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Our #GivingTuesday efforts this year are aimed at increasing the safety and security of the animals that have been entrusted to our care. We applied for an Oxbow Animal Rescue Grant for this project, and we were a finalist, but we did not make the final cut and so the project is still unfunded. The turtles and tortoises here at CTTR need heroes like you to help keep them safe!
Some animals were brought here to CTTR to live out the rest of their days at our facility. When you see turtles or tortoises on our Facebook page, those guys might not be available for adoption – we might just be sharing some fun media with you. If you want to submit an adoption inquiry for animals that we do have available, we sure wish you would. Meanwhile, enjoy this video of Azzy (a permanent resident at CTTR who is not available for adoption) munching on some treats!
Sometimes people ask us how they can help, and it’s not always about money. In fact, the biggest need we have that is easy to fill is for food. We always need food for the tortoises! If you have spineless cactus that you don’t mind parting with, we’d love to have it if you’re planning to visit us anyway. If you’re in the Austin/San Antonio metroplex and you have a bunch of it we’ll even come chop it down and haul it away for you 🙂
Occasionally the kind folks at Mazuri send us free bags of tortoise food, but we are hesitant to ask them for how many we would truly need, and at $30.99/bag feeding tortoises can get pretty expensive. So if you don’t feel like playing with cactus but you are still itching to help, we certainly wouldn’t turn down a bag of tortoise food!
If you are interested in adopting a tortoise from us, please read our adoption procedures and then proceed to the adoption application. While we really want to pair you with the perfect chelonian, we simply cannot address all of the e-mails we receive, and will not reply to adoption inquiries submitted over e-mail. We have to rely on the adoption application forms in order to track our adoption inquiries. Please do not e-mail us to ask what animals we have available, if they’re available they will be listed on the Adopt a Tortoise page. Thank you for understanding, and have one shell of a great day! 😉
Everybody’s got a wish list. Top on ours is one of these greenhouses from Sunrise Farms. It’s perfect because it comes with a visual barrier and they’ll even do an electrical kit (we had electricity stubbed out into the tortoise yard earlier this year, so we’re ready!). If we were to purchase this today, it would use about 80% of the Rescue’s financial resources, so we’re going to wait a little longer and keep saving up for it. If you want to help, of course we wouldn’t turn you down, but this post is really just intended to show you what we’re up to, and what we’re aiming for. I’m considering doing a fundraising push for this sometime in the next month or so – we want to have it up and ready before winter – but I haven’t fully decided yet.
Other things we always want and need are on our Amazon Wish List, the one I’m most excited about is getting my hands on a few TrackR Bravos to epoxy onto tortoise shells. Other, more mundane things like bleach, first aid supplies, a few books for our tortoise library (because, disclaimer: I’m not a vet), cactus seeds, and the list goes on.
Anyway, that’s what we’re up to, and that’s what we’re saving for, in case you’re interested. If you have any fun ideas for a fundraiser please let me know. I hate asking people for money and if there’s a fun, creative way to do it that doesn’t feel so…asky…I’m all ears! Join our Facebook volunteer group, Tortoise Heroes, if you have an idea.
Now that you’re here, you might be wondering just what it is we do. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries defines a rescue center as “an establishment that takes in animals and cares for them temporarily, with the goal of placing them in permanent ownership or foster care with approved members of the public…”
That’s different than a sanctuary, which provides lifetime care for abused, neglected, injured or abandoned animals. We used to offer sanctuary arrangements for those who wish their animal to stay with us.
Both a rescue and a sanctuary are different than a rehabilitation center, which takes in wildlife temporarily for the purpose of rehabilitating them so that they can be released back into the wild. CTTR does have a rehabilitation permit, which is only required for one species we accept – the Texas tortoise. Due to the potential for exposure to chytrid fungus, any Texas tortoise that enters captivity cannot be released into the wild.
After much deliberation, we have decided to stop offering permanent sanctuary as an option for new animals coming to CTTR (animals already here will stay with us forever). The sanctuary program was implemented after our realization that many families wished for us to keep and care for their shelled pet and our facility began to fill with unadoptable animals. We strive to provide the highest quality of care to all of the animals we take in, but we have determined that the sanctuary program strained our resources, interfered with our ability to proved species-specific and/or single animal enclosures, and threatened our mission to help as many tortoises and box turtles as possible. Please understand, we are not closing down the Rescue, we will still take in animals and adopt them out, and animals that are already in our Sanctuary Program will continue to live here until the end of their days. The Sanctuary Program was simply an alternative we offered to families who didn’t want their animals adopted out.
Contributing to this decision was the recent heartbreaking loss of our favorite little golden Greek tortoise, Rocket. Rocket came to us two years ago with big dreams, a big heart, a bold spirit, and a fearless approach to life. He was charismatic and amusing and sweet, and we miss him every day. We don’t know what caused Rocket’s demise: he was okay, and then suddenly he wasn’t. Rocket was a sanctuary animal. The hardest thing I have had to do since beginning this journey was to call Rocket’s family and tell them the news. So while part of the decision to stop offering sanctuary is really altruistic and in the best interest of the animals, part of it is motivated by self-preservation. I don’t have another one of those phone calls in me.
Thank you all for your support and understanding as our organization continues to evolve and become the best that it can be. We could never do what we do without you, so thank you for enabling us (me, really: Mr. Tortoise Rescue is just along for the ride!) to live our (my) dreams. Keep being amazing!
Who hasn’t asked themselves that question at least once a month since entering adulthood?
We ask for your support at certain times of the year, and we thought that you might like to know just what happens to the money that you so generously share with us. I can tell you in no uncertain terms that in 2016 alone we have spent over $2,000 on veterinary care, but that’s just a small piece of what we have going on.
This year we were awarded a grant that paid almost the full cost of building a new fence around a large chunk of pasture for big sulcatas. In fact, it’s big enough that we can (and do) even keep smaller enclosures inside of it. That’s the big chunk you’ll notice under “facility upgrades.” Other “upgrades” that aren’t captured there are captured under the supplies category. This includes thinks like motion-detecting sprinklers to help keep raccoons away, edible plants for our enclosures, hay, food, a sprinkler/drip system so that there is always fresh water, little ponds, pond liners, pond plants, and mosquitofish, a shelving unit for storing some of the larger/dirtier supplies, storage bins used as winter housing, extension cords, first aid/medical supplies, and other odds and ends that keep the place running smoothly and the needs of the animals met.
I read somewhere that a non-profit’s overhead (in our case this would be reimbursables plus fundraising costs) should be less than 35%. We are comfortably under that amount. The reimbursables category captures things like reimbursing volunteers for gas when they give their whole day to drive from Dallas to Corpus and then up to San Marcos to bring an animal to us, or the cost of having someone come do security checks and feeding/watering when we travel for longer than a day or two. Fundraising costs…well, the saying “you have to spend money to make money” is true. We’ve had costs for getting t-shirts printed, securing raffle items above and beyond those that were kindly donated, buying food for our fundraising events, and doing some advertising through Facebook to get more attention for a particular event or fundraiser. I must say, it seems to have worked!
You shouldn’t have to wonder what your donation does. And now, you don’t.