Pet Talk – week of January 17, 2018

After years of trying to teach my dog just to “sit pretty,” last night he learned to “heel” in ten seconds.

When the thousand tons of snow and ice came cascading off the metal roof, Scruffy landed in my lap, shaking and panting, and has “heeled” ever since. He has not left my side, he slept on my pillow, wrapped around my head, if I got up in the middle of the night he followed me, literally touching me with his body as he walked beside me. I wonder how long that will last.

If you have a pet you adore, or if you just plain love animals, and you feel pity and compassion for animals who become lost in a snowstorm or stranded in the wilderness or abandoned by uncaring owners, and would like to help them be safe and have a better life, please consider joining the efforts of your local rescue.

Houlton Humane Society meets the third Tuesday of the month, at the shelter, at 5:30 p.m. All meetings are public and we welcome visitors, volunteers, prospective board members, anybody who has a heart for the animals.

Right now the shelter is working on several projects, as well as just the day to day immense task of caring for over 60 animals who need to be rehomed. When you attend a board meeting, you get to hear a shelter report, and see what has come in, what’s been adopted, what issues and challenges face the staff. When you attend a board meeting, you review the financial report and discuss various ways to increase revenue to cover the massive bills involved in caring for this many animals.

If you have a cat, you know that your weekly budget is impacted by the purchase of food, litter, vet bills and treats. You know that at any time you could be making a very expensive trip to have a cat’s tooth pulled or a rabies shot or just a wellness check. You know the time you spend cleaning up hairballs and litter boxes. Multiply this times 60 and you will understand the daily routine and the expenses that any shelter or rescue faces.

At this time we are exploring various ways to raise additional funds. With the state increasing minimum wage to $10 per hour as of Jan. 1, costs to run the shelter continue to increase. We need to find ways to cover those costs. The staff has done an amazing job when it comes to controlling other costs, changing to pellets instead of litter, recycling to reduce the bill for trash removal, turning off lights when a room is not in use, using as many volunteers as we can find to augment the paid staff and reduce payroll. It all helps but then when the oil bill comes, or the insurance bill, or the workers comp bill, there is a scramble to find the funds to pay these.

If you have any ideas for a fundraiser or would like to spearhead one, perhaps run your own bottle drive and donate the proceeds, or make some homemade dog biscuits that we can sell, or if you sew, perhaps sew some dog or cat beds we could sell — every idea is valuable and every dollar helps. Your fundraiser doesn’t have to be a million dollar idea — even $10 goes a long way to support the efforts of this organization and help care for the animals in our charge.

You have been our source of inspiration for over 60 years and we thank you for your support and encouragement. Have a great week!

The Houlton Humane Society is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located on 263 Callaghan Road, Houlton, ME. Officials can be reached at 532-2862 or via email at

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