Over $10,000 was raised for the shelter animals at the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley during its fundraiser event Wednesday afternoon.
The shelter was nominated and was selected to be a part of the Jordan’s Way’s tour which involves a social media livestream from the shelter to show off the animals and talk with local community members, city and county officials about the shelter to promote adoptions and donations.
Jordan’s Way is a nonprofit created in the memory of a special dog, Jordan, that made a lasting impact on founder and CEO Kris Rotonda of Florida.
“Immediately catching his eye and pulling at his heartstrings, Jordan was quickly adopted by Kris. In their 11 years together, Kris took Jordan everywhere he went. Sadly, in 2018, Jordan passed away from cancer,” the Jordan’s Way website said. “After spending 72 hours in a dog cage to live like a shelter dog to raise awareness, Kris decided to take his show on the road and started the 50 State tour, where he travels to shelters across the country raising money and awareness.”
Marietta Mayor Josh Schlicher, Washington County commissioners, members of law enforcement and members of the community visited the shelter Wednesday to hear about its mission and need for funds and volunteers.
“We’ve invited local civic government and business leaders to come out to the shelter for fundraising. It’s kind of a fun atmosphere,” said Leight Murray, HSOV board president.
All of the money raised Wednesday will go toward day-to-day operations including the ever-increasing veterinary costs for the animals.
“We’re in a little bit of a crisis with veterinary costs. The shelter population was very high, especially in January and February. A lot of those animals were brought in that needed fairly immediate medical attention so our veterinary costs, especially in January, were very high,” Murray said. “I think we were in that range of $7,000-8,000 each month.”
Several additions have come to the shelter in recent months and years that were possible because of local donations, whether they be monetary, volunteer hours or services provided.
A commercial grade dishwasher and washer and dryer were brought to the shelter and Murray said those appliances have saved lots of money and time.
An upcoming project is the installation of fiberglass acoustic panels which will be placed in the dog kennel area to help reduce the barking noise.
Murray said grants from the Parkersburg and Marietta Community Foundations and the Marietta Rotary Club went toward the purchase of $15,000 worth of panels. He said the panels will hopefully be installed within the next four to six weeks.
Volunteer Shelly Galland said high shelter numbers are a widespread problem but the hope is for more people to get out to adopt as the weather gets warmer.
“It’s not just us, it’s all over the country, that’s the sad part. It seems like people adopted dogs when COVID first started and then they either just let them loose or they decide they can’t have them anymore because (they’ve) got to go back to work, so they bring them here,” she said.
Shelter employees and volunteers encourage people to meet the dogs out in the play yard to gain a sense of their personality outside of the cage.
“You get them out of here and they decompress. In here, it’s a different story,” volunteer Beth Underwood said.
Volunteers and employees also help with meet and greets to see if a dog will get along with the other dog(s) in the household. Another way they test for compatibility is to take the dogs on a pack walk to see if they are able to walk side-by-side.
“That’s a good way to find out because dogs don’t like to be followed. And if they feel like they’re being followed, they might get scared or defensive,” Galland said.
Murray said the shelter currently houses about 40 dogs and around 40 cats.
He encourages people to volunteer and several options are available to accommodate any schedule.
“People can volunteer in any number of ways. Once you complete the safety training, you’re free to come up and walk dogs around the beautiful county farm any day that the shelter is open, during normal business hours,” Murray said. “People who prefer cats are free to come in and basically cuddle or care for the cats (and give them) one-on-one time.”
Shelter officials said $5,014 was raised on Facebook and $4,335 came from private donations.
The goal is to reach $15,000 and this particular fundraiser will be open for another week. To donate or find more information about the shelter and its animals, check out the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley Facebook page or call (740) 373-5959.
Candice Black can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.