Susan Vaughan here. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know of my love of animals and my husband’s and my support of our local animal shelter, the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County (http://www.humanesocietyofknoxcounty.org). Yes, that’s a long name for an organization that saves lives and connects with families and whole communities in the Mid-Coast Maine area. Some people may think of an animal shelter as a “pound,” but for most shelters that’s far from the whole story. PMHSKC has a record of returning 83% of lost dogs to their owners and a 98% adoption rate. That’s 98% of cats and dogs who have found homes with their forever families.
Including Izzy, rescued from a porch where she was ignored and left to starve. A very sweet and loving Great Dane mix in spite of the abuse, she received care and nutrition at the shelter. A year later, Izzy has found her forever home.
An animal shelter is also a community center. Children have birthday parties there. They donate food and supplies, walk dogs, and pet cats. Families and single adults who can’t have animals because of where they live or for other reasons come to PMHSKC to experience that intangible human-animal bond.
I don’t know about other shelters, but PMHSKC has rescued many animals other than dogs and cats.
They’ve cared for and found homes for guinea pigs, donkeys, ducks, chickens, goats, ferrets, many rabbits, one ball python, pot-bellied pigs, and a full-grown pig named Valentine.
PMHSKC began as HSKC in 1989 as only a local shelter for a small number of animals and has grown to serve over 20 communities. Grown, yes, from rescuing and adopting out about 400 animals a year ten years ago to nearly 1500 today, and has also outgrown the small original building. Due to the generosity of the Lyman Pope Foundation and 500 other donors, PMHSKC will break ground this summer to build a new shelter on the same property as the original red building. We’re excited that this new facility will provide better ventilated and larger spaces for animals and a community room for dog training, other animal education events, and those popular birthday parties.
I asked the PMHSKC executive director, Tracy Sala, the most satisfying part of her job. Here’s what she said: “I’d say I get the most satisfaction when I receive a letter from an adopter thanking us for helping them find the perfect match for their family. If I’m really lucky, a picture will be included. And I’m always amazed and grateful by the outpouring of community support the shelter receives, be it a $1,000 check or the monthly gift of $2 from an anonymous donor. Both gifts are equally meaningful to me because it means something to the person giving it, and it all makes a difference in what we can do for the animals.”
Lastly, let me ask that wherever you are, please support your local animal shelter.
The first two books of the Devlin Security Force trilogy, On Deadly Ground and Ring of Truth, are available in digital and print on Amazon (http://amzn.to/13RNhQv). More information about my books is at www.susanvaughan.com.