In light of renovations and the decline of COVID-19, the Greater Hillsdale Humane Society is now more accessible to both animals and volunteers.
Located at 3881 S. Tripp Road in Osseo, Michigan, the humane society serves the community by sheltering abandoned cats and abused dogs. According to its website, the shelter was founded in 1974. It is dedicated to the welfare and protection of animals.
Julia Bauer, president of the humane society, spoke about how the dogs and cats taken in by the shelter often are brought through no fault of their own.
“When you see an animal that has been part of a family for a few years and they bring it to us, the animals are terrified. They just want to be loved and in a home where they can call forever.” Bauer said.
The Society operates as a 501©3 nonprofit focused on providing shelter, care, and nutrition to abandoned and abused animals, in an attempt to relieve the suffering inflicted upon them. Most of the abandoned animals come from Hillsdale County. Bauer said they also take in the overflow of some shelters across the United States.
“There is a Trello board that has shelters needing help. We heard about it through the Bissell Foundation. Other than our shelter helping the southern states, 99% of our animals come from Hillsdale County,” Bauer said.
The shelter picks up stray cats but is only allowed to receive dogs specifically brought in by their previous owners. Bauer said this is due to a contract Hillsdale County has with the Branch County Animal Control.
“Unfortunately, there is a ten-year contract between the counties and it’s only been four years. So, they are bound to that contract for six more years.” Bauer said.
The Humane Society is funded solely through donations and operates with the help of regular volunteers. When COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2020, the shelter was forced to close down its volunteer applications, which also affected its renovation plans.
“COVID-19 affected everyone, as for funding, we were fortunate enough to keep getting donations through all of this,” Bauer said. “We did have to close for volunteers, but the director did make appointments for adoptions and surrenders if we had space. We returned to normal on Oct. 6, 2020, with a few restrictions.”
The renovations were completed, but according to their website, they were unable to begin fundraising to pay for some of the more costly improvements. Sophomore Meera Baldwin recently volunteered at the shelter and she said was able to see the difference the new renovations made.
“When you think ‘humane society’ you think dog pound, or at least I do,” Baldwin said. So, I was expecting a bunch of dogs in cages and it to be kind of grim, but they had it painted really nicely, it was like a very modern-looking building.”
Bauer mentioned the shelter is now open and hoping to welcome new volunteers to help socialize the animals better.
“It helps the animals to trust people and find a home that fits them,” Bauer said.
Baldwin added that all the dogs were friendly and the puppies she played with were very sweet.
“It’s just nice to be around new animal life,” Baldwin said.
Bauer went on to describe the everyday process of working in the shelter, where the dogs are first given their medications and then fed.
“After feeding, they are let outside while their kennels are being cleaned. Throughout the day, they are given playtime in the play yard or volunteers come and walk them,” Bauer said. “Cats are put into the cat playroom while their cages are being cleaned. Once they are cleaned, they are put back so they can eat and usually they nap afterward.”
In addition to volunteering, Bauer also recommended contributing to daily needs for both the animals and the regular employees at the shelter. Such needs include dog and cat food, cat litter, chairs for volunteers, and laundry soap.
“Our most pressing needs besides volunteers are daily supplies which can be found on our website,” Bauer said.