Bigfoot Kitty

So cute…Bigfoot Kitty.

Time to Vote for Your Favorite Cat Video

From:  Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode

Date:  August 7, 2013Image

Celebrate Internet Cat Videos and America’s Favorite Felines with Animal Outreach and Friskies

Animal Outreach is well into the second year of our partnership with Friskies cat food, and because of your support, we’re already seeing great success! As one of the 20 selected partner organizations, we have earned 7,000 cans of Friskies cat food to date for our commitment to cats in our community along with our participation in this year’s “The Friskies,” the major award for the best new Internet cat videos of 2013.

With your help, Animal Outreach can earn even more cans of cat food by voting for your favorite Internet cat videos at “The Friskies” judges have narrowed down thousands of entries to reach 20 Semi-Finalists, and now it is entirely up to the public to vote for the top 12 finalists who will meet in New York City for the opportunity to win $5,000 and the golden Catuette trophies. Voting begins August 7, 2013 and ends on September 16, 2013.

“In America, the vote is always in the hands of the people,” said comedian, cat owner and “The Friskies” host Michael Ian Black. “Take advantage of that right and vote for your favorite Internet cat videos at! It’s time to give back to those cats and their owners who create the videos that get you through work, public transportation and family parties.”

Join us in helping our cats in need! Encourage your friends and family to become involved as well. After all, who doesn’t love a good cat video? There are five Semi-Finalists in each of the four categories, including a “Rescue Cat” category. Visit for more information. Also, check out @Friskies on Twitter and Facebook for more updates on “The Friskies.”

For the Love of Animals – Part 2

By Diane Robertson

Date:  08/06/2013

On August 2, 2013 I created a rather long blog post about facts, figures and information requirements in rescue.  It was basically a rant or a wish list for the rescue that I work with.  Since I spent so much time and energy writing about data, I now see more and more of the articles and videos that others have produced on the topic of information gathering and publication of that data.  It is the publication of data that helps tell the story of what we are doing and how well we are doing.


There are statistics from national organizations about total intake and kill rates from their members.  There are statistics from individual public shelters.  Then there are the statistics that rescue organizations should be posting.  Shelters are now often posting how many dogs and cats were sent to rescue organizations.  I want the rescue organizations to show how many of those animals received they handled and their overall numbers.  The overall number for some rescues will help people understand that there are many, many, many more unwanted dogs and cats than the 6-8 million often reported (that comes from national organizations).

Let’s help tell the story of the plight of our beloved pets so we can encourage more adoptions, more spay and neuter, more volunteers, more foster parents and yes, more donations to help fund these critical organizations.

Donate to Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode Today:

I am not alone in my deep belief in the value of data in animal rescue.

Following are links to other articles on the topic of data, facts, figures and the value of information in animal shelters and rescue.

Conversations with Cats

Reblogging this Really, really funny… conversations with Cats with pictures!!!!

Vision, Value, Facts and Figures for the love of Animals

Blog Post Dated 08/02/2013

 By Diane Robertson

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode (AO) must share information with the public that shows the facts about the organization so they can acquire more donors and donations

One of the things that I have not been sharing with you, my blog post readers, is what your donation to Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode means.  You know what AO does because you can see their Facebook posts and Web Pages.  You can see images of available dogs and cats and the stories of adopted pets on Facebook.  You also have a good idea of what AO needs because they do try to let you know.  Animal Outreach always needs more volunteers, foster parents and monetary donations.  Sometimes, AO asks for specific items such as copy paper or laundry soap.

Did you know that Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode has a “Wish List” on Amazon?  Well, it looks out of date right now.  Yep, one more thing AO “should do” better.

What you do NOT know now are the numbers.  You do not know how many animals were helped last month or last quarter or what form that help took.  You do not know how much money it would take to foster five more dogs or spay one more community cat.  I would like to share this information with you so that you know more about how your donation is used and inspire you to give even more.  I do not have this information therefore I have outlined some questions for Animal Outreach below.

