Friday, April 19, 2013

Humane Society offers time with puppies to student volunteers

Small donations make a difference for animals

By Susan Penwell, Guest Writer

On any given day at the Humane Society, there are more than 100 pets waiting to be adopted.
The non-profit organization helps 6,000 homeless pets find homes each year, and Pacific Lutheran University students can both benefit from and volunteer for the organization.

Marguerite Richmond, in charge of membership and marketing for the Humane Society in Tacoma, also takes on the job of public relations and meeting the non-profit’s missions within the community.
Richmond said since pets are a great stress reliever, the Humane Society helps with therapy pets for wounded soldiers and anyone who may need a friend.
In fact, she said it would be fun to bring pets to PLU during finals to calm students’ nerves.
“So invite us out, and we’ll come with some puppies,” Richmond said.
Some of the pets at the Humane Society were rescued from owners practicing animal cruelty. These pets are sometimes rescued in big numbers.
Recently, the Humane Society was able to place 50 dogs in homes — all of the dogs were rescued from one person’s trailer.
Other types of rescues include saving pit bulls from being used as fighting dogs. 
When a pet comes to the Humane Society, it is held for three to five days before it is put up for adoption in hopes that the pet’s owner will come in and take it home.
The shelter is “open admission,” which means the pets that come in homeless will get the shelter they need and not be turned away regardless of circumstances.
In preparation for adoption, employees spay or neuter the pets depending on the sex, give shots to and bathe the animals, provide any needed medical attention and also give the animals temperament testing to ensure they have no aggressive behaviors that could potentially hurt a person.
Volunteers are an integral part of keeping the Humane Society running successfully. They give free spay and neuter vouchers, help with fence building at pet owners homes to ensure the animals don’t get chained up outside, give out free chew toys and leashes and operate vaccine clinics.
Foster parents also who take care of entire litters of puppies and kittens until they are old enough to be adopted.
The Humane Society does rely on donations, but “when the two - and five - dollar donations are coming from children and people who can’t afford more, that’s enough to buy a bed to make the animal comfortable in its cage, or a vaccine to save an animal’s life,” Richmond said.
Essentially, any donation amount can help greatly.