Animal Aid is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue and welfare organization that has been passionately serving animals and the people they love since 1969. Its mission is to reduce animal suffering by providing assistance to abused, homeless, injured, and sick animals; find loving, dependable, and nurturing forever homes for the animals in its care; actively promote the altering of all pets to reduce overpopulation; and educate the public by promoting respect for all animals, the ethic of compassion, and the need to be kind and responsible stewards.
Animal Aid was founded in 1969 by Jack and Kathryn Hurd. A radio talk show host and animal welfare advocate, Jack spoke on air about the number of cats abandoned in Laurelhurst Park near his and Kathryn’s home. The Hurds’ direct work in animal rescue began with “Chicken Charley,” a half-dead kitten they found and nursed back to health. Chicken Charley was later accompanied by 12 more cats that the Hurds rescued from their neighborhood.
When Jack’s listeners heard about the problem, they called in to discuss their own animal-related issues. Many people told stories of their sick or injured pets and how they could not afford the necessary veterinary care. Jack and Kathryn realized that something needed to be done to help these people and their pets, and it was then that the concept of “Animal Aid” was born.
Jack’s first step to assist his listeners was enlisting the help of local veterinarians who were willing to offer reduced rates for their services. The Hurds also solicited pet stores for food and supply donations. Jack and Kathryn helped pay for some hardship cases, and eventually listeners called in to donate to other listeners. Over time, the couple acquired a team of 15-20 core volunteers who would help with fostering, adoptions, delivering food, and more.
Animal Aid officially became a non-profit organization in 1971. Its original mission was to provide food for domestic and wild animals, to provide funds for routine and emergency veterinarian care, to rehabilitate and return wildlife to its natural habitat, and to promote the humane treatment of all domestic and wild creatures. Jack and Kathryn continued to build Animal Aid until May of 1977, when Jack passed away.
The Animal Aid Cares Fund was inspired by the remarkable couple. It was created to help those who are facing urgent and overwhelming veterinary expenses without the means to pay for them. Animal Aid works in partnership with veterinarians across Portland to offer each partner clinic or hospital the ability to submit one grant request per month, at their discretion, to cover medical costs up to $500.
In 2014, the Fund was expanded to incorporate Helping Hands grants. Helping Hands grants were developed to support animals adopted from Animal Aid's shelter who have health or behavioral conditions that make their adoptions more financially challenging to their forever families. The grants can assist with medications, training, or unexpected medical treatment.
In 2015, Animal Aid began offering Synergy grants to fellow animal welfare nonprofits to assist animals in their care with needs beyond their own financial capacity. Synergy grants are considered on a case-by-case basis.
Animal Aid’s C-SNIP program is a partnership with Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team to provide funding for canine spay and neuter procedures to homeless and extremely low-income Portland-area residents. This program was initiated thanks to a bequest from the estate of Patricia Smith, a local animal lover who requested that her donation be allocated toward spay and neuter operations. Currently, C-SNIP funds 100% of PAW Team’s spay/neuter surgeries and, since the program’s start in May of 2015, has assisted more than 350 dogs.
The Heartstrings program is another wonderful initiative to make an impact in the lives of Animal Aid’s shelter animals. Many Heartstrings pets are long-time residents who are still waiting for their forever family. They may be senior pets getting passed by for the youngsters, formerly abused and neglected pets needing more tender loving care, shy pets requiring extra reassurance, or animals with a medical condition.
Rescue Chocolate is honored to be a fundraising partner with Animal Aid this month!