First, I want to apologize for disappearing on and off over the last 8 months. We have a small dedicated crew of volunteers that help with the "behind the scenes" work. But generally, the majority of that work falls to me. It's my organization, so it's only fair and I'm not complaining. But it does tend to make things more difficult when there's a crisis. In May of last year, my beloved "wicked stepmother," Joan, was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer. I dropped everything to go take care of her in Connecticut.
Unfortunately, I had just taken on 4 mamma cats and their combined 16 kittens. Luckily, our foster parents are amazing, devoted women who helped me make it through! They drove kittens to veterinary visits, introduced potential adopters to kitties, and picked up supplies at PetSmart (which I ordered online while changing planes in Denver). I don't know what I would have done without those amazing ladies. They had my back every step of the way and I am forever grateful. The time since June has flown by at harrowing speeds. I barely noticed time passing while I was trying to survive from one day to the next. Then I looked up and it was 2021.
In 2011 the world was in a very different place, as was I. I conceived of Ruff Patches while I was flying to Seattle to go on an Alaskan cruise. My boyfriend and I weren't getting along and I was occupying my time brainstorming issues I wanted my new conceptual nonprofit to fix. I was chatting with my sister and telling her how my relationship was going through a rough patch when I thought "That's IT! Let's help pets and pet owners through THEIR rough patches." Play with the spelling a bit, file the proper paperwork and we were off and running.
I can't believe ten years have passed. We've found homes for more than 700 dogs, cats, bunnies, and rats. We've helped thousands of pet parents with their behavior, veterinary, and adoption questions. We've seen 1000 feral kittens born and prevented another 50,000 from entering the world by spaying and neutering. We've helped feed and care for the pets of over 250 Antelope Valley low-income and homeless pet parents.
When I say "we," that includes everyone who mailed in a donation. Every person who bought an extra can of pet food at PetSmart to feed someone else's animal. Every foster parent who stayed up fretting about a sick orphan. Every grieving fur mama who thought to donate their pet's bed so another pet would have a warm place to lay its head. Every volunteer who donated their valuable time to make the world a bit brighter for an animal or person in need. Every child who collected donations of change and pet food at school. YOU are the reason our fur babies and our many alumni are safe, fed, and warm tonight. You are each a part of the larger picture that makes Ruff Patches work. The loss of any one of you would be felt. We can't thank you enough for being a part of our "pack."
What do the next ten years hold for us? Another surprise natural disaster, world peace, or aliens from a distant planet? We can't possibly know. But I do know that we will do our best to continue being there for those in the community who need us. Owning a pet isn't always as joyous as the commercials make it seem. And those are the times we are here for. Transforming rough patches into smooth sailing.
May the next ten years be exponentially better for us all, pets and people alike. Thank you for joining us on this journey!
Purrs and Snuggles,