Can You Lend a Helping Paw This Holiday Season?
Last month, the Humane Society for Boone County (HSforBC) hired its first executive director, Susan Austin, who is no stranger to HSforBC or its volunteers and donors. HSforBC board members selected Austin, a volunteer since 2009, to fill the position after a thorough search and interview process. She has volunteered for HSforBC to foster and as an animal wellness coordinator, board member, board president, chair of the fundraising committee and certified shelter technician.
Austin brings a strong work and volunteer history of planning, marketing and event sponsorship to the position. She earned a Certificate in Fundraising Management (CFRM) from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
I have met with Austin many times over the last seven years to promote HSforBC and highlight the immediate needs of our county’s stray, neglected and/or forfeited animals. Amid the pandemic, these needs have only grown in number and in severity.
Our Local Humane Society Needs Our Support
Established in 2007, HSforBC serves abused, neglected and abandoned dogs and cats in Boone County. The primarily volunteer and private not-for-profit 501(c)(3) rescue organization operates a shelter facility at 5366 South Indianapolis Road in Whitestown.
HSforBC board members and volunteers, along with the financial support from donors, have created a solid foundation through fundraising, planning and saving funds to acquire the shelter facility in 2016 and renovate it. And it calls upon Boone County residents and businesses for their support this holiday season so that HSforBC can continue to operate its services and programs that go well beyond caring for animals at the shelter.
Did You Know?
It is important that local residents and businesses donate resources and time to our local Humane Society because that support funds not only the immediate needs of the cats and dogs brought into the shelter, but it also ensures that the HSforBC’s programs and services are funded as well. These programs/services include pet pantries, TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) and spay/neuter resources, adoption events and community events. Many of the traditional fundraisers have been canceled due to the pandemic. So, the Boone County community’s support has become even more imperative.
It is with the community’s support and donations that Austin and her devoted volunteers are able to supply aid to Zionsville and the other Boone County communities with services like TNR and organized pet pantries. The other surrounding county humane societies do not assist with the costs of these local services nor provide these services in Zionsville.
“We are actively looking for sponsors to help with our pet food pantries,” Austin said. “The need for our pet pantries is expanding, and we have a percentage of our population in Boone County that is not back to full employment. So, we are reaching out to let people know if they need our services, please call us and we can get you pet food! It is my fear that people who need help with pet food are taking food off their own table, so we [HSforBC] are looking for sponsors so that we can be prepared to help with pet food as the effects of this pandemic continue to impact people in our county.”
Now Is a Perfect Time to Foster!
For those remarkable souls who choose to foster for HSforBC, Austin shared that HSforBC provides the medicines and food for the animal being fostered. Austin and the volunteers work especially hard at making the best matches for both the animals and the folks who are fostering.
“I understand if we don’t have the right animal for you [to adopt], but please adopt,” Austin implored. “I know there are people out there in our community who are very lonely and are staying home. This may be a perfect time to consider fostering. Maybe not a kitten but a cat or an older dog that is already housebroken. We provide the heartworm, flea and tick and all the medicines and food. If the animal needs spayed/neutered, we take of that. And fostering helps us keep space open at the shelter.”
Austin continued, “We’re not trying to warehouse animals. We bring them in and care for them to the best of our abilities without overcrowding and causing disease to spread or adding stress for the animals, which is why fostering is such a huge function of our Humane Society.”
How Can You Help?
As previously mentioned, you can help HSforBC by fostering an animal, sponsoring a pet pantry or simply donating money. Food donations, while graciously accepted by HSforBC, can be tricky because each animal has different dietary needs and may be recovering from illness or allergies. Austin suggested monetary donations so that HSforBC can maximize its buying power and purchase the food and items it needs to best care for the animals in its charge.
“Since we’re not able to do Whiskerfest this year and because we had to cancel all of our fundraisers since March, we will be taking advantage of Giving Tuesday on December 1—a Facebook fundraising opportunity,” Austin shared. “We will also be hosting auctions on Facebook and coming up with other fun and impactful fundraising ideas. We are open to any suggestions and ideas from our supporters!”
Austin concluded, “Our current supporters have been phenomenal, and I want to thank each and every one of them. They have been with us all along, and we are truly blessed. That support gives me hope, and it shows that this organization we’ve worked so hard for has a great foundation to expand upon. We want people in our county to know that we’re still here and we’re still providing services to the best of our abilities.”