Without answers to at least some of the following questions, Animal Outreach fundraising and volunteer recruitment campaigns are limited in their effectiveness.  People want to know how the money is used and what a donation can accomplish for the organization.  People want to know the impact their  donations are having on the organization.  They know that Animal Outreach save lives.  But, they also want to know more precisely what their donations and/or volunteer work will accomplish.

Here are some questions looking for answers:

  • How many dogs and cats were adopted last week, last month, last quarter, last year?
  • How many surgeries were performed overall (last month, last quarter, last year and then break-down the types of surgeries performed)?
  • How many vaccinations were provided overall?  Then break these down by type of pet (dog or cat), the owner (Animal Outreach or someone else) and perhaps by vaccination type.  For example, knowing that AO provided X number of Rabies vaccinations to clinic dogs and X number to their foster dogs might be interesting to know.
  • How many exams were performed (visits to the clinic aside from surgeries)?
  • What was the intake for dogs, cats and dogs/cats combined last month, last quarter and last year?  Compare this to the same time-period a year earlier.
  • How many dogs does AO have in foster care today/this week/this month?  Compare that to the same time-period last year.  Repeat for cats.
  • What is the average length of stay/AO ownership for dogs?  Cats?
  • How much money did AO receive in monetary donations last month, last quarter, last year?  Compare that to the same period last year.  Perhaps  break down donations into categories that can be readily tracked such as Razoo, Strut Your Mutt, Change Jars and receipted monetary donations made via check or credit card.
  • How much money was raised by each fundraising event?  How many tickets were sold?  Share some pictures of the event or venue.  Compare that to that same event last year, if applicable.
  • How many registered volunteers does Animal Outreach have?  How many active volunteers does Animal Outreach have?  How many volunteers does Animal Outreach need?
  • How many members does Animal Outreach have on the Board of Directors?  How many do they want or need?
  • Does Animal Outreach have or want to have any advisory committees?  For what purposes and how many people do they want or need?
  • What public reports are produced annually?  When are they produced?  Are they available online?

What good are numbers anyway?

When numbers are available, information can be produced that helps people make decisions on donating and volunteering with an organization.  Numbers inform potential donors how much money it will take to care for the “average” cat in the shelter or provide the discounted veterinary services to the public next month.  Numbers can inspire and motivate staff, volunteers and donors.  Most importantly perhaps, goals can be set.  Goals must be measurable to be of any use.  So, setting and tracking progress on goals is critical to success and everyone wants Animal Outreach to be successful. Numbers can also let supporters know where the organization has been, where it is now and where it wants to go in the future.

There is a problem with these ideas though.  It takes time and staff or volunteer effort to produce.  It takes skilled labor that AO may not always have available.

This is where you, your friends and co-workers can help.  Volunteer, foster, donate and support Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode to ensure the organization has the resources it needs to provide the services for the community and yes, the public information you desire.  Write , visit or email Animal Outreach yourself.  AO’s contact information is provided at the end of this post.


Many people are attracted to volunteering with animal welfare organizations.  There is a lot of work to do that takes only a little training and yet the sense of accomplishment can be staggering.  The animals are grateful and you know it!  You can see it and you can feel it!  Examples of some of these hands-on rescue operations include:

  • Pulling (rescuing) dogs and cats from high-kill shelters or over burdened shelters
  • Transporting animals from a shelter to Animal Outreach
  • Transporting animals to AO for treatment or to an adoption event when a foster parent cannot
  • Fostering a dog or cat and seeing them adopted by their forever families
  • Providing socialization for the cats at the AO shelter
  • Providing clean water, clean liter boxes and/or a clean living environment to the cats at the AO shelter
  • Caring for the sick and injured animals AO has rescued
  • Providing adoption assistance to people looking for their next dog or cat

