by Cathy Davis
Three standing ovations, I don’t think I have ever seen that before, but this was a magical night and if you missed it, you missed a very special, moving, and incredibly talented performance. Many thanks to concert pianist Chuck Loucka for performing for the Houlton Humane Society this past Saturday evening. This was a benefit concert to raise money for the animal shelter, followed by a wonderful dessert reception.
For those of you who don’t know Chuck, he has a degree in music composition, served in the United States Navy and toured all over the country with the Atlantic Fleet Band. He is a professional music teacher and currently owns the Katahdin Lodge on Route 11, along with his lovely wife Chris and daughter and son-in-law Cara and Jonathan Maples.
It takes months to prepare for a concert of this nature. Those who attended noticed right away that Chuck played for an hour with no music – everything is memorized and possibly some of it improvised, but it takes months of practice and practice to be able to perform that much music perfectly. There is also the keyboard set up, working with the sound man ahead of time, so several trips to Houlton from Moro were involved before the concert.
I can’t begin to tell you how grateful we are to have friends like this, who will offer their time and talents to help the animals. Many thanks to Chuck and his entire family, and to the Houlton Wesleyan Church, Pastor Wayne, Pastor Dave and a special thank you to Steve Bither on sound.
Shelter struggling financially
It takes $2,000 a week, every week, to keep the shelter going. This pays staff, veterinary bills, oil (and with the price of oil going up, I don’t know how we are ever going to keep up with these bills), electric, mortgage, insurance, payroll taxes, trash removal, it pays for cat litter and shipping costs of pet food and supplies.
While we do receive some town financial assistance, we are not due another payment until March, but we have only enough funds to get us through the end of December.
Some of you give often and give much, and we are forever in your debt. If you are animal lovers your wallet is often empty, but your hearts are always full. You know the feeling of unconditional love, you know the passion of saving just “one more” life, and then just one more. Your home is likely full of animals that you have adopted or rescued. Your bank account is running on empty because you give even when you can’t afford to. I can’t tell you how many people send us small monthly checks, sometimes just $5, but it’s all they can give, and I know that this $5 represents as much as $1,000 to others.
Some of you have never given before and wonder why you should, wonder what good your money does, or where it goes. So for those of you who really love animals, would like to give, but aren’t “quite sure”, I would invite you to check out the animals on our website. You will need to type in www.houltonhumanesociety.org right now to get there, as the search engines are still bringing up old addresses us, or you can find us on Facebook. Look at the animals available for adoption, read their stories – this is what it’s all about, this is why we continue.
It would be a whole lot easier to just say the heck with it. After 60 years of struggle, after board members hosting yard sale after bake sale after luncheon after concert after box lunch after, well, you get my drift, it would just be easier to say look, let’s retire, let’s go home, let’s just put the building up for sale and walk away. It would be easier to not have to stay awake nights wondering where we’re going to get the money to pay the staff, it would be easier to just walk away when times get tough.
It’s not a matter of the game getting a little rough so I’m going to take my ball and go home. It’s not a matter of it being too much work and not worth it. It’s not a matter of whether we please people when we have to ask for financial assistance. If it was, I’d lock the doors tomorrow.
It’s about Candy, and Brutus, and Scruffy, and Shannon, and Holly and Boo and Ellie and all those who have been rescued and all those who need to be rescued. It’s about the animals. It’s the fact that there are hundreds of strays that need a safe haven until new homes can be found. My little Scruffy, running on the Front Ridge Road for a week before he was caught, brought to the Shelter, all skinny and dirty and flea infested. Nobody called looking for Scruffy, nobody cared that he was missing and nobody wanted this little dog.
This Christmas Scruffy has his own stocking, his own bed, his very own bowl full of food and a family who loves him. My Scruffy and all the other Scruffys out there, this is why we do this.
At this holiday season, please consider a gift to the Houlton Humane Society. Helps us get through one more week, one more month. Help us help all the Scruffys that need us. Thank you.
by Cathy Davis