Every dog has its day, and thanks to the Humane Society of the United States, every humane shelter, pound, and animal control and rescue group now gets its week.
Next month, Nov. 6-12, we're set to celebrate National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week at the Lawrence Humane Society.
We have a lot to be proud of at our shelter. Because we have the best director and staff around, we have grown in nine years to become the go-to shelter in the state. Any time a Kansas community erects a new shelter or an animals rights group needs direction with its plans, they dial our number and ask for our help and advice because we have been so successful at doing what we do.
Back in 1951, our community's shelter began as little more than a trailer with an add-on that housed about eight dogs.
Today, we are a 15,000-square-foot facility with two buildings and enough kennels to house and care for nearly 1,000 animals at a time.
Our budget, which includes medicines, emergency treatment, vaccines, food, litter and a host of other supplies, now stands at about $650,000 per year. Finances this year have been stretched like a rubber band ready to snap because of the increased number of animals we've received and the tragic surge in the number of cruelty and neglect cases we've addressed.
The services that the shelter provides to our community seem endless. Thanks to our devoted staff, very few loose dogs and feral cats are running through our neighborhoods.
The shelter sees to it that adopted animals have been or will be properly spayed or neutered to keep down the numbers of unwanted domestic pets born each year.
Children receive instruction from us in their schools about how to properly care for pets, and they tour our facilities to learn about the importance of humane treatment of all living things.
We work to bring animal abusers to the attention of the proper authorities, to stop their cruel and illegal activities.
We take some of our animals to nursing homes to visit with the elderly and infirm who could use a loving purr or a friendly nuzzle to brighten their days.
We unite lost animals with their owners, and we help match up empty homes with just the right size, shape and temperament of pet to fill them with unconditional love.
If you'd like to help us celebrate our special week, we're having an open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 10 at the shelter, 1805 E. 19th St. Come meet our staff, volunteers, board members and especially all the animals we have available for adoption who would like to show off their personalities.
If you can't come then, plan to visit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 13 during our annual Animal Fair at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds. We'll have a bake sale, vets, trainers and all sorts of animal-related businesses on hand to help us celebrate our four-legged friends and birds, too. If you bring an item from our wish list to donate, you're eligible to win a prize in one of many drawings. It's one more way to show the shelter how much you appreciate its services to the community.