There is another part of rescue that does not necessarily involve direct, hands-on, live-supporting activities.  Much less glamorous perhaps, but just as important as all the other work to save the lives of animals.  I call these behind-the-scenes activities the business activities.  It takes skilled and some semi-skilled labor to keep the organization functioning and moving forward.  Examples of some  business activities include:

  • Financial accounting including payroll, payroll taxes and income tax accounting
  • Fundraising
  • Computer and network maintenance (Information Technology)
  • Data entry
  • Customer service including opening the snail mail, answering emails, answering and returning telephone calls and text messages
  • Supply management
  • Volunteer recruitment, training and management
  • Staff training and supervision
  • Shelter management and monitoring
  • Accounts payable and receivable activities
  • Marketing activities including community outreach, producing Facebook posts, writing newsletters, writing blogs, producing brochures and information sheets, producing and maintaining program information sheets, etc.
  • Establishing, updating and monitoring programs
  • And the list goes on and on

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode has been serving California for over 20 years.  They do a lot for the community.  They do a lot for animals.  And, yes, they need to improve communication and reporting for their volunteers, donors and supporters.  It is not that they lack ideas on what to do.  I am sure they have an endless stream of “you should do this” coming at them.  I think they need a lot more skilled volunteers in the areas of finance, accounting, marketing and management.  I don’t know much about the business side of AO so I am assuming all this based on what I do know and what is not available now.  I have ideas for a Director of Marketing position.  If you are a Director of Marketing or know someone who is, please contact me or AO to discuss volunteering some of your valuable time.

Do you want to save the life of a dog or cat that has done nothing to deserve death at the hands of an over-burdened animal shelter?  Great!  Volunteer, donate, foster and support Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode.  Ask your friends and family to join you.  Together, we can get and keep this organization staffed with the professional, skilled and semi-skilled volunteer work force needed to get ALL the jobs done right, all of the time.

Go to Animal Outreach at 6101 Enterprise Drive Diamond Springs, CA and fill-out a volunteer application or get a volunteer application online at their website,  You can also telephone them at 530.642.2287.  I am always willing to answer any questions that I can.  Please contact me via email at or message me through Facebook.

My New Dog Frito

By Diane Robertson

Date:  07/30/2013Image

Brad has the day off from work today.  A cute story follows all because Brad had this day off and I went to bed by myself…

It’s bed time for me, which usually means a final round of animal duties.   The dog Frito has been in the house for several hours but is currently sleeping away.  I decide that since my husband Brad is still up, I will take Frito out to go potty and then let him stay downstairs on his bed since Brad is going to be up for awhile.  Frito hates the dog crate so I hate putting him in there and avoid it whenever possible.  You see, Frito still has accidents sometimes and I am tired of cleaning the carpet on a daily basis.  Besides, the carpet just cannot take much more abuse and so Frito typically goes into the crate at night.

I take Frito outside and he does a great job doing his business.  I am confident there will not be any accidents this night.  I go to bed, leaving Frito laying on his bed in the living room and Brad laying on the couch next to him watching TV.  

A little while later, here comes Frito upstairs (where he is forbidden to go because this is cat country).  His little face is looking up at me with love and his tail is going a mile a minute.  Oh man what a cutie…I pat the bed and up comes Frito to the forbidden bed.  He lays down next to me and places his head in my lap and goes to sleep.  Oh man, Brad is going to kill me.  I wait awhile for Brad to realize the dog is gone…nothing….maybe he is asleep down there and Frito can stay.  

