Humane society changes from eyes of former volunteer

Published 6:05 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

To the editor:
My husband and I started volunteering two years ago at Foothills Humane Society.
We discovered a dedicated, caring and very knowledgeable staff and a lot of great dogs.
We joined a Saturday morning training class for the shelter dogs, hoping to make them more adoptable by teaching basic obedience. Each volunteer was assigned a dog that we worked with until they got adopted.
Many dedicated volunteers participated every week. We decided to go additional times during the week to work our dogs. Very rewarding when your dog got adopted. The class proved to be very successful. I was very proud to say I volunteered at FHS and was part of this program.
The trainer had great insight into reading the dogs. I also became part of the “On the Road” group of volunteers who take the dogs to local events and pet stores in surrounding areas to get them adopted, which also proved successful.
It’s important for the shelter to have someone assess all incoming dogs and who knew the dogs well enough to know which ones are ready for the on the road trips. We had that with this trainer.
This became my passion, which compelled me to write this letter. It all started downhill when someone decided it would be better to pay a salaried employee to run the shelter instead of the volunteer who was doing it.  I’m not knowledgeable enough about running a shelter to know if this was right or wrong.
I do know the manner in which they went about to accomplish this was very mean-spirited. This person performed their magic on enough people to get their wish. During this process they lost three other volunteers who played a big role in running the shelter and three employees resigned over a short period of time. Then the person responsible for this mess got “Out of Dodge” and left the state.
When the pavilion was dedicated, the people who were responsible for that pavilion being there by writing grants to secure the funds and oversaw the construction of it were never mentioned. It was this kind of treatment of people that really bothered me.
I wanted to walk away but because I cared for the staff and a certain dog named Janie I was working with, I just couldn’t. And the trainer was still there. Now the trainer is gone and I feel that, too, was handled poorly.
All these things started adding up for me and through a lot of tears and sleepless nights I came to the conclusion that I had to walk away. And Janie now had her forever home. It wasn’t easy because you got to work with great dogs and there were so many great stories to be told in relation to their adoptions.
Wishing Susie, Madison, Sam, Meggi, Albert, Shirley, Jazz, Zippo, Moxie, Ciara, Roxy, CJ, Chocolate, Treasure, Violet, Janie, Anya, Clayton, Barkley, Holly, Thor, Denali, Beyonce, Sassy, Chaos, Shorty, OSO, Durango, Wendal, Priscilla, Jerico, Kaiser and Ditto well in their forever homes.
These are the dogs that my husband and I worked with in the training class. All these dogs were special to us and we often wonder how they are doing.
So special that my husband made a picture frame that contains all the dogs pictures that he worked with during his time.
Will miss the staff and volunteers that we got to know and love and wish them the best.
– Betty Vare, Tryon