By Susan Spisak
Founded in 1978 and declared an official 501(c)3 non-profit in 1984, Skowhegan’s no-kill Somerset Humane Society (SHS) serves 27 towns and 82 unorganized townships. SHS is funded almost entirely by donations from the public and their town contracts.
Bonnie Brooks, Operations Director at SHS said the number of dogs coming to them are more than the norm. “It was something that people predicated would happen,” she said. Many folks adopted dogs because of the pandemic and work-from-home mandates, but it was a trend that didn’t last. She said by the summer of 2021, pets were being relinquished.
Financial-related reasons account for many of those relinquishments. Some have experienced a loss of income and couldn’t afford their pet anymore. Or they’d lost their home and have been forced to move into a non-dog-friendly rental. Others headed back to their brick-and-mortar workplace and didn’t want to leave the pet alone.
Since SHS is a small shelter, they do not transport pets in. They have 12 dog kennels and always leave a few open for strays. For their senior canines, SHS utilizes and is grateful to Old Dogs, New Digs Rescue who takes most under their wing. Bonnie said she hopes to expand a dog-fostering program, and she’d love to find a savvy foster home for Princess. This Terrier/Pittie mix is energetic, likes plenty of exercise, and is fun. She does need schooling on basic obedience and manners. (See her pretty face and more details in DEDN’s “adoptables” section.)
SHS is dedicated to finding the perfect home for all their animals. Because of this, their process starts with a pre-adoption application. Expect a vet check if you have a current animal, and a call will be made to your landlord if you're a renter. Once approved, they will match your family, lifestyle, and current pet to the dog who will blend in best. Adoption rates run from $100 to $300.
SHS has a “win-win” Annual Shoe Drive Fundraiser. They collect new and gently worn shoes and sneakers. Once they reach their goal of 2500 pairs of shoes, Funds2Orgs picks them up and ships them off to 3rd world countries. Once there, micro-entrepreneurs resell them to provide for their families. This annual fundraiser nets SHS $1,200 to $1,800 each year. If you’re interested in collecting shoes and holding a “mini” shoe drive in your neighborhood, school, or at your business, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at number below for more information.
Monetary donations, animal sponsorships, and tangible items are needed, see shsanimalshelter.com/animal-shelter-donations/) For their Amazon “Wish List,” amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1H79LBSJ177M9?ref_=wl_share.
Volunteers who can commit to a regular schedule and work as part of the team are welcomed. To see their pets and for the application, visit shsanimalshelter.com. Hours are Monday through Wednesday, appointment only, call (207) 474-6493. Stop by SHS at 123 Middle Rd., Skowhegan, on Thursday from 1 pm to 4 pm, or Friday and Saturday from 1 pm to 5 pm.