For 225 dogs and cats, Memorial Day weekend marked the beginning of a new life. Thanks to the combined efforts of nine animal shelters, Wings of Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States and Mud Bay, these dogs and cats left overcrowded shelters in Texas and Oklahoma to start a new journey in Washington state.
While there were plenty of shelter volunteers ready to welcome Flight Mud Bay 200 when it reached Boeing Field, there was also a group of Muddies ready to help unload dogs and cats into waiting shelter vans. One of those volunteers was Mudlet Store Manager Eric Benson who already spends a lot of time with one of the shelters who took some dogs and cats: Seattle Humane in Bellevue, Washington. We asked Eric to share a little bit about the event and his unusual job at Mud Bay.
MB: Could you tell us a little about the Flight Mud Bay 200 animal transport that happened on May 25th?
EB: I was part of a group from Mud Bay that helped staff and volunteers from Seattle Humane and other shelters unload a plane that contained over 200 shelter animals in Boeing Field. A group of shelters: Blue Mountain Humane Society, Humane Society of Skagit Valley, Kitsap Humane Society, Seattle Humane, Humane Society for Southwest Washington and Whatcom Humane Society, all agreed to take animals coming from the Palm Valley Animal Center in Texas, El Paso Animal Services in Texas, and the Tulsa Animal Welfare Shelter in Oklahoma. The Humane Society of the United States coordinated the transfer of the animals as part of their new Shelter Ally project, and Mud Bay sponsored and partially funded the flight.
It was the first time I was involved in actually unloading the plane and helping disperse the animals. It was an amazing experience, even if it was a little sad to see all these animals who needed new homes. All the Washington shelters involved had vans waiting, so we were able to load them up into waiting vans for the trip to their new shelters. I also got to work with a lot of shelter volunteers who had participated in these types of transfers before, and I think it was fun for them to have someone helping who was new to the process.
MB: Now, you spend a lot of time working with one shelter involved in Friday’s transport—Seattle Humane—due to your unique job at Mud Bay. Could you explain what you do at Mud Bay?
EB: Sure! So, I’m the manager of the Mudlet. The Mudlet is a 400-square-foot Mud Bay located in Seattle Humane’s Adoption Lobby here in Bellevue Washington. The Mudlet donates all profits from sales back to Seattle Humane, and we provide everybody who adopts with a deeper dive into what you might need to think about nutritionally when you’re a pet owner. For example, if you’ve adopted a dog with some skin and coat issues, we’ve got salmon oil to help. We’ve also got plenty of other supplements to address other nutrition-based concerns and supplies, such as litter boxes and leashes, to meet your new pet’s basic needs.
When you leave the building, we hope that you’ll be confident about how to give your new dog or cat the best start in a new life. So, it’s really about helping new adopters create a game plan. Most of the time we set up feeding plans for the new animal, and we talk about what a new dog or cat should be eating. And with cats, we stress the importance of food with a high moisture content to protect their kidneys.
We also carry First Mate, Nutrisource and Weruva foods, so new adopters can purchase the exact food their dog or cat was eating at the shelter. Not changing foods right after adoption can make the whole process easier, and if they want to change foods, we provide plenty of notes and information they can take with them to a Mud Bay to help them find the right food. Or if they never enter a Mud Bay again, we’ve still talked about what to think about when you have a new dog or cat.
And as for myself, sometimes I act as a liaison between Mud Bay and Seattle Humane. Justin Tomajko (Mud Bay’s community outreach manager) and I participate in different events and try to help Seattle Humane if they need support. Sometimes my job isn’t what people would expect when I tell them I’m a store manager.
MB: Can you tell us what happened to dogs and cats that went to Seattle Humane from Flight Mud Bay 200?
EB: Some of the dogs and cats have been adopted. We’ve had three of the dogs from the flight come through the Mudlet on their way to their new homes. We posted a picture of one of them, Cherry, on our Instagram page, and she went home on Tuesday.
All the animals from the flight were placed in the rescue wagon and driven to Seattle Humane. And everyone at Seattle Humane is prepped and excited for the animals to arrive. When they arrive, every animal receives a bath and a nail trim if necessary, and they’re given a full medical assessment to make sure each animal’s okay.
Seattle Humane receives the documentation from previous shelters, so they’ll review that paperwork to make sure that everything checks out. And if there’s anything that needs to be done, such as spaying or neutering, they’ll take care of that.
Some animals are different than others. If there wasn’t a behavior assessment done on an animal, or if they don’t have all the necessary information in the included documentation, it may take them longer to reach the adoption floor. Animals that have complete behavior assessments and don’t need any medical assistance or other forms of care can reach the adoption floor very quickly. That’s why, as I mentioned earlier, some of these animals have already been adopted.
MB: Given the Mudlet’s unique position inside Seattle Humane, can you tell us about some of the different projects they’re working on?
EB: Seattle Humane isn’t just a fantastic animal shelter. They do events to engage the community constantly. We have Catapalooza coming up this summer, and there’s also an event called Over the Edge happening in July. This event involves people raising funds through donations so that they can rappel down a 40-story building in downtown Seattle. There’s also the Adoption Blitz coming up, where Seattle Humane waives adoption fees for all animals.
Seattle Humane exceeds what people might think an animal shelter can do. They partner with a lot of other shelters in Washington state, as well as helping shelters nationwide. They’ll take in animals that may need specialized medical attention that other shelters can’t provide. They’re active within the community, partner with local businesses and work to ensure the best care to all animals. They’re great shelter partners to Mud Bay, and I’m lucky to get to work with lots of these people every day.
Eric Benson is the Mudlet store manager. When he’s not at the Mudlet or thinking about new Mudlet initiatives, he’s hanging out with his three dogs Brizo, Clancy and Nyx or hiking in the great outdoors.