Long term stability aim for the humane society 0
By Lorne Stelmach
Building long term stability and attracting more volunteers continue to be key challenges for the Pembina Valley Humane Society.
It can sometimes seem like a daunting task given the need, but new president Cindy Kalansky - like all the other volunteers - glady takes it on with dedication.
That is because although it can be disheartening that there is such a need for a humane society, that is also what drives them.
"The demand is obviously there. I think when we first put the building together ... we knew the need was there but in the back of your mind you're always hoping 'prove us right ... that you need to have us there'.
"I think if you look at other humane societies ... it's very rare that they will operate at less than capacity. There's a lot more animals out there that need our help. We just don't have the volunteer base to do it, and the capacity to do more."
The humane society here has grown astronomically over the past five years since its inception - going from a small rented warehouse space with a few animals to its own building - but one that is at capacity with 20 to 25 dogs and up to 40 cats at any one time.
And they have animals come from a wide region - as far west as near Brandon to near the Ontario border. And people also come from all over southern Manitoba to adopt animals as well.
Kalansky said it is all reaffirming that what they are doing is a good thing and that their facility and services are needed.
In order to keep the shelter and their programs viable, she said they work really hard to keep things in proper scope and to be financially responsible.
"We operate largely on donations so we're always careful how we manage our money and how we spend our money," said Kalansky, adding that their fundraising efforts are important.
"We also want to be forward looking in the sense of how can we keep improving what we do and how we do it for the best outcome for as many animals as possible."
As well, she said they are still lobbying for municipal support for operating funds with plans to approach municipalities again by the end of the year before they go into their budget planning for 2013.
Some are being a harder sell than others, she said, but they also realize municipalities have many other financial priorities to balance as well.
"Some communities are more receptive than others to provide support," said Kalansky.
"Our base is in Morden but our reach is southern Manitoba wide," she added. "We keep very careful statistics of where our animals come from and where adopters come from ... to prove to them that there's animals in their community that we are helping."
Kalansky said they society is relatively stable financially right now, but it is an ongoing challenge - making fundraising events like their upcoming Raise The Woof comedy night fundraiser in September all the more vital to their operations.
And one of the biggest most immediate needs is for more volunteers.
"We run 21 shifts a week ... three shifts a day. Realistically, you can't expect the same core of 15 or 20 people to do every shift," she said.
"So we do need a fairly broad base of volunteers. We've really been appealing for help to round out these shifts.
"It's not glamorous work ... but it's very necessary work," she added. "The animals are well cared for and healthy and ready to go if someone's interested in them."
The shelter also draws on other sources of support - ranging from food sponsorship from Nutrisource to having a good working relationship with the local veterniary clinic.
"We're all pretty passionate about these animals," said Kalansky.
And the ultimate reward is the success stories of animals that have been adopted and are in a good home. They like to share these happy tales online including on their Facebook page.
"We love hearing from people who have adopted. It could be I was just cleaning kennels for half an hour but this makes it worthwhile."