It seems I'm going to start this email the same way I have started others - apologizing for being so long in between. Time has a way of getting away from us, never seems to be enough and it's especially true when referring to the shelter so again I apologize for being so long in between.
We find ourselves in the holiday season with Christmas fast approaching. The shelter has started decorating, the tree is up with all the special ornaments hanging from the branches and a candy cane wreath is hanging on the door. We hope to have many visitors to the shelter during the holidays, this is a joyous time of year. For the animals at the shelter means a possible new home or at the very least some treats and gentle strokes on the head.
It has been very busy at the shelter, we have been at or over capacity for dogs for months, we have adoptions and finally get an empty kennel or two when, like yesterday, we had one dog adoption but took in four dogs and 2 cats, back to being full again. But we manage to wait out the storm to find them good homes or a rescue that will have room for one or two.
This may sound like a silly statement but I just can't imagine what it was like without the shelter, it's silly because we do know what it was like without the shelter but I can no longer imagine it - which I guess is a good thing. When I think about "time before the shelter"; the fate of all the dogs - or the cats that had absolutely no where to go, what happened to them? That's when I'm so thankful we have a shelter and how very lucky we are that there is a safe place for the cats and dogs, somedays when the numbers seem a bit overwhelming we just work harder because we know we have been blessed to have this shelter - we don't ever want to go back to the days "time before the shelter".
The fundraising committee has also been working extra hard the few months, with the garage sale, Elk Fest, Fall dinner/auction, the first metal recycling day, packing up all our goods and going to craft shows all of which takes the effort of many to make them a success which they did! Thanks to all the support we get in the community these events, big or small, keep our shelter running. We are using the metal recycling proceeds to supplement spay and neuters of owner owned dogs and cats, some of which will get done in our own surgery suite at the shelter. Since the shelter opened most all shelter dogs and cats are being spayed or neutered at the shelter by our volunteer veterinarians, they donate one day a week (their day off) and some days the work load at the shelter is very heavy, I can't begin to express the appreciation of their dedication to the animals of the shelter, in addition to the many surgeries they also administer vaccinations and implant microchips.
The shelter is feeling the effects of the poor economy, we see it at our fundraisers and we see it at the shelter, along with the increased numbers of dogs and cats that get surrendered because people can't keep them any longer - what we hear the most is they lost their home and have to move somewhere that they can't take them with them. Now more than every we need our supporters, volunteers and adopters to help weather this storm.
With some very exciting news we have finally - after moving them from one location to another and back again - set the memorial pavers in their final place, right next to the front sidewalk where anyone and everyone coming to visit will see them! They look awesome! I have attached and inserted pictures, some of the pavers "just look" blotchy because they were wet and in various stages of drying; we are going to finish all the way to the corner with blank pavers to keep them all tight and in place, those blanks, and some recently ordered engraved ones will arrive next week to finish this project off for the winter. We have covered our sand base with insulation so it doesn't freeze while waiting for these last pavers. If anyone wants one of the pavers now would be a great time to order and get them in place now. After that when new engraved pavers are ordered we will just pull out a blank and plant the new memorial paver.
Speaking of memorials I would like to take this moment to reflect on the passing of a shelter supporter which also was my husband and best friend of thirty-seven years; Dave deeply loved the shelter and his goal was to help the shelter become a reality, And that he did! He worked countless hours researching and planning and then directed the daily transformation of a shell of a building into a wonderful animal shelter. Shortly after the shelter opened he was diagnosed with lung cancer and could no longer physically be at the shelter and passed away late July of this year. But his heart never left the shelter, detailed evening reports were shared on everything that happened that day, who got adopted, what new dog came in, what wonderful visitors we had or a special donation that came in, he needed to know, he still needed to be a part of the dream and he still is to this day, his motivation and drive remains with me and with the shelter - he is deeply missed.
One more before I go (running late as usual) our little Lucy was adopted yesterday - she went to a wonderful home, and slept in a real home last night and woke up to go potty in a snowy fenced yard! YEAH!
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and hope you stop by to visit :-)
Sincerely Pauline Hancock President Elk Country Animal Shelter