by Dennis Dalman
Not to be outdone by tall people and their shovels, a black-and-white pooch named Roger dug in the dirt at the Nov. 7 groundbreaking for the Tri-County Humane Society.
The crowd that gathered at the event applauded, cheered and chuckled as Roger, spurning the use of a golden shovel, used his front paws to dig, dig, dig in the dirt as if a bone were buried there. Afterwards, it was time for the tall people with their long shovels to overturn spades full of dirt.
Roger, incidentally, is an American Staffordshire terrier mix and is eligible for adoption at the humane society’ animal shelter.
Other dignitaries at the groundbreaking – besides Roger – include Tri-County Humane Society Director Vicki Davis, who gave a welcome speech; humane-society board chair Cheryl Ley; its director of philanthropy, Tauna Quimby; Ryan Cross of BCI Construction of St. Cloud (the facility’s builder); Murray Mack and Dean Stienessen of St. Cloud-based HMA Architects (the new building’s designers); and John Herges of Falcon National Bank (St. Cloud) from which the humane society is borrowing some of the money for the project’s start-up.
Of the total project cost of $3.5 million, the TCHS is hoping to raise $1 million more through fundraisers and contributions from businesses, service organization and individuals. Pledges to be given over a five-year period are welcome.
The long-anticipated groundbreaking will eventually result in a brand-new $3.5-million facility expected to open next summer. It will be twice the size of the current building just to the east of the new site at 735 Eighth St. NE. in St. Cloud just west of Hwy. 10. The current facility, constructed several decades ago, has long been overcrowded for animals and staff as the humane society services became more and more successful for animal lovers throughout Central Minnesota.
The TCHS shelters and adopts out or fosters out more than 3,000 animals annually, mostly cats and dogs. The adoption rate – currently at 96 percent — is considered extraordinary for a humane society.
People can learn more about the new building, including a fly-over video of the architect’s design, at www.happinesshappensher.org
Anyone who would like to donate to the building fun can visit the TCHS website at www.tricountyhumanesociety.org and hit the “Donate” button. Or people can send check donations to TCHS, 735 Eighth St. NE., St. Cloud, MN 556304.