The Devoted Barn, while not solely a cat rescue, is an amazing animal shelter that you must read about! A project of Devoted Friends Animal Society, The Devoted Barn is a 501(c)3 that started in 2013. While they specialize in working with feral dogs, they take in animals of any kind that are from extreme cruelty/neglect/large scale hoarding situations. Based in Newport, Michigan, The Devoted Barn rescues animals from all over the United States. They are both shelter and foster based.
Melissa Borden, founder and owner of The Devoted Barn, cares for everything from dogs and cats to horses and pigs – and so much in between (like llamas, sheep, pigs and bunnies!). This wonderful organization was voted Shelter of the Year by the Westminster Dog Show last month.
From The Devoted Barn website: These animals come to The Devoted Barn to heal both physically and emotionally. They learn to trust and love again, or for the first time, with the help of at risk youth and special needs adults who come to work at the barn. In addition to helping the animals, our mission is to teach compassion and empathy to others through working with our animals.
A conversation with Melissa
Why did you start The Devoted Barn?
To give animals from extreme cruelty and neglect or feral ones a place to learn to heal and trust through working with at risk youth and adult special needs.
Approximately how many animals do you adopt out each year?
What is the hardest part about running an animal rescue?
Resources, having to say no to an animal that needs help, but you have to say no for lack of resources.
What is the best part about running an animal rescue?
The tail wags and the bond you develop with the animals, seeing the changes the animals make in people.
What would you say is the most common misconception about running a rescue?
That we have unlimited time and money.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a rescue?
Do everything by the book. Be honest, ethical and do what’s right for the animal, understand that you can’t save them all.
In your experience, what has been the best way to collect donations for your rescue?
Facebook and on-site fundraisers.
About how much does it cost to operate your rescue on a monthly basis?
Aside from medical costs, which change depending on the cases we have, operating costs are approximately $6,000/mo. Medical is our highest cost and it ranges from a few thousand to $10-15,000 depending on what we take in. We do not have any paid employees.
Have you ever adopted any of the animals that came through your rescue?
Me personally, I have several that become lifers on the farm due to medical issues that make them unadoptable.
How many pets do you have at home?
I have five personal dogs and one Savannah cat with asthma.
Do you have any fosters at home?
I only bring in bottle feeding puppies or kittens to my house.
And just for fun…
Did you have pets growing up?
Absolutely, always had dogs, cats and horses.
What are your hobbies or interests?
I’m a sports medicine trainer, so I love working out, hiking, mountain biking and watching professional sports.
Do you have a favorite organization you’d like to give a shout out to?
Anything else we should know about you?
I’m a single mom to five kids.
Thank you to Melissa for sharing The Devoted Barn with us. Words cannot express how in awe we are of what you’ve accomplished and all of your life-saving efforts in working with animals of all kinds. You can connect with The Devoted Barn through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you’d like to donate, you can do so at their website.
The Devoted Barn is always looking for volunteers and foster parents as well! Learn more here.