Sandra here! It’s nearly May, so this post is a bit late, but we want to welcome everyone into the New Year 2023 with a recap of all the incredible work we accomplished in 2022 with the help of our members, donors, vendors, mentors and leadership team!
Can you believe our Facebook group is now 8 years old? If you aren’t in our main Facebook group, Sugar Glider Guardians, please join today!
In January, we began our monthly requests to be selected for monthly birthday fundraisers. This is an easy and FREE way to support Guardians by setting up a birthday fundraiser on Facebook, where all your friends and family can help support a mission you hold dear to your heart. We love this way to fundraise! Here is a tutorial on how to do it. Be sure to select our charity, Sugar Glider Guardians.
In February of 2022, we were met with one of our biggest challenges a rescue could ever face. To us, it seemed like the Olympics of glider rescue. It was what we had been training for our whole lives, pouring our blood, sweat and tears into preparing ourselves for over the duration of our entire 8 years. We called it Operation Face Hug (OFH). In this massive rescue effort, we took in 542 surrendered gliders from a breeder who was being shut down by the USDA for keeping their nearly 5,000 sugar gliders in deplorable conditions.
We knew that we would be unable to house this many gliders, either in the long term or short term. We worked the entire year screening each and every foster and forever home. Every candidate completed a list of approximately 25 questions, sent in photos, and several even had video calls if we were not already familiar with them. The screening process was meticulous and time-consuming, but we would have it no other way, and it helped us develop a more organized and standardized adoption process going forward. Our adoption process is in-depth and thorough because we are searching for homes with whom we were entrusting these gliders, and we need to get it right. We did our best to find phenomenal forever homes for these rescues from OFH. We also organized multiple railroads – transports of gliders across the country. This required very detailed planning and organizing to get the gliders from point A to point B on specific days, at specific times, and to specific people. These transports required a ton of logistical planning, and also they took so much time. We are so thankful to the many folks who helped transport these babies from Texas all across the US to places as far away as Florida, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona, and most places in between. Our largest transport consisted of 88 gliders in one trip. There are still a few OFH gliders in foster homes, but most have found their forever homes. Some have passed away as their conditions were just too advanced by the time we were contacted, and they each got a name and a proper burial or cremation. Most of the OFH gliders are now living happy and healthy lives in their forever homes. The OFH experience taught us a great deal. We shared this project during the Ohio Glider Gathering (OGG) in October 2022. Here’s the blog post about the OGG, with links to the presentation slides and video. And, at the OGG, we were again most thankful to the hosts, Bobbi Tindle and LeAnne Deel for choosing Sugar Glider Guardians to be the charity recipient. You can check out our prior OGG blog.
Additionally, in 2022, we continued our efforts in growing our mentoring program by 15 more mentors! This includes 2 mentors in South Africa, 1 in Indonesia, and 1 in Israel. We already have mentors in the UK and Canada and are ecstatic to be expanding globally! We sadly bid our final farewell to one mentor who passed away, Miguel. He lived in Mexico and he has been sorely missed. We love all our present and past mentors who give freely of their time, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Request a mentor here!
We continued our mission in so many other ways, too! Our pouch program is always growing and we continue to send out more safe sleeping pouches to gliders who need them. You can read about the importance of safe sleeping pouches in our blog post entitled “A Safe Place to Sleep”. We are always in need of safe pouches donated to replenish the safe ones we send out. Please consider mailing some into our physical location in Cypress, TX. To see our photo tutorial on how to sew a safe sleeping pouch, visit our accessories page. We continue to offer awesome items for the safety needs of your gliders like e-collars and ER kits in our shop. For a limited time, we offered our adorable Valentine’s Day cards. You’ll have to catch those next year!
Notably, we surpassed 28,000 members on our Facebook group! That’s an increase of over 2,000 members since last year. And, perhaps most importantly, we continued to assist financially with countless neuters and medical appointments for gliders.
With regard to the physical rescue, we celebrated our first full year with our presence on Petfinder, Petstablished, Adopt-a-Pet, and several other adoption websites that advertise our adoptable sugar gliders. You can see who is available and apply to adopt them here! We also held a few auctions! And finally, we ended the year with our 8th annual 25 Days of Warm Fuzzbutts Countdown to Christmas. These are 25 of our best suggie success stories for the year. This year’s focus was on OFH. We should note that OFH was also a huge drain financially costing our rescue in the ballpark of $40,000+. So, 2023 will be a year to regroup. We hope to rededicate our efforts in the areas that took pause, including replenishing our general fund.
One thing can be said for us – we made it and we grew! And all these things could not have been accomplished without those who volunteered their time, all our incredible vendors, fabulous donors, and all the members of our Sugar Glider Guardians family! We are so grateful for you and wish you a happy and prosperous new year!
And please remember, we couldn’t help any gliders without your donations, so please, donate! We hope you enjoy our website and our upcoming events! Check back every couple weeks for our latest news, events, updates, and gliders available for adoption!