HSMC hoping for tomorrow - Republic-Times | News

HSMC hoping for tomorrow

By on November 20, 2012 at 11:19 am

Pictured during an open house on Saturday, Carmen Nichols is one of four employees at the Humane Society of Monroe County shelter, which includes a vet tech. (Kermit Constantine photo)

The Humane Society of Monroe County has adopted out 23,000 pets since the organization began rescuing in earnest in late 2004.

They have outgrown their shelter, located on Route 3 south of Waterloo, many times over, and recently kicked off a capital campaign, “Shelter for Today… Hope for Tomorrow,” to raise an estimated $2.5 million needed to build a state-of-the-art animal shelter and community center between Columbia and Waterloo.

“We are asking the public to help us help the animals,” said HSMC President Paula Hutchinson. “They don’t have voices, but we do.”

Right now, the shelter holds 14 dogs and 40 cats; the rest of the more than 30 dogs and cats are in foster care with families and businesses around Monroe County and beyond. And while the attention and socialization puppies and kittens get while living with foster families help them grow into well-adjusted pets, the number of families able to take strays into their homes is not enough to meet the demand.

Plans for the new facility include room for nearly 30 adoption-ready dogs, a large turf play area, and separate rooms for the littler guys and those who live in foster care but are spending time at the shelter hoping to find forever families.

Another important aspect of the proposed new shelter is a quarantine area for dogs and cats that come to the humane society sick.

“Right now, if one cat gets sick, every cat in the (shelter) gets sick,” Hutchinson said.

The isolation rooms will also help dogs suffering from parvo, which can be fatal if not treated quickly and aggressively. Currently, the humane society has to locate a foster family with no other pets willing to take on a sick dog — or send the dog to another area shelter that can accommodate them.

When complete, the new shelter will also boast a community education room.

“This will be a place where we can offer training, youth summer camps, and even birthday parties and receptions,” Hutchinson said.
The site of the future shelter is Route 3 at Hanover Road; the six-acre parcel of land was donated by a group of local businesspeople.

Plans for the new HSMC facility between Waterloo and Columbia.

The location has several benefits, according to Hutchinson. In addition to being much larger, its proximity to St. Louis is expected to provide a boost to adoption numbers.

“Right now, about 50 percent of our pets are adopted by Missouri families,” Hutchinson said. “I think a facility closer to St. Louis will attract more people from all over.”

Fundraising in earnest is under way, and there are many opportunities and levels of contributions.

Donors can secure naming rights for the shelter for $1 million, to donate enough to name a puppy kennel ($750), and any amount in between.

“And there are so many other things people can do to help the organization,” Hutchinson said, including fostering pets, helping at adoption events or volunteering at the current shelter.

Anyone interested in helping, or just learning more about HSMC, is encouraged to attend an informational session about the capital campaign on Nov. 30, at 7 p.m., at Mystic Oak Golf Course. And the society’s website, HelpingStrays.org, is full of details about HSMC, adoption, the capital campaign, the new facility, and more.

There are even profiles of adoptable pets, and a simple way to donate via PayPal.

Upcoming and ongoing fundraising events are listed at HelpingStrays.org/events, including the upcoming Jingle Bell Dog Walk.

For more information on the capital campaign or any other aspects of HSMC, email Paula.Hutchinson@helpingstrays.org or CherylHemmer@gmail.com, or call 282-7387.

Andrea F.D. Saathoff

Andrea is a graduate of Gibault High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Education. She lives in Columbia with her husband and their twin toddler sons. When she isn't cheering on St. Louis Cardinals baseball or riding the emotional roller coaster of Mizzou Tigers football, she enjoys attending and participating in the many family events the county has to offer. email: andrea@republictimes.net