Pet intakes have increased at Heart of the Valley. So, pups like Brody have been getting extra help and care from staff.
Sandy Feeney has volunteered at Heart of the Valley for over 10 years, in those years she’s made thousands of cat beds for the felines that come through the shelter.
“If you came into my house that you wouldn't fit wouldn't think that it was a house because it looks like a production center for cat beds as you walk in the door,” says Feeney.
She takes blankets that people drop off and transforms them into comfy beds for the cats at the shelter.
“I have an industrial sewing machine and I can do them pretty quickly,” says Feeney.
She drops off about a dozen beds each week but lately, more cats are coming through so she’s been keeping up.
“It has been crazy, so I'm keeping busy sewing,” says Feeney.
Staff at Heart of the Valley say they have seen a 25% increase in animal intakes compared to last year.
“Animal surrenders as well as strays and transfers from other shelters throughout Montana,” says Heart of the Valley Development Director, Terry Cunningham.
Rescues from other areas and the rising cost of living in the valley are the biggest contributors to an increase in surrenders.
“So when rents increase, people often find themselves in a situation where they have a pet and they can't find a place,” says Cunningham.
The reality of owners going back to work has meant pandemic pets are also being let go.
“[They are] unable to get giving the quality of life that they originally intended. And so, we're seeing an increase in the number of surrenders and other intakes as well,” says Cunningham.
Staff and volunteers say even with the increase, many of the cats and dogs are at the shelter for an average of 10 days, and the kittens get to leave comfortably with Sandy’s beds.
“I know that they have something that that they're familiar with because they're used it here in the shelter and it helps to make their introduction into a new environment a little bit easier,” says Feeney.
For information on how you can help, visit the Heart of the Valley website.