by Diana Hockley
KRL loves to share with our readers about animal rescues across the country, especially those who take in pet rats. This week we are chatting with pocket pet rescue Yale Road Adoptables in Michigan.
KRL: Rescuing animals is a labor of love and total dedication. What was the catalyst for the creation of Yale Road Adoptables and when did it come into being?
YRA: Yale Road came into being kind of gradually. In the summer of 2011, I was once again in a position to have pocket pets, and after having rats off and on since I was 16, I was anxious to be a rat mom again. I’d never heard of a rat rescue before, but having come across them on the internet, I decided to try to adopt that way. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a local rescue I could adopt from, but I did come across many, many animals that needed homes during my search. I took in a few here, a few there, bought a few cages, and next thing you know, I was off and running. My first official rescue intake was November, 2011 and my first adoption took place in April of 2012.
KRL: What sort of set-up do you have? Is it a private house, a shed, or a purpose-built complex?
YRA: YRA is set up in my private home. I started out in a large room upstairs, but am gradually moving the operation to the basement, which is much roomier, not to mention warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
KRL: How many can you accommodate and what animals do you take in?
YRA: Yale Road takes in mainly rats and degus [ed: a small rodent common in central Chile, sometimes referred to as the brush-tailed rat.], though I’ve also taken in parakeets, rabbits, chinchillas, hamsters, mice, and African Soft-Furred (ASF) rats. How many I can accommodate is flexible; it’s more a question of how many cages I can maintain. Ten rats in one cage is one thing; 10 rats in five cages is another matter, as it involves much more effort and supplies. Ideally, I like to maintain no more than about 20 cages/pens.
KRL: How does the local community regard your activities, and are they supportive in adoption and/or monetary terms?
YRA: I would say the local community, insofar as they’re aware of Yale Road, is supportive. I’m a one-woman show, so I don’t do much in the way of events, but those who have adopted from me or surrendered to me tend to keep in touch and are supportive generally.
KRL: Rescues depend on donations from the public; do you charge a small fee for your animals when they are adopted? And do you have PayPal and credit card facilities?
YRA: I do not charge adoption fees, though any donations are gratefully accepted. As a general rule, I find that people are very generous, and will usually donate as much or more than what I’d ask were I to charge a fee. My philosophy is that adoption fees do not ensure a good home. My asking questions and getting to know my adopters is how that happens. The same philosophy holds true with surrenders, though I’m currently contemplating requiring some kind of surrender donation or fee.
I do have a PayPal account, and donations with a credit card can be made that way. The address is gotrats10@yahoo[dot]com.
KRL: What are the special challenges to rescuing animals, and are any harder to adopt out than others?
YRA: Without a doubt, the first and most challenging aspect of taking on “problem children” is managing their numbers. They are the ones you most want to say yes to, the most in need, but if there are too many then you’re faced with maintaining the numbers and having limited space and resources for those who have a chance at a home.
KRL: How many animals do you think you have saved so far?
YRA: Approximately 420 rats, 20 degus, 15 mice, 12 hamsters, 13 ASF rats, two chinchillas, two house rabbits, two dogs, and a parakeet either reside at Yale Road now, have been adopted from here, or have lived out their lives here. There are also a few residents that I have adopted in my own right, including two dogs, a cat, and a Richardson ground squirrel named Peanut.
KRL: Do local vet surgeries help in any way?
YRA: Absolutely! Yale Road pays a reduced “rescue rate” for surgeries, including spays, neuters, and tumor removals. I’m blessed to have a vet who is not only a very skilled surgeon, but loves rats as well: Dr. Donna Barnes at North River Animal Hospital in Fort Gratiot, Michigan. I could not do what I do without her.
KRL: Does the nearest ASPCA send rats to you, and do they help if they can?
YRA: Unfortunately, no. Not being a non-profit organization does have its drawbacks. I do network with several small animal rescues in nearby states, however, and have done a number of rescue-to-rescue transfers in the past.
KRL: Have you been involved in any hoarder or big rescues? If so can you tell us about it?
YRA: Last June I was involved in a large rescue in Fruitport, Michigan. A home there had some rats that were loose and running the property. As you can imagine, they quickly multiplied, and the house and yard were completely overrun. The authorities condemned the home, and I went over to trap as many as possible before the exterminator arrived. With the help of a local police officer who, bless him, had never dealt with rats before but was willing to do whatever needed done, we managed to trap 69 semi-feral rats. Sister rescues Critter Camp in Illinois and Jaydas Critter House in Port Huron, Michigan took in some. Most of the resulting litters were adopted, and many still reside here with me. Two of the little ones were subsequently adopted by the police officer and his family, which was a very lovely ending.
KRL: What are your most urgent needs right now and how can people help?
YRA: Lab block, chinchilla pellets, guinea pig pellets, timothy hay, and aspen bedding are a constant need. Cage accessories, especially shelves such as lava ledges and hanging chew toys are always appreciated. Gift certificates to Family Home and Farm (here in Michigan), Amazon.com, or Pet360 are wonderful. Cash donations are the most useful, as I buy my feed and bedding locally.
KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?
YRA: Rescue is not for the faint of heart. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever done, but it also comes with the greatest rewards. I am constantly amazed at the caring and generosity of the people I’ve met through this rescue; those who are adopting, those who are surrendering animals into my care and those, like KRL, who support rescues and help us get the word out about what we do.
KRL: What are your website URL and Facebook and Twitter details?
Our address and phone are:
Yale Road Adoptables
10045 Yale Rd.
Greenwood, MI 48006
Donation link: gotrats10@yahoo[dot]com (PayPal)
KRL: The mission statement for your rescue?
YRA: I don’t know that I really have a mission statement, per se, but this is what I state on my home page: “In the summer of 2011, I found myself in a position to once again have pocket pets. Since then, finches, house rabbits, degus, rats, chinchillas, and mice have found their home here. In my adoption adventures, I’ve found so many more little ones who are in need of loving homes. I take in as many as I responsibly can. In order to take in those who need homes, I need to find homes for those I’ve taken in. This rescue is to help those efforts.”
Editor’s Note: Yale Road Adoptables has taken some time off from rescuing, but should be back up and running this fall. Be sure to keep an eye on their Facebook page for more information.
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