently relies on grants from local governments. Rachael adds, “The more money coming into SEPR, the more people with pit bulls we can help.”
Biz is focused on people as well… the volunteers within the SEPR organization. In looking at 2018, she says, “We are an organization filled with incredibly unique and talented people. I would love to find ways to capitalize on people’s individual strengths for the benefit of our dogs!” And she’s hoping to welcome even more of these unique and talented volunteers and foster families in this new year. She emphasizes, “Their involvement benefits SEPR dogs immensely. It literally saves lives.”
As for Michelle, who’s in charge of fundraising, she’s hopeful that SEPR gets to a level of funding so as not to have to worry about vital expenses. Last year, SEPR spent around $40,000 in vet bills and $20,000 in supplies like food, collars, leashes, pull fees for getting dogs from shelters, micro-chipping, and the like. She points out, “It’s expensive when you’re in the business of saving lives. So having enough money to do that is important.”
There’s one more wish that Michelle and the rest of the SEPR board is united in for 2018 that after 3-years in the program, Delilah(below) finally gets her happily-ever-after!