Memphis Animal Services has seen a lot of changes over the last two years that all revolve around the same, simple idea.
“Everything we do, every single day, is built 100% about life-saving,” says Alexis Pugh, director at Memphis Animal Services. “Life-saving has to be the key to every process, every program, and every aspect of what we do on a daily basis.”
These changes caught the eye of Best Friends Animal Society, a national nonprofit with the goal of all making all animal shelters no kill by the year 2025. At their national conference last week, Best Friends awarded MAS one of five “Network Partner of the Year” awards.
Memphis is making its mark on the national animal welfare scene at the Best Friends National Conference! MAS director Alexis Pugh presented in several sessions to other shelters and rescues across the country on our lifesaving efforts and how other shelters can implement the same programs, including building a rock star, mission-driven team, and she did some one-on-one coaching. Memphis Animal Services was also recognized with four other shelters across the country making huge strides toward saving all healthy, treatable, and adoptable pets. We received a $3,000 grant from Best Friends Animal Society to continue to build on our work. Huge thanks to Best Friends and Maddie’s Fund for bringing so many great animal shelters, rescues, and organizations together at the conference!
“They highlighted the five of us saying we’re doing monumental work in moving towards this no kill by 2025 goal and the work we’re doing is worthy of acknowledgement in the United States,” Pugh says.
To understand why this is such a big deal, you need to look back at the grim reality MAS was facing a few years ago.
“If you look at the stats from Memphis Animal Services 10 years ago, about 80% of the animals here were getting euthanized. The shelter has made national news for not positive things,” says Katie Pemberton, the community engagement specialist at Memphis Animal Services. “Now we are saving, year-to-date, we are saving 89% percent of our animals.”
Pugh says the Memphis community is a big reason MAS has been able to turn things around.
“This is not something that our team does alone. We come in, we do the work everyday, but ultimately our programming is only as effective as the community buys into it,” says Pugh.
While the recognition is great, Pugh admits there is still plenty of work left to do at MAS.
“Where we’re still facing euthanasia is with large breed adult dogs,” Pugh says. “All of our new programming, everything we’re working on now is about digging into that population.”
All of this so that every animal in Shelby County has the chance of living a long and healthy life.
If you are interested in adopting, MAS is holding their “Save a Shelter Pet Summer” event through the end of end of August. All dog and cat adoption fees are $30 and include spay/neuter, microchip, vaccines, heartworm testing for dogs, FIV/FeLV testing for cats, a leash and collar, and customized ID tag.
You can also adopt two kittens for $30.
If you would like to volunteer your time at Memphis Animal Services, volunteer classes are held every third Saturday of the month at 10:00am. You can also become a foster for an animal looking to be adopted.