Troy had wanted to work in disaster rescue and we even took classes towards this, but as we went on through the years this has gotten pushed farther to the back as the need for us to take in the many unwanted cats escalated, Troy and I having health issues and lack of participation has taken its toll.
With the help of many wonderful supporters, we have run full force with upgrading the buildings, maintaining the sanctuary, ensuring proper medical care, and pursuing funding to accommodate the felines in our care. We have done everything from filing for grants, working festivals, holding fundraisers and finally (at our own expense) built a thrift store to hopefully bring in some much needed funding.
After 4 years we had reached our capacity for what we ourselves could care for and decided to adopt out some if and only if we could find really good homes. These cats are family to us and we had never wanted to be an adoption facility. We did find several good homes but they are not as plentiful as the cats who need help. Although we had stopped taking in cats in general we still ended up with emergency take in's from ones dumped on our property to some who just had nowhere to go.
We have managed to keep going and break even every year but never really saving up anything for the rescue. Many much needed upgrades to the buildings were done such as putting in tile floors, waterproof boarding on walls, painting, as well as building a new 8x8 building thanks to the Lakin Foundation Grant. Vetting has been a very large expense but we were lucky enough to receive donated food through Purina until this year. We do not know why but they have not done any more donations and this year we are having to purchase dry food for the first time. With vetting bills getting higher and most of our population is older cats which are requiring more vetting this added increase plus the added expense of dry food has taken its toll on us.
We are so thankful for everyone who has supported us even with just a few dollars. It has made such a tremendous impact in these animals lives. Troy and I are willing to put in the work and the time to do this as long as we are physically able to do so but at this point our hands are tied. While we have accomplished what we had intended for our rescue to do, the demand is far greater than what we can do at this point. We would love to have a facility where we could take in more and do more adtoptions but without more funding this will not be possible. We turn cats down constantly and just today turned down 25 cats from 2 different people. Some were feral and some friendly. It breaks my heart but we are confined by the funding we receive. Sadly funding is what it all boils down to. No money, no rescue.
The economy has gotten steadily worse through the years and has hit hard on many rescues not just our own and forced some to shut down. Ours is no exception. We will keep going as long as we can both physically and financially but without further resources and funding we are forced to stay as we are. If we get funding to move forward we will gladly do so but if not we will do the best we can for what we have and eventually at some point, if we cannnot find anyone to continue our mission, we will shut down.
Graham County has absolutely no help for animals. Valley River Humane Society in Peachtree has agreed to take in our unwanted animals but there is a $50 fee per animal that they take in so the dumping will continue. Especially with the Stanley Plant closing which was our main place of employment here.
One of the big problems is people who are willing to help. I wish we could offer something but without the funding or employees to do it we will not be able to. People will not and can not work for free in this day and time. Plus with troy working a full time job and all the added work of the rescue it has put a lot of stress on him as he is the main person doing all the hard work and heavy lifting. If we had more funds coming in we could get a building and he could do this full time and maybe have one or two paid employees. I know this is not what people want to hear but volunteers are impossible to find and if you look at ANY big rescue they have paid employees which is why they look so wonderful and are so productive and can do more. You get what you pay for in other words. I don't mind being small but I had dreamed of more and becoming more. Maybe not big like Best Friends but big enough to make a difference in our county at least.
So while we are happy with what we have managed to accomplish we still wish we could do more.
This has been a very tough learning experience to us. We have learned so much through the last five years. I never realized how much work was involved until we started this. There are so many aspects of rescue and its not just petting cats!
I now know why you need so many people doing different jobs to be successful. You have to be able to sleep sometime and maintain a little personal life or you just get burned out. Some days I think I have reached that point and I know so does Troy.We are very disappointed with the support in our community. It seems no one acts like we exist until they want us to take in 12 cats. Suddenly we are visible but when we ask for funding you just hear crickets. Sure they love us but they do not want to donate to help us continue. And while we really don't care about the circumstances we just really care about the welfare of the animals but without the funding or the building we are forced to keep declining taking in unwanted animals in our county.
Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for all your support and allowing our dream to come true. We do love what we do and hope to keep moving forward. Who knows maybe we will win the lottery. Until then we will continue to do the best we can for our furbabies and hope you stay with us through the journey. I am optimistic that one day our plight will reach the right ears and we will be able to grow and do even more. We will do as much as we can to improve the quality of life in Graham County cats and hope for many more anniversaries to come. The kitties thank you too!
Marianne & Troy Grindstaff (Founders)