Cute brown and white dog sitting on the grass wearing a blue collar
Just one of the dogs available for adoption from the Humane Society of Boone County

The Heartwarming Mission of the Humane Society for Boone County

Susan Austin is a beacon of hope for animals in need. Fifteen years ago she began volunteering at the Humane Society for Boone County, and today she stands as its executive director.

Over the years Austin has had her fair share of adventures. “We’ve run after puppies down fields,” she says. “There are a million and one stories that could be told.”

Boone County Humane Society staff in front of the shelter
Boone County Animal Shelter staff (photo by Krystal Dailey)

Despite these moments, the work at the shelter is emotionally taxing, given the difficult circumstances many animals come from. “It’s heartbreaking,” Austin says. “I don’t want to say that your heart gets hardened to it, because it doesn’t.”

However, the fulfillment from seeing animals find their fur-ever homes makes these challenges worthwhile. “You see a successful adoption and hear from the adopter that the dog came in, laid down and sighed – and they know they’re home,” Austin says.

One can imagine how tempting it might be for staff members to bring an animal or two home. According to Austin, this happens frequently. “Many of our volunteers are actually former adopters or are fosters themselves,” she says. “I’m a foster fail, multiple times over. Some of them just attach to you, and you say ‘OK, yes, your home is here.’”

Adoption is open to everyone, and there is no shortage of animals in need of a home. The shelter houses dogs and cats of all sizes, ages and even breeds. “These aren’t discarded animals,” Austin emphasizes. “They’re just waiting for the right home.”

Cat being pet while in a box
Cat up for adoption at the Humane Society of Boone County (photo by Krystal Dailey)

However, some animals face more difficulties finding their forever homes. In particular, large or senior dogs often struggle with adoption. Among them is Mark, an 8-year-old white pitbull-Labrador mix recovering from a skin injury. “If any dog deserves a home, it’s this sweet little boy,” Austin says. “Well, he’s not so little, but he’s so sweet.”

Another notable resident is Jack, a medium-sized brown mutt brimming with personality. “He’s just a hoot,” Austin says. “He’s got personality galore. He’s a good boy, and he needs a home too. He’s been here too long.”

Both Mark and Jack are still up for adoption, and for those unable to adopt, volunteering is a wonderful way to help. “You see the happiness in the animals’ eyes and you know that you’re bringing a spark to their day,” Austin says. “You’re helping facilitate the next step in that pet’s life.”

Learn About Dogs Available for Adoption Here>

Volunteering doesn’t just benefit the animals; it also provides a sense of fulfillment and belonging to those involved.

For those interested in meeting pets like these, the shelter hosts various events including the Fur Ball, a Mardi Gras-themed party, and the Golf Scramble. They also appear at the Zionsville Farmers Market once a month.

Austin’s years at the shelter stand as a testament to her unwavering dedication and the profound impact one person can make. As she retires, Melanie Evans will be taking over as the new executive director, continuing the heartfelt mission of the Humane Society for Boone County.

The facility is located at 5366 South Indianapolis Road in Whitestown. Call 877-473-6722 or visit for more information.

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