Contented Critters Semiannual Newsletter
Hello fellow animal lovers! My name is Sara Matuszak and I have recently joined the Board of Directors for Contented Critters! I am excited to be part of an organization focused around the compassionate care of animals. Some of you may remember Faye & Walter - they were committed to the rescue of dogs and cats - as we move forward, we will keep their rescue mission alive. Since October, we've rescued and adopted out over 30 pets! It’s been a busy and rewarding few months!
We have many long term goals for the shelter, including building a new “cat house” attached to our current dog building. That will take some major fundraising to accomplish. To that end, we are currently looking to add several board members to our group - specifically members who can lead our fundraising efforts and/or can work on grant writing. As you may know, we operate almost completely on donations. We are looking for an individual who can focus on bringing some stability to our fundraising efforts. If you are interested in joining as a board member and/or fundraiser, please email me (Sara) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, we are continuing to look for volunteers who can help with cleaning the shelter and/or socializing animals. I meet with all new volunteers on Saturdays for an orientation and then we can schedule you around your availability.
Lastly, I want to thank all who have donated to our shelter in the past, current donors, and all our future donors. We cannot continue to do the work that we do without your help. So a sincere THANK YOU to all who have helped us help so many animals.
Sara Matuszak, Board President
Bane, loving his new life
COVID-19 put a stop to our 12th Annual Golf Fundraiser, but not to our need of donations. The tournament was our ONE and only big event of the year, the one that helps us survive winter costs. With that taken away, we need some community help. Please help us by hosting a fundraiser of your own. Do NOT be under the assumption that it has to be a huge, costly, time consuming event. One of the greatest life lessons you can provide for a child, is to teach them to help something or someone less fortunate than themselves. Children can be so creative, it can open up great family time planning your event. You would be surprised how many children have been involved throughout the years with helping the animals at Contented Critters. Regardless if it was a jar of pennies or a large check, the look of pride and accomplishment on their faces are priceless. We love when the kids bring their donations to the shelter. So now get grandparents, relatives, friends, and neighbors involved. Who can say no to a kid trying to help animals! I need to take some space to thank Connie Hanson Murphy. This lady juggles a 3 job schedule to do fundraising for Contented Critters. She started out doing one a year and I believe she is now doing upwards of five. Connie, your hard work ethic almost matches your love of animals. No one works alone and Connie has some very fine folks by her side. Cathy Hanson has donated time to be at our booths selling raffle tickets. Thank you. Then there is Michelle Claviter-Tveit. Michelle hosts numerous craft shows in our area. At these events she asks that vendors donate a prize to the Contented Critters table in which we sell raffle tickets for these prizes. Michelle personally donates HUGE prizes of Tupperware and Avon to our table at every single event. We at Contented Critters have benefitted for almost five years thanks to Connie and Michelle hosting these events. You ladies are amazing. Thank you. Can you help? Let’s put our heads together and plan your own fundraiser. You can email me at email@example.com and together we can work out any details! Funds are low, costs are high… but love, faith, and hope are our advantage. Theresa Rautio, Board Member
In The Nick Of Time
Recently Contented Critters has made some changes. We have a new board of directors and a new perspective. This change in staff and perspective mimics that of what Faye and Walter Peters had in mind when they set up Contented Critters some 25 years ago. The shelter has connected with a rescue group called Mutt Mutt Engine Transport out of South Carolina. My daughter, Sara Matuszak, found the site and found dogs that were due to be euthanized within days. Some dogs had heartworm, some had behavior issues or other conditions that kept them from being adopted. We had room with our new building, but funds were low. It didn’t matter - we took as many “death row joes” as we could - even the dogs with heartworm. Treating dogs with heartworm can run up to $500 per dog, but with the help of your donations, we can treat and save these dogs. They all deserve a second chance for a home. Hopefully donations will help us to continue to save these animals and give them a second chance. Being the animal lover that I am, I was like a kid at Christmas when, through the kind efforts of Mutt Mutt Engine Transport, 8 dogs and 3 cats arrived to our door. It made both the driver and myself tear up to watch as one by one these beautiful creatures exited their crate and made themselves at home in their new temporary shelter home. In the October transport, we met a little guy name Cujo - whose name couldn’t have been less accurate. Cujo was a small black dog without a mean bone in his body. Hilarious irony. We also met “Hank” whose name should have been “Tank” - A big boy with a heart and body to match. Hank also had heartworm, but has already been treated and will soon be moving to his forever home - Hank has been adopted by a wonderful family and will live out his days on their family farm! Another beautiful soul was a dog named Harmony, with crystal blue eyes, pointy ears and a nickname “escape artist.” This beautiful girl has also been adopted by a young woman who found out about Harmony’s “escape” -capades. Her new owner spent hours chasing her after she got out of her collar. Harmony now wears a harness and has a new name, Bailey. I have fallen in love with all of them and let them into my heart. Inspiration comes in all forms. All our staff and volunteers played such a big role in getting these dogs ready for their new homes. Six of the eight dogs have been adopted. Remy and Butler are still waiting for their forever home. We also took in three cats with special needs. One kitten needed a leg amputated, one was blind and required surgery on his eyes, and one had a broken pelvis. Two of the three have been adopted. Troy Knox, our blind kitten, will be having surgery on his eyes on November 11th, and then will be ready for a forever home. The good news for Mr. Knox is that at his last evaluation, they determined he does have partial sight in one eye. He is currently being fostered and all reports are that he navigates well and does all the things other cats do! If you are interested in Mr. Knox, please go to our website for more information www.contentedcrittersmn.org (editor's note: since this was authored, Troy Knox has had the surgery and is in good shape, although will be blind in one eye). When each of these animals finds a home and leaves the shelter, I cry like a baby. Bittersweet. They finally - in spite of all their trials and tribulations - find a loving home and I’m so happy, but half of those tears are selfish tears because I have bonded with each of them and will miss them! But praise the Lord and pass the Purina, on November 7th, Mutt Mutt Transport will be bringing us 12 more dogs and 6 more cats from overflowing shelters in South Carolina (editor's note: We've established a continuing relationship with Mutt Mutt and we're very grateful for each and every batch of saved animals they bring our way). I can hardly wait! It does my heart good to be able to help these critters. At 67 years old, it’s great to unwrap these precious presents knowing within a few weeks I can give them a wonderful present back - a new life with a new family - a wonderful gift for both the animal and the human! Chris Luukkonen, Animal Care Specialist
Remy, kind and loving
Butler, always ready to play!
