Ohio Animal Companion was formed in 2010 with the mission to reduce the number of homeless pets in the state of Ohio and foster appreciation for all animals by educating the public on lifelong responsible pet ownership, promoting the efforts of area rescues and shelters, and encouraging humane interaction with wildlife.
Our goal was to inform, educate, and entertain pet owners in order to keep pets in their homes for life. We also recognized the important connection between humans and our wild neighbors and sought to honor this connection by raising awareness of issues affecting wildlife in our community. Our programs focused on education and outreach–including our online resource listings, pet owner workshops on topics such as Pet Nutrition and Pet First Aid & CPR, and our annual Tackle Pet Hunger pet food drive.
In the winter of 2016, the Ohio Animal Companion board of directors held a strategic planning session to make sure that we were maximizing our organizational impact and addressing the needs of the community. In preparation for this, we conducted two separate surveys to assess community need—one of the general public and one of rescue and shelter staff. We also researched what other animal-focused nonprofit organizations were working on, both locally and nationally.
We learned quite a bit through this effort. We learned there is still a great need for education about spaying/neutering—but perhaps most important is the need to make low cost—or no cost—spay neuter available and accessible to those who need it. We learned that for most of the animal nonprofits in Ohio the greatest need is money and people to get the work done. Although education is very valuable and important to the effort to reduce the number of homeless pets in Ohio, we felt moved to do more.
So many organizations are doing great work “in the trenches,” rescuing animals from abusive or neglectful situations, conducting low-cost spay neuter programs, running adoption drives and pet food assistance programs. Sometimes it’s hard for them to focus on the bigger picture when a dog who needs emergency medical care is sitting on their doorstep. We are in the position to see the bigger picture.
We are excited to announce that in early 2017 Ohio Animal Companion will be changing our name to the Ohio Animal Foundation. Our focus will still include outreach and education to the public, and our popular resource website—OhioAnimalCompanion.org—will still be a part of what we do. But we are expanding our mission and purpose to include promoting philanthropy and volunteerism. A large part of what we will be doing is raising funds to support programs that offer long-term positive change for animals in Ohio. We believe this will allow us to have a greater impact for animals in our state.
One way this can happen is by providing funds to organizations for that new program they want to implement, but haven’t been able to focus on, for initiatives that bring organizations together to double or triple their impact, and for programs that prevent animals from entering the shelter in the first place.
We are not forgetting our wild neighbors either. Our mission still includes the creatures we share our natural world with—and we will continue to promote wildlife appreciation and protection as we move into the role of grantmaker.
We are excited about this new focus and eager to get things started. However, there will be a time of transition as we work through name changes, websites, etc. Please bear with us as we work through this transition and emerge in a better position to have meaningful impact for the animals in our state!
Our Board of Directors
Ohio Animal Companion is governed by a volunteer board of directors. We are grateful for the service of the following individuals who make up the current OAC Board of Directors:
Steve Kall, President
Jill Lynch, Secretary
Dan Swift, Treasurer
Jill Herbst, Executive Director