Ten years. More than 2000 pets reunited with their families. Seer Farms launched our unique service ten years ago today, on September 18, 2008. We recognized that people love their pets so much that they will stay in harms’ way rather than part with them. We knew it ten years ago and it still rings true today.
This last decade has been a roller coaster ride. One of hope, and joy, heartbreak and challenge. Just this week, I was devastated to learn that Biscuit, a loveable goofball of a hound - one of the early dogs Seer Farms had cared for - had passed away at age 14. As had Annabelle and Bear, two 19- year old cats who spent several months with us years ago, melting our hearts. And earlier this year, Bocci’s grief-stricken mommy called to let me know he was gone.
When animals like Biscuit, Annabelle, Bear, and Bocci are placed at Seer Farms, we bond with them. We care for them. And love them. So when I learn that they have crossed that rainbow bridge, my heart hurts. And it does so even more for their families. I know how much the animals placed with us mean to the people who place them here. I take comfort, however, in the knowledge that Seer Farms gave these families the chance to have their long lives together.
One might argue that the auspiciousness of a ten-year anniversary warrants a brief snapshot of each of those years. Not wanting to disappoint, here goes:
2009 Seer Farms secures our first home. Even before we had closed on the property, we were contacted by families seeking temporary care for their pets. TNR for the feral cat colony on the grounds – 27 adults and 17 kittens – became our first initiative. When Charlie, the old man of the colony, turned out to be FIV+, Seer Farms embraced care for FIV+ cats.
2010 Gradually, renovation of the old farmhouse and construction of indoor/outdoor colonies on the grounds creates the environments that Seer Farms’ residents will enjoy. Seer Farms facilitates cross country transport of six boxers for the young, ill owner. Word of our mission reaches People magazine, who does a feature on our work.
2011 Hurricane Irene crashes into New Jersey and gives Seer Farms a test run of our disaster response as dozens of survivors seek out our services. We are gratified that our reunion rate holds steady at about 75%. Most people come back for their pets.
2012 SuperStorm Sandy redefines New Jersey’s coastal communities as it tears through the state. Seer Farms participates in a rescue and recovery effort for pets left on the barrier islands, and accepts the Seaside 88: pet cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles. In all, Seer Farms hosted more than 650 Sandy animals for stays both short and long as their families’ homes were restored.
2013 Demand for Seer Farms services swells in the aftermath of Sandy. We rent a kennel in Sayreville to handle the overflow. The generosity of the community is on full display as donations of time, supplies, and critical funding continue to flow for Sandy survivors, including their pets.
2014 Recognizing that the ongoing demands for animal care exceed what the Sayreville rental allowed for, Seer Farms finds, in an abandoned kennel in Carneys Point, NJ, the expansion opportunity that it needs. Hundreds of volunteer hours are racked up trying to restore the kennel.
2015 Families reunite with their pets at a fairly steady rate. And as pets go home, their spots are rapidly taken by the companion animals of other families in crisis. Eagle scouts take up the cause and fortify the catios to the delight of their feline residents.
2016 The year begins with a monumental milestone: a sweet pup named Bocci is Seer Farms 1000th reunion. Later, several dogs placed temporarily at Seer Farms – Giacomo, Daisy, Barbette – suddenly find themselves orphaned as their parents pass away. Through our adoption program, they find loving forever homes.
2017 Volunteers continue their critical support of Seer Farms’ mission: one good Samaritan transports two families’ pets from Seer Farms to the families’ new homes in Texas; and a brownie troop gathers critical supplies for the animals in Seer Farms’ care.
2018 As Seer Farms celebrates its 10th anniversary, Diesel, the last Sandy dog in Seer Farms care, reunites with his family. Still other family pets await their reunions. And each day, more families in crisis reach out, hoping for a safe haven for their pet while they work to stabilize their lives.
These ten years – the pets cared for and the families saved – have only been possible because of our supporters: the compassionate people who donate their money, their resources, and their time to help us realize our mission. We cannot thank you all enough. You have saved countless lives and families.