PrincetonScoop’s Outstanding Non-Profits in the Greater Princeton Area: In Conversation with Piper Burrows, CEO of SAVE: A Friend to Homeless Animals
S.A.V.E. A Friend to Homeless Animals, Inc. (SAVE) is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to protect the health and welfare of homeless companion dogs and cats. Through six core programs of Rescue, Shelter Adoption, Health and Welfare, Spay/Neuter, and Humane Education, SAVE focuses on the successful rehabilitation and placement of adoptable animals. SAVE is committed to strengthening the human-animal bond.
2. Can you expound on some of SAVE’s main areas of concentration? What are some of the ways in which you try to achieve the goals you set for each one?
Through our Rescue and Shelter objective, SAVE partners with Princeton, Lawrence, Hopewell, and Montgomery Animal control centers; sanctuaries, and other shelters and rescue groups to help reduce the homeless pet population. Given SAVE’s excellent reputation, these groups rely on our services to assist many deserving dogs and cats. SAVE also helps many families needing to surrender their household pets.
Shelter Adoption and Spay/Neuter are important parts of SAVE’s work as well. Thanks to numerous volunteer days, parades, adoption events, and the like, the shelter was able to place 459 animals during 2014. Educating people about the importance of adopting animals, spaying and neutering, are main highlights of our programming. Our goal is to find good homes for 500 cats and dogs by December 31, 2015.
Finally, humane education is another essential component of SAVE. Through the program of PET (Partners in Empathy Training), we aim to achieve the goal of helping school-age children in primarily low-income communities develop empathy, sensitivity and respect for life. PET uses companion animals to teach children how to relate to someone else. Empathy is critical to creating the interpersonal bonds that underlie healthy social structures. Encountering a dog or cat becomes an experience in understanding how to put oneself in another’s place and how to communicate without words. PET’s ultimate goal is to expose children to animals, reducing fear and increasing respect, compassion and empathy, and to increase pro-social behaviors. The PET program is provided at no charge and the full curriculum is 15 weeks long.
For more information on any and all of SAVE’s programs people can visit the SAVE website: http://www.save-animals.org/
3. What is the history or background of SAVE?
SAVE was co-founded in 1941 by two forward-thinking women, the late Dr. Cornelia Jaynes and her friend the late Ms. Emily Myrick. Through a series of selfless donations of time, money and resources, they created the Small Animal Veterinary Endowment (SAVE), which rescued strays and provided neutering services.
Dr. Cornelia Jaynes became the third female graduate of Cornell University’s College of veterinary medicine in 1927 and went on to open her own practice on a farm in Princeton, New Jersey. Two years after her death in 1969, SAVE merged with Small Animal Rescue League and, together, the two groups were able to build the shelter of which Dr. Jaynes had dreamed.
On February 21, 2006, SAVE merged with Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA). Founded in 1998, FOHA concentrated on animal rescue and care in Princeton. The new union, renaming the organization SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals, is now the largest shelter for companion animals in the Princeton area.
4. What is your role at SAVE?
As executive director, I am responsible for the management of the entire organization. I lead a staff of 17, oversee all of the shelter’s outreach efforts, raise many thousands of dollars required to keep the organization afloat, and report to a 15-member Board of Trustees.
5. What about working for SAVE are you most passionate?
At SAVE, we enjoy being matchmakers by uniting needy pets with people who have unconditional love to give. We enjoy hearing the many heartwarming stories that our adopters share about their SAVE pet(s), and the special relationships with SAVE that often develop. It’s not unusual for our adopters to quickly become volunteers and eventually donors!
6. Are there any new initiatives, programs or events you have planned at SAVE?
SAVE is moving to its new shelter facility on Route 601 in Skillman this summer. With more capacity and larger grounds, we will be able to provide even more services on a larger scale. SAVE’s new buildings will position the shelter to become a model animal welfare organization for the State of New Jersey and the region.
7. What is the best way for people to get involved with, volunteer, or support SAVE?
SAVE requires every perspective volunteer to attend a one-hour orientation and to complete a volunteer application. Once of person’s application has been approved, he or she may come to the shelter (for a minimum of 8 hours per month) to socialize cats, walk dogs, clean cat cages, assist with light office duties, help out with special events, and perform handy work. SAVE is one of the few animal shelters that allow young children (provided they are accompanied with an adult) to interact with dogs and cats in residence.
For more information on volunteer opportunities at SAVE please visit http://www.save-animals.org/volunteering.html
Interviewed for PrincetonScoop by Carolyn Walsh