washburn county humane society
- WFHS Members since 2011
- 4.9/5 rating on Google reviews
- 5.6k followers on Facebook
- Manager almost 2 years: Ali Chartrand
- New logo debuted 2020
- Annual intake? 600-700
- Staff members? (FTE vs PTE): 1 FTE, 3PTE + manager
Can you tell me more about the SNAP program?
SNAP stands for Spay Neuter All Pets. How it works: The shelter pays $50.00 towards the spay or neuter for animals owned by a Washburn county resident, up to 2 animals per household with an income requirement. WCAHS verifies with the owner’s veterinarian that they will accept the shelter’s payment toward towards the procedure. The program is funded off of donations received while they are available; WCAHS hasn’t had to turn anyone away yet. Last year they had 30-40 applicants. This is not an actual spay/neuter clinic but the shelter and their community coming together to assist with the cost for low income families. The shelter markets the program on their website otherwise it’s by word of mouth or phone calls to the shelter.
On your Facebook page it looks like you had some decal work done, can you tell me about that?
Rio, a volunteer who fosters kittens for the shelter does a lot of painting in her free time. Shelter Manager Ali wanted a mural painted in the shelter’s Meet and Greet room. Ali initially had plans to work with a local school for the artwork and then COVID-19 happened. Ali commissioned Rio to do the artwork instead! WCAHS used all of Rio’s own ideas- she made two sketches for the project and WCAHS approved them both! The time and supplies to make this dream a reality was all donated- no expense to the shelter and they have received a lot of positive feedback. It took maybe 2-3 weeks to be completed but it will be adding so much fun and enthusiasm to the shelter for years to come. The best part? The animals featured in the artwork were based off of current pets in the shelter- WCAHS staff will always remember those pets who have been immortalized on the shelter walls.
Were you able to have your 26th anniversary celebration?
WCAHS was still able to host their 26th anniversary celebration with modifications and unfortunately not nearly as much success due to COVID-19. Each year they host an event called the Tree of Lights which includes an Open House. They have a live tree donated each year that is decorated along with the front of the shelter. Individuals can donate to get their name on the tree of lights- any size donation is welcome. The donation can be made in memory or in honor of a person or pet and people are able to view the tree whether the shelter was open or not- it was accessible to everyone. Instead of being able to host the Open House, have raffles and prizes, snacks and lunch, etc. WCAHS was only able to do the tree this year. An event that typically comes in at just under 10k brought in barely 2k this year.
How has COVID impacted your shelter?
WCAHS is currently only allowing staff in the shelter; no volunteers and visitors by appointment only. They are doing online applications and scheduling visits once the application has been approved. Adoptions haven’t really slowed down but Shelter Manager Ali misses the spontaneous adoptions that would happen on site when someone came in to visit a pet and fell in love. WACHS staff has had to take on a lot of new roles previously held by WCAHS volunteers. WCAHS staff are working their butts off and missing their volunteer crew. Fundraising has also been impacted. For the first time this year WCAHS did a calendar fundraiser that was spearheaded by Vice President of the Board of Directors, Abby Johnson. WCAHS was able to raise approximately 3k from voting and submissions to the calendar. They are currently in the process of selling their finished product and of the 150 ordered they have about 20 or so left, selling for $15.00 each. They do plan to bring the calendars back next year as well. In addition to not being able to have their 26th anniversary celebration they were also unable to hold their annual bowling tournament or Halloween parade. One thing Ali was able to tout was that she doesn’t have staffing issues; her staff, though small, has been flexible and awesome. WCAHS as many other shelters felt the pain of 2020.
Are there any programs or initiatives you are currently offering that you are really proud of? What can you tell me about that program/initiative?
WCAHS has an after school program partnership with their local middle and elementary school in which students are able to come in and clean litter boxes, sweep, check food and waters, re-feed shelter pets and more. The students get to learn about pet ownership and responsibility. This program has been put on hold due to COVID-19 but Shelter Manager Ali really enjoys this program and the adoptions that happen because of it; the kids go home and tell their parents about a pet they met and the next thing you know the parents are calling the shelter and it’s all over but signing the adoption contract! Ali says that seeing the kids and hearing all of the questions they ask and what they tell you about their own pets at home is very rewarding and fun. The school handles registration and there are limited spots available. When the program was running the kids were coming two days per week.
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
Shelter Manager Ali is really looking forward to getting her volunteers back. She is hoping they can really buckle down and come up with new, creative fundraising activities to offer. No one knew we would be finding ourselves in this situation and now there’s a new normal to adjust to. Ali is looking forward to new ideas and opening back up more to the community, as well as community interaction and making sure the shelter is a safe place to come.
What would you say your shelter struggles with the most?
Shelter Manager Ali feels that she struggles most with the task of finding fosters that are willing to take on the shelter’s sick animals or pregnant moms. She has a steadfast crew of loyal fosters who help without any questions asked but during kitten season it is hard to find a place for pregnant cats, which means kittens end up being born in the shelter. WCAHS has limited isolation space so it can be a struggle with URI and trying to nurse the fragile back to health. Ali wishes her foster base was a lot bigger.
What benefits have you found from your shelter’s WFHS membership?
Ali hasn’t done the in-person events or conference and hasn’t attended any webinars. She feels that it’s hard to get away; the shelter is so small and it’s hard to find the time. The days are going by so fast, especially without volunteers in the shelter and such a limited staff.