Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
Several years ago, before I became the manager at LCHS, I arrived at work one sunny day and was told, “There may not be enough money in our account for payroll next week.” The moment is frozen in my mind – not the panic about what a part-time employee who attended college full time would do, but what would happen to the animals, to the community, without a shelter? I remember sitting down with other employees trying to figure out how to care for the animals currently at the shelter if the doors of LCHS would indeed close permanently. I remember watching as lines of people showed up to support the shelter and donations arrived in droves. I remember the gratitude the shelter workers felt as we realized our amazing community cared too much for animals to allow the shelter to close. I remember things changing rapidly, the coming months brought a new core of volunteers, staff changes, and a vow to become fiscally stable in order to show our supporters that we were worth their generous investment. I remember a burning hope that the future would hold bigger and brighter things for us.
The years have passed in a blur – anyone in animal rescue knows the variety of emotions and scenarios that can be encountered. There are moments you think you can reach the sky with the happiness at seeing an animal finally find a loving, happy home. There are times you wish you couldn’t feel sadness or grief because the terrified dog with its rib bones protruding can only be given teaspoons of food at a time in order to prevent it from vomiting. Policies have changed, people have come and gone, lessons learned, and the vision for a better future continued to grow. Of the 1,000 animals that found shelter in the humane society in 2013, fewer than 20 cats and dogs were euthanized in 2013 and only because they were aggressive or sick to the point of suffering. Adoption rates have steadily increased, low-cost spay and neuter has been established and offered to the public, and it became clear what the next step in our journey needed to be – a new building.
The shelter was built in 1979 and modifications have been made to it ever since. It is showing its age and the wear and tear of around the clock care for thousands of animals over the years has caused. Also, the approach to animal sheltering is much different now than it was 35 years ago. The value of providing natural light, room to stretch and play, a comfortable bed, and a sense of home is immeasurable to an animal in the shelter. Small, dark kennels create kennel stress and depression which lead to less adoptable animals and more sickness. These in turn lead to unnecessary euthanasia. The vision for a new building has been growing and we are counting on our community once again. You saved us from closing the doors once before, we have established ourselves as a legitimate community service that is financially stable, can you help us to build the new doors that will provide a better life for the animals in our care?
The building fund officially began in 2012 thanks to a few dedicated people who could not escape the mindset, “If not now, when?” There was a lot of doubt, how could such a large dream happen? As I hoped for the best, I imagined the amount of money needed, which was more than $700,000 would take years and years to accomplish.
I have never been so happy to admit I was wrong. Our building fund is almost at $500,000. We are so close that ever dollar counts to get us to our goal. Although the amount of money seems staggering to a small community, an animal shelter is built with many similarities to a hospital – ventilation is vital, disease control essential, and high quality production materials that can withstand constant cleaning and usage are worth the additional financial investment.
We are again asking for your help to support the shelter. This place is a temporary haven for the homeless, a place of healing for those who need to learn to love and trust again, a small part of a larger dream that no animal need ever be homeless, abused, and unwanted in the future. Join the dreamers who are going to make our part of the world a better place for homeless animals.
Call the shelter or visit our website www.furrypets.com to find out more about the project and how you can help.