If you have landed in this tiny corner of the Internet, you clearly understand how the companionship of animals improves an individual’s quality of life, which, in turn, culminates in a community of happier people. When Asheville Humane Society pops into your consciousness, you might think, “They rescue dogs and cats. Cool.” And certainly Asheville Humane Society excels at it. The national average is 30% for lost dog recovery and 1-2% for lost cat recovery; Asheville Humane Society can boast a 45-50% recovery rate for dogs and a 6% recovery rate for cats. Those rates are significant. However, Asheville Humane Society does so much more. Yes, they do amazing things for the lost, sick, abandoned animals of Asheville, but they do just as much for animal-loving people.
One of Asheville Humane Society’s goals is to do everything possible to keep pets with their humans. The surrender process at Asheville Humane Society takes two weeks, during which they try to remedy the underlying problem, which prompted a pet owner to consider surrender in the first place. Asheville Humane Society will send animal behaviorists to a pet’s home to try to correct any problematic behaviors. If cost of food is an issue for the pet owner, Asheville Humane Society will even provide food vouchers to help alleviate the financial burden. Asheville Humane Society even helps feed 6,500 publicly-owned dogs and 6,200 publicly-owned cats. They also supply fifteen human food pantries with free pet food for pets of the local homeless population.
Asheville has a substantial homeless population, and Asheville Humane Society seeks to serve them as well. Asheville Humane Society participates in the Anne Marie Goodman program, named after a homeless woman who was turned away from a homeless shelter in the middle of winter, because she would not leave behind her two pet dogs, which were not allowed admittance. She chose to sleep outside instead and the three of them did not make it to see morning. This program is dedicated to her and seeks to prevent such a tragedy from happening to others who have fallen on difficult circumstances and refuse to leave their best pals behind. Asheville Human Society is committed to helping displaced persons by housing and caring for such people’s pets for up to 30 days. The reasons could range from sudden hospitalization or entrance into a nursing home to incarceration or any other major disruption in one’s life. The bottom-line is that Asheville Humane Society will buy time for those experiencing tumult and transition, so that they can figure out how to proceed with the care of their much-loved pets.
Another way that Asheville Humane Society contributes to the community is through the medical services they offer. There is a medical facility right next door, which is part of Buncombe County Animal Services, but that works directly with Asheville Humane Society. As part of their mission, Asheville Humane Society rarely euthanizes, except in cases of extreme medical distress and excessive aggression that renders the animal un-adoptable. The Lily Grace Fund, established in 2008, helps facilitate the rehabilitation of animals. This can include any number of services such as dental procedures, spay/neuter surgery, amputation, and other emergency services. The medical facility is also staffed, to a great extent, by students in A-B Tech Community College’s animal care program. The medical facility tends to be busy, so students have the opportunity to learn about and observe a range of surgical procedures. This means that when these students graduate and are employed within our community, they will have a considerable collection of experiences that will make them more adept at healing and caring for our pets. Every being that is involved reaps the benefits of this setup.
To truly understand Asheville Humane Society’s commitment to the community, it is also important to consider their location. They work in a neighborhood where residents may be hindered by limited means, transportation challenges and language barriers. They have removed some of the obstacles that might discourage or prevent local residents from easily acquiring needed animal care. The facility employs forty full-time staff members, and the rest of the labor is divided amongst 800 volunteers, who are each asked to commit to a minimum of ten hours of service per year. This startling amount of kind souls willing to devote their free time to help animals and those animals’ humans allow the organization to pour money towards animal care rather than staffing the facility.
Asheville Humane Society is entirely funded by grants and public donations, which is part of the reason Devoted Human has chosen to highlight all of the wonderful work they do in the Asheville community. By buying a wonderful vessel for your kitty to drink from or a beautiful handmade collar to adorn your dog’s neck, you can help support the cycle of care, which Asheville Humane Society maintains in our community.