Case Study: PAW Mission – Going Paper-Free with Shelterluv


With 14 years of veterinary experience and multiple American Pets Alive! apprenticeships under her belt, Jessica Lopez has already made major strides in implementing innovative, effective lifesaving efforts for animals in San Bernardino, California with her rescue, PAW Mission, a Shelterluv customer since December 2017. The opportunity to improve the lives of cats in her area only skyrocketed when a 5-acre cat sanctuary was donated to her in August 2019.


The sanctuary was in dismal shape. It came with over 200 cats, including feral cats, kittens, and senior cats, some of which had been at the sanctuary for over a decade. The sanctuary itself consisted of a few outdoor cat living areas, small sheds that were transformed into makeshift living quarters, a gutted residential home, and outbuildings that were filled with hoarded items. Unsurprisingly, there was a persistent rat and termite problem throughout the sanctuary that required immediate attention. To make matters more complicated, the sanctuary was not ADA compliant, which it had to be in order to process on-site adoptions. This means that in order to even be seen by the public, the sanctuary’s cats had to be transported to offsite adoption locations. 


Faith Wright, Shelter Management Advisor at American Pets Alive! and Monica Frenden, Director of Feline Lifesaving at American Pets Alive!, visited PAW Mission’s new sanctuary in September 2019 to help Lopez and her team get the sanctuary up and running. 

Because the cats were grouped in outdated housing arrangements, including FIV quarantines, Wright and Frenden first worked to regroup the cats among the 8-10 communal housing areas. At the same time, they worked to create a digital record for each cat within Shelterluv, since the sanctuary had only relied on paper records up until then, and the cats did not have any collars or identification. Because Wright was able to clone each cat’s record in Shelterluv and just simply change age and coat color for each cat, it ensured a smooth and quick record creation process. Wright and Frenden then vaccinated and microchipped each cat, and, using the Shelterluv records that they had created earlier, were able to create each cat’s medical record and attach photos to their profiles in seconds. Moreover, by setting the cats’ status as “available for adoption” on Shelterluv, cats were automatically viewable on PAW Mission’s website. 

Aside from helping with establishing and digitizing PAW Mission’s shelter operations, Wright and Frenden helped Lopez review contracts on property transfer, evicted squatters from the sanctuary, and established proper labor law and human resources protocols, among other necessary next steps.

“Shelterluv played an important part in helping us get PAW Mission’s sanctuary up to standard,” says Wright. “It was very easy to create new records for each cat and then attach their medical records and photos, so that made that part of our job out there much less overwhelming.”

With its new sanctuary space set up, PAW Mission is continuing to work towards its mission of helping animals and pet owners in its community, focusing on empowering high-risk groups of animals and humans alike in underserved areas.