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North Hills Monthly

Our New Normal: Navigating the Road to Recovery

May 28, 2020 10:16PM ● By North Hills Monthly magazine

By Kathleen Beaver, Animal Friends’ President & CEO

It has been just over two months since Animal Friends closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time there were so many unanswered questions. So much uncertainty. And, quite frankly, so much fear about this unknown virus. While we still have many questions, we have learned a lot including how to manage uncertainty and how to come together as a team to continue our lifesaving work.

Despite the heartbreaking decision to close Animal Friends to the public in mid-March, we are now able to see that we are going to be okay. Once the governor began transitioning our region to the yellow phase in May, we knew we were on the road to recovery and our new normal.

So, what does this mean for Animal Friends?

We will continue to reopen programs and services as we are confident that we can do so thoughtfully and safely. Many of our programs are already open by appointment and we encourage you to regularly check our website at ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org and social media pages to stay current on our operational changes and when we will fully reopen to the public.

Unfortunately, we are not yet ready to have the public coming in to “just look” or to drop in to shop in our retail stores without guidelines in place. We will get there soon, but for now we are asking for everyone’s patience.

Please note that as we continue to ease into our new normal, we are going to stay closed to public operations on Mondays. We will use this day as an opportunity to prepare our animals and our kennels after the busy weekend days and provide training to better support our staff and serve our public more effectively.

Our Clinic Services team has been busy preparing to ramp up our low-cost spay/neuter offerings. They’ve continued to assist with our adoptable animals on site as well as animals who were adopted prior to being altered due to the shut-down. But the team is now turning its attention to preparing to open surgery appointments for partner organizations and eventually the general public.

It will take careful planning to ensure we are ready to go and that we have all the supplies, personal protective equipment and safety protocols in place. Our goal is to open spay/neuter beyond our internal needs in June. Appointments are now being scheduled for the summer months. Once we get caught up on spay/neuter we will gradually reopen our wellness appointments and vaccine clinics.

We want to thank everyone who has stepped up during this crisis. From the financial support and in-kind donations to an overwhelming response for new foster guardians and over 200 adoptions, thank you for helping Animal Friends navigate this circuitous COVID-19 path.