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Donated van adds to rescue’s efforts

CARIBOU, Maine — Thanks to a southern Maine foundation, Caribou’s Halfway Home Pet Rescue now has more capacity to tend to the area’s homeless felines.

The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, based in Freeport, donated $33,800 in late 2017 for the rescue to purchase a vehicle, which is now being put to good use, HHPR Executive Director Norma Milton reported Feb. 18.

The new 2017 Dodge Ram Promaster cargo van has enough capacity for staff to ferry supplies from their new warehouse, tend to animals and deliver food for HHPR’s “pet meals on wheels” program.

The grant, Milton said, is enough to pay for the van, buy new studded snow tires if needed, and pay registration fees and insurance.  

“We will be using this for the food truck day, then food truck deliveries, the feral equipment and trapping, some transport of cats to the southern shelters as well as picking up furniture and other large items being donated to the Second Chance Thrift Store,” Milton said via an email.

According to its website, the Sewall Foundation “supports work in Maine to improve the well-being of people, animals and the environment while fostering relationships that strive for social equity and community resilience.”

“We have been very, very blessed this year with all of our property problems being resolved by caring people,” she added. “We also need to give deep appreciation to Doug Morrell, Dean and Donna Staples, Joel Violette and Jeff Baker for their great donations to the warehouse.”

Morrell sold the former Catholic Charities Maine warehouse to Milton for $1, and Staples, Violette and Baker donated labor and materials to refurbish the building. The Maine Community Foundation chipped in with a donation of $8,700 for building materials and utilities.

“We could not do all that we do if it wasn’t for our amazing volunteers.  We have now saved, spayed and neutered, and cared for seriously injured or ill cats totaling 2,503 in number,” Milton said. “This is a huge accomplishment for any size pet rescue with paid employees, but for a small all-volunteer pet rescue it is nothing short of a miracle.”

Milton reported another piece of good news: The rescue successfully passed a two-hour state humane inspection on Friday, Feb. 16, and said the inspector was “overwhelmed” to see the proof of the work done by HHPR and its volunteers.

“I am so proud of our work and the number of people who work as a great team to make it all come together,” she added. “We are so blessed and the animals are so fortunate.”

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