Inspirational Broadway Barkers: Bideawee
For more than a century, the uniquely named animal rescue organization Bideawee has been caring for homeless animals and nurturing life-long relationships between humans and their pets. Bideawee, which is the Scottish term for “stay a while,” welcomes abused, neglected, and abandoned companion animals with all the compassion, love, and warmth evoked by the Scottish phrase that inspired its name. Bideawee stands out because it not only provides animal adoption services for dogs and cats, but it also goes the extra mile by offering veterinary services, training and obedience classes, pet therapy, and pet loss support, all of which strengthen its service to both the animals and humans in the community. Bideawee's unparalleled commitment to the animals it cares for and to the humans who give the animals permanent, loving homes is what makes Broadway Barks so proud to call Bideawee an affiliate! We think everyone should know what we know about Bideawee's fantastic work, so we asked Bideawee's President and CEO, Dolores Swirin-Yao, a few questions and were thrilled when she agreed to talk with us about Bideawee.
In 1903, a Scotswoman named Flora D’Auby Kibbe was visiting Paris when she was inspired by the work of a humane group that cared for the city's homeless animals. Kibbe took what she learned by observing the Parisian group and used it as a blueprint to form Bideawee. She started Bideawee in her Manhattan apartment and eventually expanded to a Wantagh, NY, location and then Westhampton. Kibbe was a visionary in her own right and a pioneer in the animal rescue movement, which is why her work continues to have a positive impact so many years later. Unfortunately, the need for animal rescue organizations like Bideawee still exists as millions of wonderful, healthy companion animals are homeless and in danger of becoming part of the more than 50% who won't survive their homelessness. This desperate need to find homes for these wonderful animals is why Broadway Barks has teamed with Bideawee at the annual Broadway Barks adoption event for more than 10 years. As Swirin-Yao explains, “Broadway Barks is a staple event in New York City, bringing together NYC’s animal welfare groups and the stars of Broadway. This event provides tremendous exposure for Bideawee's adoptable pets, drawing in a large audience of animal lovers and potential adopters.”
Bideawee offers animal adoption services at two locations in the metropolitan New York area. But at Bideawee you won’t be left to wander cold halls of chain-link cages to find a pet on your own. Instead, Bideawee uses trained “matchmakers” who can help find the perfect pet for your family. “Bideawee's matchmakers know the animals inside and out,” Swirin-Yao says. “They spend ample time with potential adopters assessing preferences, lifestyle, and personality so that they can ensure compatible, lasting matches between people and pets.” Bideawee's adoption centers in Manhattan and Westhampton have a wide variety of adoptable animals, all of which have been medically, emotionally, and behaviorally screened so that they are prepared to enter a home. Prospective adopters can view all of the animals available for adoption online, and can visit the adoption centers at Bideawee to meet the amazing animals in person. Have a question about a particular animal? Does this dog like cats? Is this dog potty trained? Is this cat child friendly? Just ask a Bideawee matchmaker, and you’ll get the answer!
When you visit Bideawee’s website you quickly notice that animal adoption is only one way that Bideawee serves the greater NY community. The people at Bideawee understand that the relationship between humans and animals is a symbiotic one that, when nurtured, can improve many aspects of life for humans and animals. Bideawee offers a variety of services because as Swirin-Yao puts it, the programs “underscore our lifelong commitment to our animals and adopters. We are there during the time of adoption, we provide healthcare and training services, and then we give our adopters the ability to be part of the Bideawee community in a number of ways.” And according to the Bideawee website, ways for people to get involved include volunteering at Bideawee events, caring for the animals in the shelter, or by getting their pet certified and participating in the Pet Therapy program. Swirin-Yao says that pet therapy animals “visit schools, hospitals, and nursing homes and even have the opportunity to take part in our Reading to Dogs Program, which helps struggling children improve their reading with the comfort of a four-legged friend.” In these interactions, not only do the humans benefit from the unconditional love and undivided attention given by a companion animal, but the animals benefit too by having positive interactions and attention from humans. It’s a win-win situation!
Bideawee’s founder, Flora Kibbe, recognized early on how important proper veterinary care is to ensuring that animals live long, happy lives as well-adjusted family pets. Therefore, Bideawee runs two veterinary hospitals in Manhattan and Westhampton. Bideawee adopters receive a coupon for a free office visit, and the veterinary clinics provide all the medical care needed by the more than 1,000 homeless animals that Bideawee takes in and cares for each year. Swirin-Yao told Broadway Barks that “we view adoption as only the first part of a lifelong relationship with our animals and adopters. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide services that allow us to be with our adopters throughout their entire journey with their pet, and providing medical care is a crucial part of this journey.” Bideawee employs a highly trained staff that includes veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and support staff that uses the latest in medical equipment and technology to care for every animal that comes through the door.
The Human-Animal Bond
Bideawee understands the importance of the bond between people and their pets. While they strive to find homes for as many homeless animals as they can, they also work hard to support the people in their community through their pet therapy programs and with pet memorial services and pet loss support. As Swirin-Yao told us, “When the time comes, Bideawee also offers pet memorial services so that pet parents can pay tribute to their beloved companions.” In 1916 Bideawee established the Pet Memorial Parks so that grieving pet owners would have a place of peace and serenity to lay their pets to rest with a traditional burial and headstone. In 1964 President Nixon buried his beloved dog Checkers at the memorial park in Wantagh.
Bideawee also has free pet loss support groups at all of their locations for people who may need help grieving the loss of a beloved pet. The people at Bideawee know it can be a difficult and emotional journey, so they bring people together who are experiencing grief and mourning. The support groups are facilitated by qualified volunteers specializing in animal bereavement or who are Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW).
The people of Bideawee believe that pets are family members who deserve a life-long commitment. They strive to provide the resources to help adopters and their four-legged family members form a permanent bond so they can live safe, healthy, happy lives together. And that’s why we at Broadway Barks consider the Bideawee team inspirational Broadway Barkers!
Contributed by Charlene Sloan