Summer Appeal for Funds

Blog author: 
Anne Zabolio

The gist of this message is that we need money again, for rent, bills, vet bills, cat food, etc. Give online via PayPal account, or you can mail a check to P.O. Box 1555, Dripping Springs, TX 78620. We will appreciate any amount you can give us.

Most of the rest of this e-mail is just blather about what we've done to raise funds. There are some animal stories clearly marked at the end because I will never appeal to you for funds without telling you about some of the wonderful creatures we help with your dollars.

Keith and Charlie
Keith and Charlie -- read their story below

For those of you who have given to us recently, and for our regular donors, volunteers, and board members this is just an update. Please consider it as a way to keep you in the loop. However, if you have an animal friendly e-mail list to which you would like to forward this message, please feel free to do so!

I was feeling guilty for even considering sending out another appeal for funds when I met one of you in Sun Harvest yesterday. In the course of our conversation, she encouraged me to send out an appeal, saying, "I'm always grateful for those. It reminds me to send Thundering Paws some money." Thank you, Sage.

Lest you think this is all we do to raise money, let me tell you about some of our other means of fundraising. We regularly "table" outside of any sympathetic business: set up a table, put a jar on it, hang a sign from it, hand out fliers off of it, and appeal to passers-by. This is how we met most of you. Yes -- MOST! It's hot in the summer, cold in the winter, absolutely delightful in spring and fall, and quite often a lot of fun. If any of you have or know of a business with a lot of foot traffic -- Bookpeople was great until their landlord squelched tabling -- that will allow us to do this, please let me know. If any of you are willing to volunteer to table for us, please let me know.

We have an Automated Clearing House (ACH) account with Wells Fargo through which we can draft funds from willing donors' bank or credit union accounts. So far, we are up to drafting a total of $487.14 a month from the accounts of 21 individuals, mostly in small amounts. If you are willing to have us do this with your account, please fill out this form, staple a voided check to it, and mail it to us. I am the only person with authorization to draft from your account.

We have many donors who simply mail us a check every month.

A few businesses allow Thundering Paws to be a donor charity in their employees' gift giving campaigns. We want to expand this option by joining Another Way Texas Shares, which we hope to do soon.

We have applied for, and received, several grants. It is a lengthy process, which requires a person who knows what she or he is doing. Fortunately, we have a volunteer who has worked with many non-profits in the past as board member, director, and/or grant writer. She has given her time and talents to us in many areas. Thank you, Janna.

I have been surprised and delighted by amazing gifts! Once I was minding my own business, working on the computer, when the phone rang. The caller said that her job was to visit websites and scout out philanthropic opportunities for her wealthy employer. "Would Thundering Paws like a thousand dollars?" she asked. "Why, yes, we would, thank you," I answered. She instructed me to fax her some information, I did and, indeed, within a few days a check for $1,000 arrived in our post office box! Now that's how I like making money!

Our next fundraising venture will be a direct mail campaign, which is costly and time consuming, but hopefully will net us funds and increase our donor base, so I can send these dang things out less often. We plan to acquire mailing lists specific to animal lovers. Sooner or later, through reaching more people, we hope to hit the Big Kahuna of donors, that wealthy person who wants to build us a larger facility.

We have a donor who whittles down our veterinarian bill for us, or pays her vet to treat our kitties when necessary. She has just paid for two weeks boarding and medicating for one cat and a month for another cat, both feral. Tucker and Amanda are both home now and doing much better. Thank you, Jennifer.

Some people regularly buy us litter and, if they live close, leave it on the porch or, if they don't visit often, call me to pick it up when I'm in Austin. This is fine with me!

