By Susan Spisak
Back in 2020, I talked to Tracy Sala, Executive Director of the private, independent 501(c)3 Pope Memorial Humane Society aka PMHS. She indicated they had many adoptions at the beginning of the pandemic – people were home and could bond with and enjoy a new pet. I wanted to see how PMHS was faring these days, so I chatted with Kasey Bielecki, their Marketing and Public Relations Manager.
She indicated adoptions have been steady the last few years. Last year, they adopted out 1,101 pets – 160 of those being dogs. And the good news is that pets aren’t being relinquished back as many nationwide shelters are experiencing. That’s thanks to PMHS’ efforts. “During the past couple of years, we’ve been trying to do everything on our end to help people keep their pets.” One of those programs is the Pet Pantry. They offer temporary pet food assistance to individuals and families in need. PMHS also supplies pet food as they can to local pantries.
PMHS relies on fosters, especially for senior dogs who may be jumpy with all the commotion in a shelter. Canines with behavioral problems will do better in a patient foster home, too. “Our staff does an amazing job for all the animals, but it’s still stressful for certain dogs.” Their goal is to make sure each dogs’ needs are met. (She said she knows DEDN is a dog paper, but did mention that in kitten season, fosters are invaluable. Last year they had upwards of 200 kittens.)
When asked if anything is new and exciting, Kasey answered quickly. “We’re working on a five-year plan to see how much more community focused we can become. How we can develop as a shelter.” The shelter already had a significant physical transformation thanks to a capital campaign and large donations. They were able to build a debt-free10,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility in 2016.
When we talked, she had just come from a fundraising meeting and was excited about an event being held in August. “It’s a big party,” she said of the 21+, human only celebration, “Barking Brew in the Barn” that will be held at Harmony Hill Farm in Warren. She said there will be a food truck, a S’mores bar, and local breweries will be on hand. (Watch their website link below for info). Kasey also shared that the Betty White Challenge in January “was insane” in a good way. It brought in over $14k in donations - they were surprised but very grateful for the community backing.
PMHS welcomes volunteers – they currently have about 170 but more are helpful. Crafters are needed to make the soft blankets that each animal goes home with. Call the shelter at number below for details. Consider donating to their Sherman Medical Fund, a matching gift fund. For more, popehumane.org/50000-matching-gift-launches-2022-pmhs-medical-fund-campaign/.
All dogs in their care are examined, vetted, spayed or neutered, receive preventatives, and are treated to a mini groom. To view all their adoptable animals, visit hskcme.org. For adoption and volunteer applications, check the website. They’re appointment only - call the shelter at 207-594-2200 to schedule a meet and greet at 25 Buttermilk Ln., Thomaston.