Let me tell you a story. Way way back in 2009, when the economy was in mid-tank and non-profits across the board were feeling the pinch of people who could volunteer their time, their talent, but not their treasure because, let’s face it, no one had any, the MSPCA was faced with a terrible problem. It simply didn’t have the resources to keep all of its locations open and serving the communities. It was a smart non-profit doing good work but like any organization it needed money to function and animal shelters need more than most. You see, not only do animals have daily needs that can’t be put of if there isn’t enough money for food, litter, or medicines but the amount of personnel required to keep a shelter clean, stocked, and in good working order is mind-boggling.
Faced with this situation and with the great recession continuing into its second year the MSPCA made a difficult choice. They would close 3 of their locations. Brockton, Springfield, and Martha’s Vineyard. This was kind of like the equivalent of a doctor amputating an arm to save the patient and it had to be done but it hit the communities of Southeastern Massachusetts hard, especially Easton and Brockton.
After the initial shock of it wore off a small group of Brockton shelter volunteers started talking and eventually found themselves in the finished basement of one of their own houses. Around the room sat a couple of business people, a veterinarian, the executive director of the Brockton shelter, and a few other dedicated volunteers who began to discuss an alternative plan. Could they, themselves, raise the funds to keep the shelter going as an independent entity? The talk led to research, the research led to a plan, and on October 1, 2009 the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts incorporated as an independent shelter. Our friends at the MSPCA not only blessed the venture but eventually sold us the land the shelter occupied for $1, land it still stands on now.
Today the APCSM is it’s own shelter with no ties to the MSPCA except for a friendly relationship. That’s an important distinction so I’ll say it again. We love them and the work they do but we are NOT the MSPCA. We receive no money from them, no food or supplies, no animals. We cannot use their veterinarians or medicines, their machines or resources. When you donate to them we do not get a dime and when you donate to us it all stays here. We both do good work for animals and we both passionately serve our missions to educate and serve the community. We love them but we’re not them. We’re you.
Our volunteers outnumber our staff 15 to 1. Visit our bake sale? Those are volunteers behind the table, most likely two friends who live in Brockton and Stoughton. That yoga teacher doing Meow-Ga? A volunteer who teaches professionally in Arlington. The lady patiently petting the scared kitty to help socialize her? She comes in from West Bridgewater. The Santa doing our holiday photos? Straight from the North Pole! We love the MSPCA but we are the Animal Protection Center of Southeastern Massachusetts. We are Southeastern Massachusetts’ community animal shelter.