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Marking 25 Years, ASAP Launches ‘Send Us Your Stories’ Campaign

Brutus came to ASAP with his tail and hip badly broken and his face so mangled that his lower gum was detached from the jaw. After corrective surgery and time in foster care, Brutus was adopted and is now happy and active.
Brutus came to ASAP with his tail and hip badly broken and his face so mangled that his lower gum was detached from the jaw. After corrective surgery and time in foster care, Brutus was adopted and is now happy and active.  (Animal Shelter Assistance Program photo)

By Lee Heller for the Animal Shelter Assistance Program |

The Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) announces the launch of its “Send Us Your Stories” campaign in honor of its 25 years of service to the cats at the Santa Barbara County shelter.

For more than 25 years, ASAP has touched the lives of many thousands of people. We invite the community to share its stories with us, stories that record the history and celebrate the power of an organization that embodies the belief that the cats we save — and the people who love them — matter.

ASAP was founded in 1989 by a small group committed to preventing the unnecessary deaths of felines impounded at the Santa Barbara County shelter on Overpass Road. Within a year, the newly formed, entirely volunteer organization had reduced the number of adoptable cats killed from 90 percent to zero. It has continued to save all adoptable cats in its care since then. Close to 95 percent of cats that come into the Santa Barbara shelter are adopted out or returned to owners, an extraordinary number for an “open door” municipal animal shelter.

To celebrate 25 years of successful lifesaving, ASAP invites the many members of the community who have been part of our efforts to submit stories of their experiences. ASAP is a community-based organization, dependent on the many people who have adopted, volunteered, fostered, donated or otherwise made a connection to our work. Have you adopted a special cat (although, of course, all cats are special!)? Had a powerful experience as a volunteer? Been helped with a lost cat or a cat problem? We invite anyone with an ASAP story to share it with us as we build a repository of narratives in honor of ASAP’s landmark achievements.

One such story belongs to Brutus and might be titled, “How a Broken Kitten Became a Perfect 10.” Brutus came to ASAP horribly damaged. His tail and hip were badly broken, and his face was so mangled that his lower gum was completely detached from the jaw. After corrective surgery, which included placing a metal plate and pins in his fractured femur, and time in foster care, Brutus was ready for adoption, but it needed to be with someone committed to continuing his rehabilitation.

That someone was Diana and her partner, Patrick, who had to keep Brutus confined to a bathroom at first, and chose to spend most of their time in there with him rather than leave him alone and lonely.

Diana now reports that he has become a happy, very active kitten: “He loves ice cubes and comes running when we open the freezer. We often find melted puddles in strange places when he is tired of batting the cubes across the floor. BruBru takes great pride in tormenting our two other cats. He constantly wants to chase and play with them. We are elated when he finally collapses and takes a nap.”

Diana and Patrick’s story is just one among many about cats loved and lives saved. ASAP hopes and expects to receive many more as part of this anniversary campaign to celebrate the lives of cats like Brutus, and the people who worked together to save him.

All of the stories submitted will be archived as part of ASAP’s history. Selected stories will be posted to ASAP’s Facebook page and website, and others will be featured at ASAP’s 25th anniversary celebration from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 17 at QAD in Summerland. Stories should be submitted at ASAP’s dedicated webpage by clicking here.

For further information about ASAP’s 25th anniversary celebration, click here. The celebration will include a reception, presentation, live auction, wine/beer, a light dinner and dancing with music by local band Area 51. Event sponsorships are available, and tickets are $75 each.

For more information about ASAP’s history and programs, click here. For further information about the Send Us Your Stories campaign or the 25th anniversary celebration, contact Angela Walters Rockwell at 805.794.9574 or [email protected].

— Lee Heller represents the Animal Shelter Assistance Program.

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