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I went to the Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) in Michigan last night to get a few photos for an article on the decision by the Washtenaw County Commission to slash payment for their contract with HSHV in half. When I got there, I was given a tour of the facility by the Executive Director, Tanya Hilgendorf. It was impressive, to say the least, and not really what I expected based on my experience with other humane societies.
If you live in Washtenaw County and haven’t been to see their new facility, you really need to check it out, even if you are not planning to adopt. This is our humane society, doing a hard job and doing it better than any other humane society of its size in all of Michigan. In fact they just won the Outstanding Shelter Award for Michigan large open shelters with a 80.59 percent save rate.
I may not have been the best photographer to be sent out on this assignment because all I really wanted to do was cuddle with the animals but, somehow, I managed to snap a few shots of the facility and some of the animals. Here are a few of them.
Here is the link to the A2Politico article accompanying this. At the bottom of this blog entry is a quote from the article by manager of the Humane Society’s shelter, Todd St. Clair. It’s powerful stuff and it only reiterates my point about this problem, what the HVHS does is HARD and no one wants to deal with it so when someone steps up and does it as a service to the community, and they do it well, the least we can do is help support them.
Here is a quote from Todd St. Clair, manager of the Humane Society’s shelter:
In addition to the stress and grief that comes from regular euthanasia, our people are daily witnesses of trauma—whether it a lab covered in cigarette burns or a kitten with her tail cut off. Brain science now tells us that there are real and lasting effects similar to PTSD to being a caretaker of the victims of abuse—especially innocent victims who rely on us for protection.
One of my staff said to me the other day, “It is a good day when I don’t go home and cry.” This community benefits from having HSHV provide this work because we have animal lovers who put their own emotional health on the line, to do the hard work and to make sure it is done with compassion.
The other day I put down a beautiful husky brought in from a hoarder case with 39 other animals that lived locked in a small bedroom for three months on 6 inches of feces that eventually became the floor. The husky was ruined by his neglect and after careful assessment, it was decided that he could not be safely adopted out. But this is a dog that we spent time with. We gave treatment to. We gave comfort to. We fed. We walked. His fate was not his fault. And, we, the animal lovers at HSHV put him to death… for you. And the 6 foot 4 male staff person who helped me carry him to the freezer cried to himself as he cleaned out his empty kennel.