And then there's my mother. Thundering Paws would have failed in the first few months -- and many times thereafter -- without her generous contributions. Had someone told me that I was starting a non-profit organization six weeks before the worst tragedy America has ever experienced -- we began innocently and happily July 27, 2001 -- I would have gone to graduate school, gotten a "real" job, and Thundering Paws would never have come into existence. But, as I was standing on the brink of graduate school, cats literally started walking up the driveway, and of course I brought them inside. I petitioned some animal lovers to be a board of directors, my mother offered her help, we printed up fliers, and we charged out to learn at lot, the hard way, about this venture. I am truly grateful that I didn't know what I know today, not only because there would be no Thundering Paws but the journey from there to here, while often difficult, is something I would not want to have missed. Thank you so very much, Bernice.

ANIMAL STORIES:

Julie and The Stones -- We have a board member, Calene Summers, who is an excellent trapper of feral cats. She and her friend, Julia, spent a -- for them -- normal evening in April trapping cats, after their full times jobs and before they went home to care for their families. Julia trapped a beautiful tabby cat with orange markings, coloration that is 99% linked to a female. Julia took her in the trap to the Austin Humane Society so she could await spaying the next day.

But she didn't wait. She had four kittens in the trap. The Humane Society and Julia made a frantic appeal for somewhere to house this family, and Thundering Paws offered to take them, providing the Humane Society would find homes for the kittens once they were old enough to leave their mom, whom I named Julie after her trapper.

Three weeks later, I had been consistently spat and hissed at when I changed the water, or the bedding, or filled up the food dish for the unappreciative Julie. I could see the kittens nursing, sleeping and growing -- four perfect beauties, one orange, one orange and white, one black and white, and one brown tabby and white. When they began trying out their legs, we started picking them up so they would get used to humans. Now at nine weeks, they are completely socialized.

We sometimes can't tell the sexes of baby kittens until they are two months old. Not this litter! They were all obviously boys from the first time I checked at three weeks. So I named them Ron, Keith, Charlie and Mick. If you don't know those names, ask an old hippie to enlighten you.

Last week, when the Stones celebrated eight weeks of age, a friend of Thundering Paws called to say her neighbor had a feral kitten in her yard and asked if she could bring the kitten to us. When she finally caught him and got him to the vet for testing (negative for FIV and feline leukemia -- yea!), they determined that he is a boy so, of course, he is Brian (again, ask the old hippie). Brian came a week ago and yesterday he made what I refer to as "the definitive move" for a feral cat or kitten -- he came toward me. He is a light orange and long haired, unlike the brothers.

Ron -- orange and white -- and Mick -- orange -- didn't make it to the Humane Society but were adopted by a couple of donors last week. Thank you, Steve and Kent.

Thundering Paws has filled up over the last eight years. While we adopt cats out, the influx has exceeded the outgo, as in most sanctuaries. Therefore, this year we have had to do something different. Because we have such a good reputation, we have been able to collaborate with other rescue organizations whose adoption abilities far exceed ours. We have taken in some kittens and raised them until they were old enough to be adopted, then sent them to PAWS of Kyle and the Austin Humane Society, where they are able to be on display to potential adopters. The sanctuary that actually adopts out the kitty gets the donation, so, while we lose revenue in that way, we don't have to do all the vaccinating, spaying and neutering.

Another service that we have begun recently, thanks to our trapper, Calene, is that of being a way station for feral cats. Calene traps cats; we keep them until she can get them appointments for spay/neuter at different veterinary venues; Calene, her daughter, Theresa, and Thundering Paws volunteers schlep trapped cats to these veterinarians; and then they recover here post surgery, to be released back into their respective colonies. We recover males overnight, females for at least two days, and, if a feral cat requires medication for a week or two, we keep them here and feed them medicine-laced canned food, a delicacy few can resist. Those who have studied the issue assure us that the only way to solve the feral cat problem is through spay/neuter/release, one cat at a time. We are happy to do our part to help these kitties, even with $3.89 per gallon gasoline!

We would, of course, be nothing without your help and support. I thank you all so very much for everything. And thank you for everything you do for animals, who can't say it in words.

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