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Humane Society doggedly pursues building projects

A new transit van was donated to the Wadena County Humane Society recently by an anonymous donor. The van will help the shelter transport cats and dogs to vet visits. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
A rescued dog, Pixel, tries out the back of the new transport van donated to the Wadena County Humane Society. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal2 / 2

The Wadena County Humane Society is starting a building project with another one possibly just a wag of a tail away as they look to continue to grow their work of saving dogs and cats.

Since coming on board in 2016, shelter manager Emma Davenport has helped to see that the local Humane Society (WCHS) has tripled and sometimes quadrupled the number of adoptions they are able to complete each year. In 2017, the WCHS adopted out 485 pets (cats and dogs), up from 240 pets in 2016. That kind of growth in traffic does not come without a great deal of help from the four full-time staff, a large supply of volunteers, foster families and some need for more room.

If you've traveled past the WCHS recently you may have noticed a new concrete pad has been installed. On that foundation, a garage will soon be built. That garage will not only help provide more storage space for the organization but it will house a new van that was recently donated to the WCHS by an anonymous donor from the community, Davenport said. The new Ford Transit will allow the group to transport multiple cats and dogs primarily for vet visits.

"Due to record cat and dog intake and adoptions, transporting pets for veterinary visits was a challenge," Davenport said.

Staff were using personal vehicles, only able to carry one dog at a time. The gifted transport van will allow for kennels to be placed in the back, allowing more animals to be transported and easier cleanup.

On top of those recent developments at their current site, the WCHS staff and board have been keeping their focus on a planned move to a new location. How soon could that new shelter happen? As one board member put it - last year would have been nice.

Davenport said the WCHS is currently developing detailed drawings of the new shelter for fundraising and bidding purposes. The garage being built now will house the new vehicle and provide extra storage until the new building is complete. That building is planned at a site across from Sunnybrook Park behind Mid Minnesota Truck Parts & Service on Harry Rich Drive.

"We're very excited about that," Davenport said. "It's been something we've wanted for a long time."

The Wadena shelter is among one of the smallest in Minnesota yet places a high number of pets in homes each year, including people from Minneapolis, Fargo and Canada. The current shelter has been at the Hwy 10 location since 1998.

Davenport said as they are seeing such growth in intakes and adoptions, the need for skilled volunteers keeps growing. Some volunteer options includes transporting, marketing, help with maintenance and general duties of keeping up with an average of 20-25 animals.

The WCHS in partnership with Minnesota Rural CEP program even has an opportunity for someone 55 years and older to be paid for working at the shelter. Income requirements apply. Please reach out to the shelter for more information 218-632-5938.

The Wadena County Humane Society was founded in 1997 through the efforts of local volunteers. They accept owner surrenders, strays, and animals at risk for euthanasia at other crowded shelters when they have space. The shelter provides medical care and behavioral support to abandoned pets. Adopted pets go home spayed/neutered, microchipped, and up to date on shots.

WCHS is 100 percent independently funded - with no relationship to the Humane Society of the United States and relies on donor contributions and the love and labor of volunteers.

Fundraisers planned for Humane Society

Two events are happening soon that will help raise funds for the Wadena County Humane Society.

The community is welcomed out for a chili feed and silent auction from 4:30-7 p.m. Thurs, Oct. 25 at the Wadena VFW. Guests are welcomed to come out and enjoy chili knowing all proceeds go to the Wadena County Humane Society. The WCHS has had over 100 items contributed to the event so far for the silent auction.

Another upcoming fundraiser involves local musicians. Julia Whynott and her piano students are holding their annual piano recital fundraiser for Wadena County Humane Society at 3-5 p.m. Nov. 4 with treats and refreshments at Immanuel Lutheran Church. This event is in its fifth year and includes work by local students that have been preparing for months, according to piano teacher Julia Whynott.

Over the past four years, Julia's piano students have raised $2,115 for WCHS. They have a goal of $700 for 2019. That will help buy bedding, dental chews, formula, toys, treats and cleaning supplies. This is a free-will-donation event.

Enjoy an assortment of kitty and puppy themed treats. Performers will include: Sean Carlson, Maggie Carlson, Abby Johnston, Michael Schmidt and Libby Hartman. Whynott loves dogs, and started this event to support homeless pets.