At the end of this month, everyone involved with the Door County Humane Society hopes to utter a collective “TaDa!”
It will mean the Take Action for Deserving Animals capital campaign (or TaDa! Campaign) has met its goal of raising the final $500,000 by the end of June of the $1.3 million facility renovation and expansion project that broke ground in October 2012. The money is needed for the shelter to be mortgage-free in its newly expanded shelter, which has grown by 6,735 square feet and includes renovation of the old 5,300 square foot building.
DCHS Executive Director Carrie Counihan believes the goal will be met because so many people believe in the society’s work.
“We have a lot of faith in our community and their belief in what we do. Just getting the word out is a big part of it,” she said Monday during a press conference to announce the TaDa! Campaign.
She explained the renovation was necessary for the health and welfare of the animals the shelter cares for as well as for the staff who care for those animals.
At one point in its history, the shelter had 240 abandoned, lost and unwanted cats. Last year the shelter placed 792 animals in new homes. There are currently 96 cats and six dogs housed at the shelter, including Sofi, a 12-year-old longhaired white cat who holds the record for spending the longest time at the shelter – 2 and 1/2 years and counting.
“Older cats are harder to adopt out. That’s the thing. Now we can make them confortable for as long as they need,” Counihan said. “We want to turn this shelter into the best home possible for these animals for as long as they’re here. We don’t euthanize. We’ve had some cats that have been here two-plus years. So we want them to be happy. If you look at our cat colonies, they have everything they would have if they were in their own home. Same thing with the dogs.”
Happy animals are more adoptable animals, she said, and happy animals result in less stress on shelter staff and volunteers.
In addition to benefits for the animals housed at the shelter, Counihan said the renovation would also bring more people to the shelter for educational seminars and events. It also includes a library the public is welcome to use.
“We really want this to be a destination, a place for people to come,” she said. “People have this idea of a shelter. We always hear, ‘I could never do what you’re doing.’ Just come in. See what we’re doing. It’s different than what you think a shelter is. We realized the better you treat the animals, the more adoptable they are, the more people enjoy coming to the shelter. So just stop by. We love showing off the building.”
Counihan suggested anyone who wants to make a large donation should check out the website (doorcountyhumanesociety.org) for naming opportunities such as some of the cat colonies and the conference room. Or visit the shelter at 3475 Park Drive, Sturgeon Bay.