Fifty-five Years of Shelter
By Alisha Soeken
Bomber and Boo Boo, Dexter and Duchess are four of the hundreds of animals at the Humane Society of Utah waiting to be adopted.
For 55 years, Murray’s Humane Society has provided shelter to cats, dogs, rabbits and other unwanted animals. On Sept. 12 they celebrated those 55 years with a birthday party and invited the city. All day people enjoyed free birthday cake, snow cones, games, tours of the shelter and even a one-day $55 adoption special for all dogs.
Jennifer and Johnny Evans took advantage of that adoption special. “We came today to adopt Ali,” Jennifer said as she held a shivering little Chihuahua in her arms. “I’m a truck driver and would like a companion.” Johnny added, chuckling. “That is, if I can get her away from Jennifer.”
This year the Humane Society of Utah became the number one charity among all non-profit organizations in Utah, earning $41,161. That money came from donors, matching grants from local businesses and families and the Community Foundation of Utah. The Humane Society’s doors are open to any animal they can legally accept, so that money is greatly needed. In 2014 they saved a record 10,481 pets, and they expect that number to grow.
Along with being a great charity, the Humane Society is also a great place to volunteer. Raquelle Privett, age nine and one of the over 1,400 volunteers, begged her mother to let her volunteer. “I love playing with the cats and rabbits,” Raquelle said. Because of her young age, Raquelle’s mother, Rebecca, accompanies her as she volunteers 1-2 hours a day cleaning and playing with the animals. As Raquelle held and brushed a blue-and-white cat named Densun, Rebecca added, “I love that this teaches Raquelle responsibility, that pets are hard work as well as fun.”
Jeff Gibbons, an employee at the Humane Society, understands that hard work. Gibbons got involved with the Humane Society while job hunting. “I thought this would be something to fill my time, but eventually I just quit turning in resumes because I finally found a job that I love. I deeply care about animals. I get to take animals that have not been treated well and give them a new home, where they can sleep on the couch, run in the park and do all the other great things pets do! My job every day is making sure that their life gets better because of me. It’s really hard work,” Gibbons said.
That hard work has a big payoff. The Humane Society works with smaller shelters across Utah and neighboring states to save animals at risk of euthanasia by transferring them to their larger facility. It’s anticipated that over 3,500 animals will be saved in 2015. They also performed over 10,000 spay/neuter surgeries last year for both shelter animals and clientele from the general public, which will also reduce the risk of animal euthanasia.
Another hard-working part of the Humane Society is their foster department. There are over 150 foster volunteers who care for sick, injured or infant animals until they’re ready to be adopted. Last year more than 3,500 of these special-needs animals were cared for by the foster program.
Murray City has had the privileged of being home to this great organization, and, in the words of Gibbons, “It is an incredible experience to see animals get a chance to go to their forever homes to be loved. To see scared animals feel secure, and to see the joy in the eyes of both children and adults when they first meet, and then take home their new family member.”
So, be a part of the Humane Society’s next 55 years; volunteer, foster a pet, donate or fulfill an item on their wish list, because Bomber and Boo Boo, Dexter and Duchess are waiting.