Pet Talk

12 years ago

By Cathy Davis
    There is very little money available “out there” for animal shelters’ daily operational expenses. Shelters rely on their donors and friends, their town contracts if they are a town supported facility, bequests, and fund raisers.
    But there is quite a bit of money “out there” for shelter programs, such as spay/neuter programs. All you need is a vision, someone to write a grant application, and a foundation to send it to. Not too long ago we received a tip (thank you Linda!) that the Belvedere Foundation was accepting grant applications for animal related programs. Since our spay/neuter program was out of money, I applied for a $5,000 grant to help low income and elderly individuals in the southern Aroostook area with the cost of spaying or neutering their cats.
    We were pleasantly surprised when the foundation announced that the Shelter had been chosen to receive the full $5,000. If you are age 62 or over, or if you are low income, and if you have a cat that has not been altered, we will now be able to assist you with this cost.
    A very short and simple application is available for your completion, which we will mail you if you call the shelter at 532-2862. If you qualify, we will pay up to $75 for the cost of a female spay and up to $50 for the cost of a male neuter. That payment will be made directly to the veterinarian of your choice. You are given a voucher, you call for an appointment to have your pet altered, and you alert your vet that you have that voucher. At the time the surgery is performed, the vet will complete the voucher and mail it to Houlton Humane and they will be paid up to the amount allowed.
    You will be responsible for any amount over and above the $50 or $75 we can give. If you have more than one cat, you could be eligible for more than one voucher – this is not a “one cat, one house” kind of project. Our purpose is to spay and neuter as many cats in the area as we can.
    I’m sorry to say that the program does not extend to dogs. This grant was awarded based on the need in the area and we do not have an over-population problem with dogs, but we do with cats. There are still litters upon litters of cats being born for which there are just not enough homes. These cats then interbreed, become sick, transmit their illnesses throughout what quickly becomes a “colony” and what was once a cute little stray female becomes a huge problem for the kind soul who took her in.
    It is our goal to run out of money before the end of the year. There is nothing that would please me more than to spend it as fast as I can write checks. Because for every cat we spay or neuter, there will literally be thousands less cats in the future.
    There are shelters and rescues in Maine right now that are over flowing with cats. Every day another abandoned litter finds its way into the Houlton Humane Society Shelter. The cost of spaying and neutering has been a factor for some people. We want to help. Please call the shelter at 532-2862 and ask for an application.
    If you would like to support animal welfare work and have a great time in the process, please join us Oct. 6 at 3 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Houlton High School. Concert Pianist Chuck  Loucka will be our featured performer – if you’re heard him before I don’t have to tell you how good he is – if you’ve never heard him you don’t know what you’re missing. This is a free concert for all, AND you will have an opportunity to win door prizes if you attend, including a $100 gift certificate to the Elm Tree Diner. We will accept donations for the Shelter before and after the concert and there will be raffle tickets on sale. There will also be light refreshments after the concert.
    On Sunday, Oct. 7, join us at noon at the shelter for “Petoctober Fest” which will include a barbeque, petting zoo, adopt-a-thon, multiple surprises and lots of fun. This is a great fall weekend to just set aside for fun, good music, and a chance to help support our ongoing efforts on behalf of the animals.
    There will be a barbeque, antique car and truck cruise in, petting zoo, major deals on adoptions, bobbing for apples and hay scramble and piñata for kids, bake sale, cotton candy, popcorn, nachos, hamburgers and hot dogs, chips, soda, apple cider and candy bars for sale, everything is just $1.