While there may not be visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, a nice squirrel to chase or ball or yarn would probably be appreciated by the dogs and cats of the Clermont County Humane Society. However, as the squirrel may be hard to catch and the yarn already knitted into a Christmas stocking, a more practical wish list has been made out for those who wish to help out their furry friends who are just looking for a home this Christmas. The list, available all year long, takes on a special meaning on the holidays when the spirit of giving is strongest.
“We have the wish list available all year long,” said shelter director Kim Naegel. “We have people who want to donate certain items, but this time of year especially we have people who want to help.”
The shelter, which is privately run and non-profit, is always in need of certain items, said Naegel. The wish list includes things like latex dog and cat toys, paper towels, liquid laundry soap, 13 gallon garbage bags, 39 gallon draw-string garbage bags, anti-bacterial hand soap, small stuffed animals, blankets, rawhides, small litter pans, cat litter (not scoopable), dryer sheets, bath towels, hand sanitizer (waterless), Clorox clean ups, Clorox, 35 mm film, 35 mm disposable cameras, 600 Polaroid film, Kleenex and Glad Plug-ins.
“The humane society is a non-profit organization and we operate solely on the sale of dog licenses, adoption fees, fundraisers, donations, contributions and that type of thing,” said Naegel. “We receive no government or tax money for the operation of this shelter, so we look for outside support to help us maintain the things we have, and the wish list is one of the ways that people can help.”
Naegel said that, while the wish list donations never cover the shelter’s needs completely, the donations are much appreciated by the staff and animals alike. When money is tight, the donations can go a long way towards easing the shelter’s financial burden, which in turn allows the shelter to focus on other services, such as their “pet therapy” program and satellite adoption program, which in themselves require volunteers.
“Volunteers help us with our dog license sales, but they also help with fundraisers,” said Naegel. “We have four major fundraisers each year, plus we have humane education, pet therapy, satellite adoptions and volunteer recruitments. As far as volunteering at the shelter, we don’t have a lot of volunteers in-house because we have staff. But the volunteering type of thing we do is we have dog walkers who come and walk the dogs and things like that. They need to get familiar with our operation so they know what dogs can go outside and what dogs can’t. The satellite adoption is a big one people like to do, which we do the first, third and fifth Saturdays of the month.”
A popular program at the shelter is their pet therapy program where animals are taken to local nursing homes for the residents to enjoy. In many cases, volunteers take their own pets, as well as a number of cats and dogs from the shelter. Generally, several visits are made a week to the various area nursing homes.
Each year, around 4,300-4,500 animals are brought into the shelter, which is an open shelter and can’t turn animals away. The goal is to get as many of those animals adopted as possible.
“We work very hard at trying to place them and get them adopted,” said Naegel. “That’s why we work so hard, we don’t want to have to put so many to sleep, because we don’t have the luxury of turning any animals away.”
To make a donation or learn more about volunteering at the shelter, call 732-8854.