Merrick Pet Care donates cat, dog food to Good Shepherd

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

By Samantha Jones

Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com

Good Shepherd Humane Society is full of joy and its animals are just plain full after Merrick Pet Care donated 19,000 combined pounds of dog and cat food to the shelter.

Cole Wakefield, director of animal operations, told the board of directors on Feb. 26 that Good Shepherd will be sharing the food with local and regional pet rescues. Merrick Pet Care donated 20 pallets of food, Wakefield said, and Good Shepherd isn’t the only rescue that needs it.

“We are sharing that with Haven of the Ozarks, Unconditional Love Pet Rescue, the city of Eureka Springs, a rescue in Huntsville and more,” Wakefield said. “We’ve offered food to basically everybody in the immediate area and then some of the other places that have an immediate need outside of that area.”

Wakefield said he’s working on creating a food bank giveaway in Berryville to help people who need pet food in that area at some point in the future.

“We know that’s a big need,” Wakefield said, “so big thanks to Merrick on that.”

Wakefield said the shelter has received food donations over the past few months from Purina and Walmart. Because of that, Wakefield said, the shelter hasn’t had to tap into its food budget. That means there’s money available to start using Rescue, a one-step disinfectant cleaner and deodorizer popularly used by veterinarians.

“That will greatly reduce the time the kennel staff has to spend actually cleaning,” Wakefield said. “We’re going to engage them in enrichment and behavioral training with the animals.”

Board president Jay Fusaro said using Rescue would help the staff quite a bit.

“It takes less time, it won’t have the strong odor of bleach and the staff isn’t going to have to wear respirators,” Fusaro said.

Wakefield said Rescue isn’t caustic, saying you can bathe with it. Rescue will be installed soon, Wakefield said, and the staff will be trained on how the new process works.

Fusaro thanked Wakefield for his hard work over the past month. Wakefield stepped up when shelter manager Chelsea Gahr had to leave Good Shepherd unexpectedly, Fusaro said.

“She gave proper notice and transitioned properly to [Wakefield] who the board voted to be shelter manager,” Fusaro said.

Wakefield said he’s changed up the roles a bit. His new title is director of animal operations, Wakefield said, and he will oversee the development and operations of the services side of Good Shepherd. He brought on Scott Moore as the new community engagement coordinator, Wakefield said.

“What was the assistant manager position is now the community engagement coordinator,” Wakefield said, “who will lead the volunteer and outreach efforts. [Moore] is someone who’s going to make sure we’re at every parade and event.”

Wakefield said Moore will get the humane education program up and running.

“He’s basically helping us be more outward facing and outward engaging, and so far he’s done really good,” Wakefield said. “He’s got a new position and we’re figuring it out as we go. He’s jumped in with both feet and continues to answer the phone and all the other stuff too.”

Board member Carmen Caldwell commended Wakefield on the transition.

“That happened fast,” Caldwell said, “and it’s really positive.”

“We’ve been fortunate with the right pieces falling into the right place at the right time,” Wakefield said.

As part of the restructuring, Wakefield said, Good Shepherd is seeking front desk volunteers.

“We just need people to help us answer the phones and sit at the front desk,” Wakefield said.

Wakefield said he plans to start training the kennel staff more, because those employees are a major asset to the shelter.

“These are the people who spend all day with these animals,” Wakefield said. “They know our dogs and cats better than anybody.”

Wakefield said adoption numbers were up in January, with 18 animals adopted, five returned to their owner and 24 transferred to another agency. Having such quick turnover means there’s a variety of animals to adopt at the shelter, Wakefield said.

“It does show that the myth that there’s just not enough people out here to adopt animals is wrong,” Wakefield said. “There are people in this area that want to adopt animals. We just have to make them available and accessible.”

The board moved on to hear from Hallie Roberts, who presented the fundraising report. Roberts said the Diamonds & Denim fundraiser, scheduled for March 21, is almost sold out. There are around eight tables left to purchase, Roberts said.

“If you’re going to buy a table, you need to go ahead and do it,” Roberts said.

Also at the meeting, the board heard from treasurer Mark Minton. Minton said the shelter ended 2019 with an income of $379,258 and expenses of $377,699.

“So we were in the black by $1,559 for the year,” Minton said. “That’s fantastic.”

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, at the meet and greet room at the shelter. To purchase tickets for Diamonds & Denim, visit https://www.reserveeureka.com/attractions/diamondsanddenim.

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