~ The Following was published in the Floyd Press on June 12, 2008
Floyd County’s chapter of the Humane Society was founded in 1999 by the late Aletha Pearson. An earlier version of the chapter existed during the 80’s but was short lived. In the nine years that the current chapter has been active, the group has accomplished much, heightening community awareness of responsible ownership of pets, promoting the neutering/spaying of pets, and facilitating adoptions of homeless cats and dogs.
At the Society’s annual Stand up for Strays event, held at the Cross Creek Complex this past Saturday, Michele Harvell, a longtime Humane Society member, explained that the event is a fundraiser that also serves as community outreach.
Under the shade of the adoption tent, where four dogs needing homes were in cages, Harvell explained how the group takes animals from the pound and places them in foster homes until they can find adoptive families.
The all volunteer, donation supported group, which has about fifteen active members, meets at the New River Community Action Center at 6:30 P.M. on the second and forth Tuesday of each month. “We get great support from the community – cat food, dog food, and other donations,” Harvell said. She and her daughter Sarah brought two of their dogs from home. One, a dwarf dachshund named Anna was rescued by the Harvells when it was discovered that the dog was about to be dumped.
Sunny Bernardine, who was dubbed by Aletha Pearson as a Humane Society “life time member,” currently has four personal dogs and four fosters, she said. Two of her foster dogs, a white Brittany mix and a Catahoula, were at the event looking for adoption prospects. When Bernardine was asked if she had help caring for so many dogs, she joked, “I need help!” The Humane Society has built a total of four roofed kennels on Bernardine’s property.
Music played as event goers browsed through the yard sale tent or enjoyed a hot dog. Some blew bubbles at the Games Tent. A dog was being washed in a tub of flea and tick dip. Darcie Luster, the current Humane Society president, was spritzing water on young kittens that were wilting in the 90 degree heat.
Two Girl Scout volunteers, Denise Schmeitzel and Hannah Ballinger, ran a raffle booth. They were happy to rattle off possible prizes to passersby. Prizes included a Floyd Fest ticket, A Hokie game ticket, and some original art. When Ballinger was asked if she was a Human Society member, she smiled and said, “I’m going to be when I grow up.” ~ Colleen Redman
Post Notes: Michele Harvell is pictured in the first photo, petting Sunny Bernardine's foster dogs who are in need of a permanent home. For more information on the Humane Society, you can visit their website HERE.
~ This entry was originally posted on Loose Leaf Notes on June 16, 2008.