by Dennis Dalman
The ongoing virus crisis affects just about every human being on the planet, but it is also affecting animals and the people who care so much about them.
Locally, at the Tri-County Humane Society, the good news is that – despite any gloom and doom – a “fair number” of people are still adopting animals, according to Tauna Quimby, manager of fund development for TCHS.
The not-so-good news, she added, is the stresses and strains on society at large have a ricochet effect on the workers and the animals at the TCHS headquarters in east St. Cloud.
Quimby noted the current concerns:
• No surgeries can be performed in the TCHS surgical building.
• Normally, there are 200 volunteers per month who help part time at the shelter, doing tasks that range from cleaning cages and socializing the animals to paperwork and doing laundry. But after the coronavirus set off worldwide and local alarms and calls for social distancing, the TCHS management told volunteers not to work at the shelter if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable doing so. As a result, only a handful of volunteers now help out.
Because of the lack of help at the shelter, animals are sent to fostering individuals and families, and thus there is a deep need for more people willing to do some foster care, Quimby noted. About 200 people are currently foster “parents” in Central Minnesota and beyond for TCHS, Quimby said. Fostering is crucial because in the spring season, the organization typically receives so many new animals, including litters of kittens and puppies, Quimby added. There were 700 baby animals (kittens, puppies) at the shelter last spring.
Two major spring fundraisers for TCHS are in jeopardy – the Wine, Kibbles and Bits event at the College of St. Benedict and a Spaghetti Dinner event, both taking place in March and April. But this year, they have been delayed and might even have to be canceled. That is not good news since the Wine, Kibbles and Bits each year raises about $80,000 for the TCHS’s work.
“We are hoping to schedule them in June if possible,” Quimby said.
On the bright side, the new TCHS building, just to the west of the current one, is still under construction. The $3.5-million facility, 14,000 square feet, will open in late fall this year, and fundraising to pay its total cost continues.
Also a bright note is the TCHS remains open from noon to 5 p.m. all week, with social distancing restrictions.
The best way to help TCHS for all of its current needs is to donate money or items. Items needed on an ongoing basis are Clorox wipes, hand sanitizers, liquid soap, paper towels and – as always – lots of bags of kitty litter (preferably the cheaper, non-clumping types). There is a big bin outside the front of the TCHS building into which such items can be placed so those who donate don’t have to violate social distancing.
Those who want to foster animals can do so by applying online. And those who want to donate money or other services can also do so online. To find out more and more ways of how to help out, google Tri-County Humane Society, St. Cloud MN.
Another animal-care shelter experiencing the same stresses and strains as the TCHS is Ruff Start Rescue, based in Princeton, which serves the entire Central Minnesota area. To find out how to help that organization, go to email@example.com.