What many people don’t realize is the size of the Humane Society’s footprint in the Huntsville-Madison County community.
Now in its 51st year, the Humane Society continues to grow under the leadership of new CEO Anne Caldwell.
What the public also may not know: the Greater Huntsville Humane Society is funded entirely by donations and grants; the organization does not receive any government funding. With a small staff and more than 200 volunteers, the Humane Society is run on a shoestring budget.
The organization’s best-known fundraiser is the annual Dog Ball, now in its 31st year.
This year’s event will be Feb. 8 at the Von Braun Center South Hall. Over the years, the Dog Ball has continued to grow and each years’ clever theme with accompanying artwork seems to outdo previous years. This year’s theme will be “Bark Avenue.”
The money raised goes toward providing medical care and finding homes for shelter animals.
“The Dog Ball helps provide critical funding that enables GHHS to offer such programs and services as healthcare and food to low-income households, humane education and outreach, and a safe place for homeless pets to find their forever homes,” said Caldwell. “This fun-filled, elegant evening is consistently our largest fundraiser – even after all these years!”
The Humane Society’s Thrift Store has been recently updated to better serve its customers.
“The thrift store is our bread and butter,” said Caldwell. “Last year, it brought in over $200,000.”
The store sells a wide assortment of items; its mission is to sell donated goods and provide funds in support of the shelter animals. In fact, 100 percent of every sale goes to support the Humane Society’s mission.
The King’s Community Kitchen provides low-income pet owners with food for their dogs and cats. In 2018, over 35,000 pounds of pet food was distributed to area families in need.
In partnership with the Humane Society, Rocket City Mobile Vet offers Pet Wellness Clinics on the second Saturday of each month. These discounted services are provided to pet owners with a household income below $35,000. Clinics offer wellness exams, annual vaccinations, heartworm and flea/tick preventative and microchipping, if needed.
Its newest community program is Huntsville Hounds on Transport (HHOT Dogz). Last spring, the Humane Society began monthly treks to the Humane Society of Washington County, Md., and to the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C.
Due to shelter overpopulation here in the South, many independent agencies have been transporting shelter animals to the Northeast, where spaying and neutering of pets is more stringently enforced, resulting in fewer adoptable animals in the northern shelters. The HHOT Dogz program helps GHHS save the lives of more shelter animals by giving them a better opportunity for a loving home elsewhere.
The Paws for Reading program was designed to enrich the lives of shelter animals while also helping children develop sound reading skills.
Children ages 6- 15 years old can participate if accompanied by a parent; it’s also open to volunteers over 16. Paws for Reading is a win-win for the children and shelter animals alike. It helps the animals develop socialization skills, which will help them become more comfortable with people. Those people skills are critical for a shelter animal to be adoptable.
The Humane Society is also a partner of Pets for Patriots, a national service that pairs veterans and adoptable animals. The goal is to make the benefits of shelter pet adoption a reality for military personnel, ensuring many years of friendship, companionship and joy with their honorably adopted dog or cat.
For more information, visit https://ghhs.org/