While the temperatures say otherwise, summer is drawing to a close. For Southern Pines this means that we have almost made it through our most challenging time of year. Summer brings dangerous temperatures, an influx of puppies and kittens looking for homes, and a higher number of lost and stray animals. With them comes the most crowded months for our shelter. We are once again reminded how important spay and neuter is to reducing our area's pet overpopulation, and the overcrowding in Mississippi shelters is a visual reminder that we still have so far to go. Just since June 1st, Southern Pines has taken in 1,643 cats and dogs. Many of them have been young, a few have had special medical or behavioral needs, and an unfortunately high number have been heartworm positive. But this year, summer has been a challenge we were eager to meet, and I am so proud to share with each of you our summer live release rate for Southern Pines of 93.86%!
Of course none of this is possible without the dedication, generosity, hard work, and support of so many people. People just like you. For the first time, we are treating heartworms through our Healing Hearts Program, which allows community members to make a gift to heal the heart of a dog in need. And that's not all, this summer we have treated diseases and conditions like ringworm, scabies, parvo, tick paralysis, and broken bones, that in previous years would have put these pets at risk for euthanasia. Your support and generous gifts have helped us to dream big, and for these homeless pets, it has made all the difference.
Thanks to the support of adopters, fosters, and volunteers more pets than ever before have found the time, care, and love they needed to begin the next chapter of their lives. Since June, 749 pets have been adopted into loving homes. This is a phenomenal accomplishment, and it would not have been possible with out you.
This summer has also allowed us to build fantastic partnerships with other shelters and rescues in our state and beyond. These relationships have truly allowed us to make the biggest impact for the most homeless pets in the state by working together. Since June, we have taken in 377 dogs and cats from surrounding facilities to be placed in adoptive homes, and our shelter and partner groups have helped us to place more than 50 of our own special needs pets who would have been most at-risk for euthanasia in our shelter. We are proud to be part of a strong community of shelters and rescues all working towards one goal, and together, we truly are making a difference.
Partnerships are a vital part of our success at Southern Pines, and our partnership with PetSmart Charities and the Rescue Waggin' Program have brought stories of hope, love, and second chances to so many homeless dogs and cats this summer. This unique and beneficial transport partnership has saved more than 700 lives since June 1st, and more than 1,500 lives in 2015 so far! We are constantly amazed by the opportunities this partnership brings to animals in need. And the support we receive from PetSmart Charities in the form of knowledge sharing and program-growing grants continues to save lives for our shelter pets every day.
We have so much to celebrate, and this truly has been a summer like no other. We are so grateful for the support of our community, the growing of friendships in the shelter community, and the dedication of our volunteers and fosters. Our work is not done, but as we look towards a cooler time of year, we are rejuvenated and refocused on the mission at hand. We are setting out to save more lives than ever before, and we are excited about what the rest of this year will bring as we work to all come together to meet this goal. Thank you for being a part of that journey whether you are an adopter, a donor, a volunteer, a foster, a Facebook post sharer, a rescuer, a shelter, a neighbor, a law enforcement officer, or just a friend. Together, we truly are saving more lives than ever before!
Southern Pines Animal Shelter