The primary goal of “Last Chance for Man’s Best Friends” is to provide emotional support for elderly people staying in nursing homes. This purpose is closely associated with another one: saving dogs that are supposed to be euthanized if no one can provide them with the appropriate place to stay. During the inaugural year, we plan to systematically visit shelters and look for dogs whose owners refused from them but who are not aggressive or terminally ill.
We will place these dogs in a specialized dog home on the organization’s premises and provide them with food and hygiene and medical services. Out of all the dogs entering shelters, approximately 48% become adopted, and 20% are euthanized (“Shelter Intake and Surrender”). In July of 2018, 164 dogs were euthanized in NYC, the majority of which were treatable (Animal Care Centers of NYC). At the same time, there are over 600 nursing homes and related facilities in New York (Dennison 3). Thus, the first year will be spent on launching a program of social and emotional support for elderly people in nursing homes with the help of dogs.
Over the course of the next year, “Last Chance of Man’s Best Friends” will:
- Save the lives of old and unwanted dogs that ate treatable-manageable and treatable-rehabilitatable.
- The organization will cooperate with dog shelters in NYC and ask them to let us know about the arrivals of dogs that are no longer wanted by their owners or have been lost but which are not terminally ill and can be good friends to elderly people. We will also reach out to other organizations whose mission is saving dogs’ lives, such as “Last Chance Animal Rescue” or “Silver Streak Kennels” to cooperate with them, ask for advice, or offer help (Last Chance Animal Rescue; Silver Streak Kennels).
- Improve the social and emotional support levels in NYC nursing homes.
- The organization will contact nursing homes in close proximity and negotiate the possibility of bringing dogs to their patients so that they could spend some time together. Out of the nursing homes that we contact, we will identify the most appropriate partners and will arrange regular meetings for their patients and our dogs. The regularity of visitations will depend on the number of dogs and the number of nursing homes that express their desire to cooperate with us. We anticipate arranging at least two visits per week to each nursing home.
Since “Last Chance of Man’s Best Friends” is a start-up, we will need to fulfill the following administrative and operational goals:
- Obtain suitable office space. The office will be the place where staff members and volunteers gather to discuss the organization’s work and plan their next steps. The most convenient option will be if the office is in the same building or close to the dog home.
- Find an appropriate building that could be converted into a dog home. This is the key objective since the whole project is based on dogs. It is necessary to find a place that will host the dogs and that will also have some rooms that could be utilized for medical services.
- Develop the volunteer base. For a young organization, support from volunteers is highly valuable and desirable. It will be necessary to advertise the project and enroll active people who are eager to help in looking after the dogs and taking them to nursing homes.
- Create a reliable board. The organization will need to form a board, which will be responsible for the major decisions and planning. Until “Last Chance for Man’s Best Friends” obtains a possibility to hire a CEO, there will be a working board. Later, it will be transformed to the governing board.
- Hire a CEO. The CEO will accumulate the resources and ideas and will govern all processes undertaken in the organization.
Staffing and Resources
The activities will be carried out both through volunteers and hired staff. We will need the administrator of the dog home and a secretary of the board and CEO who will arrange the paperwork. Other hired personnel will include a veterinarian and two or three drivers. Basically, the work will be divided into four types:
- Collaborating with sponsors and finding funds for the project;
- Contacting nursing homes and offering them our services;
- Securing dogs from shelters where they are now wanted;
- Arranging visitations of dogs to nursing homes.
Other non-staff resources include transportation (a car for transporting people and a van for transporting people and dogs), a space for office and dog home, a computer, dog carriers, food, medicines, and hygiene items for dogs. Other expenses include payments for Internet and phone and salary for staff members and the CEO. With these resources, “Last Chance for Man’s Best Friends” will be able to arrange and support its successful functioning.
- Save the lives of at least 150 dogs. In a year, we expect to save at least 150 dog lives by keeping them at our organization or arranging for them to stay with other shelters.
- Improve the social and emotional support levels in NYC nursing homes. The organization anticipates arranging the regular cooperation with at least 5 nursing homes. Also, we plan to arrange occasional visits to other nursing homes with the aim of turning them into our regular partners.
- Increase the public’s awareness of social issues. With the help of social platforms, such as Facebook, we will advertise our activity and enhance citizens’ knowledge about the abandoned dogs and the lack of emotional support for elderly people staying at nursing homes.
The measurement of the program’s success will be performed at several levels. First of all, to assess the ratio of dogs that have been saved from euthanasia, we will collect statistical data and compare it to the same periods in the past year. Secondly, we will conduct a survey among the patients of nursing homes. The questionnaire will be developed to inquire about the changes in elderly people’s emotional state. The outcome will be regarded as positive if 75% of the participants report that the project has had a beneficial effect on their emotional condition.
Thirdly, we will develop a survey for nurses working with these patients to ask for their evaluation of the patients’ improvements. Next, we will measure how many users join our Facebook group, how many volunteers will join us, and how many donations are made.
To reach the point of success, the Facebook group should have at least 20,000 users towards the end of the year. Finally, another measurement of success will be the increased demand for our services. If at least five other nursing homes apply for our services based on positive feedback they receive from the participants, “Last Chance for Man’s Best Friends” will be considered as a successful project.
Animal Care Centers of NYC. Asilomar Report. 2018. Web.
Dennison, Thomas H. New York’s Nursing Homes: Shifting Roles and New Challenges. 2013. Web.
Last Chance Animal Rescue. Last Chance Animal Rescue, 2018. Web.
“Shelter Intake and Surrender.” ASPCA, n.d. Web.
Silver Streak Kennels. Silver Streak Kennels Dog Retirement Home, n.d. Web.