Many ways to support and get involved with FHS

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, September 22, 2016

To the editor:

In response to the letter to the editor from Robert Then in the Sept. 16 Bulletin, I, as president of the board of directors, submit this on behalf of Foothills Humane Society (FHS).

FHS is a non-profit 501c3 adoption-guarantee animal welfare organization dedicated to finding homes for lost and abandoned animals. The animals are the “product” for which we are devoted and passionate in saving. It is not a moneymaking venture. To the contrary, think of it more as a service to the community. Our “inventory” is not of our choosing, yet we do very well with what we have through dedicated employees, volunteers, and generous donations of time, monies, and unique resources.

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FHS is a unique shelter and one that we should all be very proud to serve and be a part of. The community is rich with great adoption stories and memories of special animals, rescued from bad situations, that have become “all-time favorite” pets.

In recent years, huge strides have been made through rehabilitation and training of canines previously thought to be un-adoptable. Training and socialization of our animals is of the utmost importance and we are very sensitive and aware of providing a healthy, compatible, and safe animal to potential adopters. Our goal is to enhance the adoptability of each animal, providing an animal that is well socialized with an understanding of basic obedience commands.

Through specific testing, historical data (if available), and observation, we gather behavior patterns of animals and do our best to pair the animal to the best situation for animal and adopter. And while we do take pride in being a no-kill organization, we are certainly not opposed, after careful screening and examination, to humane euthanization of animals that are sick, diseased, or unable to be rehabilitated.

This is not the shelter of the past and hasn’t been since 2010 when we changed to a “no-kill” philosophy. Our mission has evolved to include programs and pre-adoption care that enable more favorable adoptions. An FHS animal is not adoptable unless it has been spayed/neutered, micro-chipped, and is up to date with vaccinations. We have programs in place and each year budget monies for: spay/neuter vouchers, heartworm prevention or treatment, off-site adoption events, vet care for the injured, rabies vaccination clinics, animal cruelty, equine rescue, and more. When you adopt or foster an animal from FHS, it is a healthy animal. If it has a pre-existing condition that we are treating prior to adoption, we will assist with treatment until the animal is well.

FHS does need a “raise” from the county, and in light of the upcoming elections, have meetings scheduled with commissioner candidates to guide them on a tour of the shelter and allow them to see first hand the work we are doing. We would hope that area residents would support this effort and help elect candidates who realize the importance and actual expense of what we are doing for the animals we serve.

In closing I would encourage you to visit your shelter, volunteer, get involved, and help any way you are able. The most important thing for these animals, prior to being adopted, is socialization and exercise. If dogs are your interest, we have walking trails and enclosed fenced areas that make it easy to get acquainted and can be great exercise for both. For those who prefer cats, we have “get acquainted” rooms for one-on-one time.

Getting to know these animals, understanding their hardships, seeing them evolve and begin to trust and feel loved, and eventually become adopted is a very rewarding experience.

~ David Pritchard, Tryon, N.C.