Joey kitty is in his usual spot at the foot on the bed and doesn’t seem to mind the dog being there at all.  Hmmm.  Here comes Kenny kitty…he doesn’t see the dog at first then freezes mid-stride and gives me a look.  I tell him it is OK so he takes his usual position across from me by the head of the bed.  The dog watches this and then puts his head back down and goes to sleep.  Here comes the final cat, my oldest, scardy-cat Claire.  Claire is our nerve and brain damaged kitty.  She jumps up, says hi to Kenny and rushes over to get her nightly petting from the human in the bed.  Yikes!  It’s that damn dog and he is blocking her from getting to her human!  I see her thinking…I’ll just back up and rub on Kenny while I think about this (she is a slow thinker).  Kenny will only take the rubbing from Claire for a few seconds.  Claire decides she’ll go sit on the night-stand and glare at me, maybe I’ll fix this injustice.  I don’t fix it and she goes back to her comfy bed on the floor fuming. 

You see, Claire will only let us pet her on the bed.  It’s the one spot where she feels she can let down her guard a little and enjoy the wonderful experience of being petted.  Claire kitty loves being petted more than any cat I have ever met.  However, she is too afraid of humans to indulge herself anywhere but on the bed where she knows she is safe.  The bed became the safe zone when Claire was deathly ill and couldn’t refuse to be held. During this time I would place her on the bed and coo to her while I petted her.  That is how the bed-is-safe-for-Claire came into being.

I resume my TV watching while waiting for the sleeping aids to kick in.  I know, I shouldn’t watch TV right before sleep.  Since I rarely actually “go to sleep”, I use the TV as a focus point while I drift off, wake up, drift off, wake up.  It helps with my frustration.  Anyway, you get the picture. 

Frito…FRITO, Brad calls out.  I yell out to Brad that Frito is upstairs.  Brad begins the trek up to the bedroom.  Frito hears him coming, raises his head, wags his tail and puts on the cutest face possible.  It works!  Brad sees the usual two cats lounging on the bed (Claire always leaves after getting her petting) with me and the dog.  Rather than being his usual grumpy self and ordering the dog off the bed and downstairs, he gently reminds Frito he is not allowed up here.  Brad says he can stay if that is what I want.  Wow, that went really well!

Frito stayed with me on the bed all night as far as I know.  He did move to Kenny’s spot at some point.  I hope and pray I don’t find any stinky, wet spots on the carpet.  I really want this to be one big happy family.  

It’s going to get crowded on that bed and I couldn’t be happier.

Latest Strut Your Mutt Poster

Latest Strut Your Mutt Poster

Come join our team!

A Committed, Supportive Animal Community in Boston

“Dancing with Spheres” sculpture by renowned sculptor David Phillips is now a permanent fixture in the dog play yard at the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Boston.  Way to go ARL Boston!  To read the full story, click here.


It is great to see a committed animal community!  Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode is a local animal rescue in El Dorado county.  Animal Outreach has been serving El Dorado county, Sacramento county and beyond, for over 20 years.  Can you help support us?

Animal Outreach needs volunteers in all areas of its operations from adoption counselors and foster parents for dogs and cats to cleaning crew for the shelter.  Call 530.642.2287 or go online to to fill out an application.

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode also needs your financial support to continue its mission of saving the lives of pets in Northern California.  Please join our Strut Your Mutt team (for dogs and cats) or sponsor an existing team member today.  We truly appreciate your support.

Good Customer Service for Animal Rescue Organizations

By Diane Robertson

I reblogged the full customer service article from Maddie’s Fund a little while back.  However, this is such an important subject, I wanted to quote from that article again. 

  • The first step in good customer service is to capitalize on the public’s enthusiasm for adopting by responding right away when initial contact is made.
    • Respond to email within 24 hours
    • Have someone available to answer the phone during business hours.
  • The second step is to make a potential adopter’s experience positive and helpful. Provide the kind of positive experience that helps compel potential adopters to take home a pet.

Warm, friendly, “live” interaction goes a long way to getting adopters in the door – and out the door with a new pet! Organizations that can build and train a welcoming staff and volunteer force that create receptive and responsive relationships with the community will see animals move more quickly through their facility, and word will get out that you have a top-notch operation.

New Poster for Strut Your Mutt

New Poster for Strut Your Mutt

By Diane Robertson. Please participate in any way you can.


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