by Julie Madden
UPDATE 4/7/20 – We continue to stay closed in accordance with AL Governor Kay Ivey’s stay at home order. Please follow us on Facebook for periodic updates and highlights of adoptable dogs: @EncoreEnrichmentCenter.
As coronavirus concerns grow, we’ve decided to close Encore starting next Monday, March 23, through at least Monday, April 6. As that date gets closer we’ll let you know if we will re-open then, or if we need to push the date even further. Before we do open back up, we will perform one of our quarterly deep cleanings.
In addition to not working with shelter dogs, we will not be doing any private evaluations or training classes. We are not holding any fundraisers or other activities during this time. It’s important for all of us to follow public health guidelines as far as staying at home, washing our hands, and keeping a social distance of at least six feet from others if we do have to go out.
We have lots of great pictures and information about the shelter dogs we’ve worked with, and we will keep posting stories on Facebook and our website to highlight ones that are still available. We’ll also provide dog training tips and links to articles of interest to the dog loving community.
We will continue to pay our staff throughout this difficult time. They are vital members of the Encore family and we don’t want them to worry about how to pay their bills, on top of all the other things there are to worry about right now. We are also staying in touch with our partner shelters and volunteers via email so we remain connected, even electronically, to support each other.
We will continue to pick up dog and cat food donations and re-distribute them to our partner shelters and food bank. We don’t know how much we will get during this time, but whatever we have we will deliver at no cost. If you are a local church or food bank getting requests to help your members with dog or cat food, contact us via FB private message. If we have food we will try to help. We will share until we run out.
It’s ironic that we are shutting down at a time when we were ramping up our training classes, nose work events, and planned fundraisers (we were looking at doing a yard sale this spring – ARGH!). Like many other small businesses and non-profit organizations, we are not sure what things will look like by the time this emergency is over. Each of you reading this is facing your own situation and only you know how impacted you will personally be. If you are lucky enough to be healthy, working from home and getting paid, well-stocked and safely hunkered down, please consider one of the following.
Can you foster a shelter dog in your home? You could give both the dog – and the shelter workers who still need to clean kennels and take care of the animals in their care – a welcomed break. Same goes for stray dogs at this time. If you can take care of one now, it may save that dog’s life until normal animal control activities are up again.
Can you check on the welfare of your elderly neighbors with pets, so see if they have pet food and supplies? Maybe you could run an errand for them to pick that stuff up.
Can you donate $5 a month? If you can afford it financially please consider a $5 monthly donation to Encore Enrichment Center. Just $5 a month – don’t extend yourself because we just don’t know what the financial situation will be down the road. But if enough folks can afford $5 a month, it makes an immediate difference in our ability to pay salaries, utilities and insurance while we are shut down. It will also allow us to resume operations immediately once health officials determine it is safe to do so. You can donate at the “Ways to Help” page of our website.
You need PayPal to do a monthly donation. Now might be a good time to get a PayPal account if you don’t already have one – it’s a safe way to do online shopping and we may be doing a lot of that in the next few months…
We hope you and your loved ones are able to stay safe and healthy as we move through this crisis. We hope you find the right balance between overreacting and underreacting to the coronavirus threat. We truly believe that our pets can help us during times like these. They help us stay grounded to reality. They bring us moments of joy. They make us laugh out loud and that is something we really need right now. God bless you all and be safe.
Julie and Tom Madden
Encore Enrichment Center for Shelter Dogs
Some adorable dogs to brighten up your day!