Shelter works to increase adoptions

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Foot traffic has been down at Good Shepherd Humane Society lately, but shelter manager Sandra Mittler is hopeful more animals will be adopted in the next few months.

At Good Shepherd’s regular meeting

Wednesday, Aug. 23, Mittler reported that the shelter is working with Unconditional Love Pet Rescue to expand its adoption base. This collaboration will work similarly to animal transfers, Mittler said, with animals being placed in homes through the other shelter.

“They will go straight to their new home. That will give us a lot of connections up north where they’re needing animals,” Mittler said. “They don’t have a surplus there.”

Mittler presented the adoption, return and intake numbers for July, saying the shelter took in seven dogs, one cat, five kittens and one puppy in that time. The shelter adopted out eight dogs, three kittens and three cats, Mittler said, with two cats and three dogs being returned to the shelter. Mittler reminded the board of how the application process works and said she’s proud of it.

“We do have a really solid application process. We don’t just say, ‘You want an animal? Here,’ ” Mittler said. “We’re really happy with our application process.”

Of those who fill out an application to adopt an animal, Mittler said, around 90 percent are approved. Those who aren’t approved have good reason to be denied, Mittler said.

“We do require that if you get an animal from us, you have to take care of them, which means taking them to the vet every year and getting shots,” Mittler said. “We do approve a lot of people.”

The shelter has been facing some challenges lately, she continued, when it comes to managing all the animals that have come in. Mittler said the shelter recently took in six very large dogs who need to have a kennel to themselves because of weight limits. When these animals come in, Mittler said, many need to be socialized with people and other animals.

“We don’t get to pick which animals come into the shelter. We don’t know what level of socialization they come in with,” Mittler said. “Some of them need a lot of therapy and socialization before they can be adopted out, which means they’re going to stay with us for a few months.”

She added, “We always do everything we can for the animals, but it does cost us money. Everything plays off each other. At the moment, we have a lot of cats that don’t get along and a few very large dogs that need a lot of socialization.”

That’s where volunteers come in, Mittler said.

“We couldn’t do it without them. We don’t have a very large staff, and there’s things that have to be done every day like cleaning,” she said. “When we get these special volunteers who can come in and work with the animals … that’s what they need.”

Some of the dogs couldn’t walk on a leash when they came to the shelter, Mittler said, and they have already made impressive progress.

“It’ll take some time. We have to thank our volunteers,” Mittler said. “Without them, the process would be slower.”

Moving forward, Mittler said, she’s hoping to finish up the kennel project. The outdoor kennels have already been renovated out front, she said, leaving the kennels inside the shelter and behind it to be rehabilitated. The second phase of the kennel project involves updating the HVAC and the kennels inside the shelter, Mittler said, and the third phase finishes off the project with the kennels at the back of the building.

“We’re all really excited,” Mittler said. “Pretty soon, everything will look as lovely as the front does.”

Thrift store manager Janet Chupp gave an update on the Doggie Thrift Stores, saying the stores did meet their budget in July.

“August is looking really good,” Chupp said. “I’m excited about that.”

The stores have several new volunteers, Chupp said, who have signed up over the past couple of months. Without the volunteers, Chupp said, the stores wouldn’t be as successful as they are.

“It’s amazing to me how dedicated our volunteers can be,” she said. “We’ve got some really great ones.”

Treasurer Mark Minton presented the financial report, saying Good Shepherd had a net loss of $960 in July. With a budgeted loss of $274, Minton said, the shelter came in only $686 worse than the budget. Minton said he hopes the Doggie Style Show revenue will help the finances improve.

“Our expenses are only partially offset by our revenues, but we have a great opportunity to really strengthen our revenue,” Minton said.

Board president Jay Fusaro thanked everyone who works hard at the shelter and the thrift stores, saying he’s grateful to everyone who contributes to Good Shepherd. He recalled when two shelter employees drove six hours round-trip to pick up a dog that had been taken to a kill shelter in Oklahoma. The dog was originally adopted from Good Shepherd, Fusaro said, and the shelter received a call when the dog arrived there.

“It was a boiling hot drive, three hours there and three hours back, to get this dog” Fusaro said. “I think that’s just terrific dedication, and that’s what we’re going to do for one dog.”

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the meet and greet room at the shelter.

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