Troy Knox, the bestest of kitties
Treasurer's Report Well, the preceding few months have proven to be quite transformative for Contented Critters! Sara and myself have joined the Board as President and Treasurer, respectively. And, as the unofficial, self-proclaimed Chief Technology Officer for the organization, I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes, advancing how we use technology to find our quadrupedal friends a loving home. One of my biggest projects thus far has been our new website, ContentedCrittersMN.org (don’t forget the ‘MN’ at the end!). While you may choose to interact with us on Facebook or PetFinder, the website will be our central hub for all things ‘Critters. On ContentedCrittersMN.org, you’ll find an adoption page with pictures of our animals (hosted by PetFinder); there’s a list of events we’re participating in; and there’s even a donation form to donate directly to us! Right next to the donation form, you’ll also see a link to Amazon Smile. Amazon Smile is a great service where Amazon.com donates a small percentage of your shopping totals to Contented Critters (you'll specifically be looking for our legal name "S N A P Spay Neuter Aid Program", located in Makinen, to associate with Amazon Smile). All you have to do is make sure you’re logged in to Amazon Smile and then shop around as usual. You get to shop and force Amazon to give us money, all at the same time! It doesn’t even cost you a thing. How great is that?! You’ll also notice a link that says “Shop For What We Need.” This is a list of consumables we need at the shelter. From this list, you can directly buy animal care products through Amazon Smile and have them shipped to us. We think it’s a really clever service and we’re happy to provide it to you. And one last thing: In the wish list below, you'll notice a request for dog and cat toys. I personally feel like toys are one of the biggest "luxury items" that can make a huge difference in these critter's lives. Yes, we feed and shelter them, but beyond physical health, mental health through stimulation and play is hugely important for their well-being. We do all we can to play and interact with these guys, and we have a host of volunteers that come in to play with them (and we can always use more!), but toys provide a way for the animals to keep themselves occupied and give them something to interact with. Just as well, for many pets a toy can be a personal possession they can emotionally bond with. Remember that teddy bear or special blanket you had as a child? Well, these critters can find the same joy in their own little emotional support toy. My plan is to have every pet choose a toy they like, and then it's theirs to take with them to their new home. It's a little bit more comfort for them, and the least we could do. And with that, I wanted to specifically put out a call for pet toys. Now, you can very well go out and purchase a toy to donate - they're not expensive by any means and the animals will love them just the same - but, I thought it would be really cool if we made our own toys! We're all animals lovers here, and I think we all have a few good ideas for toys. Maybe you recycle those old jeans into a doll (with an empty pop bottle inside!). Or maybe you have some cotton rope you can tie a few knots in, or a string with some feathers tied on the end. Or maybe you invent something really awesome and easy and you spend some time with the kids or grand-kids crafting a few toys to donate. Whatever it is, I'd like to see what you all come up with! So feel free to post your creations on our Facebook page...and if you happen to come up with instructions we can all follow, then all the better! So, that’s all I have for today. I’m really happy to be a part of this organization, and I want to thank everyone out there who’s kept the dream alive and welcomed me on board! Cheers! Robert Kreegier, Board Treasurer
Holiday Wish List
If you would like to donate to Contented Critters, listed below are our most needed items. You can find many of these on our Amazon Smile shopping list, or if you prefer to do your own shopping, donations can be dropped off at the shelter (4986 Town Line Road, Makinen, MN 55763). For the animals: • Dog Shampoo • Adult or Puppy Dry Dog Food (Purina preferred) • Adult or Kitten Dry Cat Food (Purina preferred) • Canned Cat, Kitten, Dog, or Puppy Food • Clumping Cat Litter • Cat Toys & Treats • Dog Toys & Treats • Gift Cards to: Walmart, L & M, Menards, Target For the Shelter: • Laundry Detergent • Clorox Wipes • Paper Towels • Disinfectant Cleaner • Dish Soap • 55 & 13 gallon garbage bags • Postage Stamps • Office Paper