The “dog days of summer” are here, and so in honor of our four-legged friends, we’re featuring some of our local animal shelters. This week’s Friday Focus takes us to Charles County, where the Humane Society has worked to make a difference in the lives of our furry friends and their families since 1978. From providing vaccines and training classes to adoption services, the Society has helped countless animals live happier, better lives and even find their “forever homes”.
This week, the Society’s Fundraising and Volunteer Manager, Leigha Messick, shared her thoughts on the organization’s work, the challenges they face and those special moments that make all of their hard work worth it.
Q: Tell us about your organization. Who do you serve?
A: It is the mission of the Humane Society of Charles County to provide shelter and care for homeless, injured and neglected animals through adoption, fostering, community partnerships, education and affordable spay-neuter and vaccine services. The vision of the Humane Society of Charles County is to create a community where animals are cherished and no longer need us for protection and shelter.
In upholding the vision and mission of the Humane Society of Charles County we will all work with these values: to always be compassionate and caring; to foster respect and understanding of all life; to protect, rescue, adopt and care for animals; to create partnerships for animal welfare; and to educate the community on animal welfare issues.
Q: What is your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: It’s hard to pick just one. Seeing the smiles of families reunited with their pets; watching an animal change from being frightened to being loving; watching an animal we’ve had for months finally leave to start a new life with its forever family. Knowing we are able to give hope to families who just need a little time or a little help to be able to keep their cherished animal brings so much joy to us. The happy stories keep us going.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: Never knowing what will happen each day. It’s a roller coaster of emotions here—one minute we are elated to see an animal find a happy ending, just to have another pet brought in. One of the biggest misconceptions is that the animals at the shelter have something wrong with them—that is not the case. Usually when they are brought in, we are the last option. Most owners are devastated to be giving up their loved one, and we do everything we can to keep them safe and find them loving homes.
Q: How can people really help/get involved?
A: Volunteer, donate at www.humanesocietycc.org/Donate, spread the word about these amazing animals! Just the simple act of talking about the animals in our shelter to your friends or sharing a Facebook post can save a life.
Q: Are there any upcoming events?
A: Our “Mutt Madness at the Fairgrounds” event will be held on October 11, 2015 from 10:00 – 4:00pm. This year marks the 15th year that the Humane Society of Charles County will hold an outdoor event in the fall geared towards our pets. This year’s event will be our largest ever with new games, new contests, multiple food vendors, crafters and exhibitors. Please help make this year a memorable one and attend with your family, both human and animal!