Photography Provided by Humane Society For Hamilton County
Some say Keira is a liability. Really, she is a purebred Dogue de Bordeaux, a breed name that makes her sound worthy of the fanciest pedigree. But her breeder was an amateur at best and led to Keira’s inability to walk.
Keira was transferred to a rescue in southern Indiana that found itself overwhelmed at Keira’s needs. The staff called the Humane Society For Hamilton County for help, because not just anyone can take on a dog like Keira.
For individuals and rescues in surrounding cities, the Humane Society For Hamilton County (HSHC) is a beacon for providing homes to animals.
HSHC didn’t save Keira because she was purebred. The Humane Society doesn’t care about the dog’s status, only its potential for companionship.
“If an animal can be treated, we’re there for them,” says Megan Bousley, marketing and communications specialist.
The Humane Society pays an average of $225 in medical fees per animal, a number kept low by volunteer veterinarians. Then, it costs around $13 per day that an animal resides in the facility. The average stay is 27 days.
Funding from Hamilton County municipalities provides 20% of the annual budget or around seven days shelter for each animal. The rest is fundraised through the website and various events.
Bousley puts together annual events as well as partnership events. She says it seems like there’s an event every weekend during the warmer months.
There’s a 5K race and a concert called Woofstock each fall, a wine tasting in the spring and a gala for the holidays. This year’s Tinsel & Tails gala is Nov. 21.
Staff dresses to the nines and lays a runway for pets and their new owners. Bousley says it’s gratifying seeing favorite successes strut their stuff.
Tinsel & Tails also showcases the HSHC’s program Pets Healing Vets. It pairs war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder with therapy animals. The program pays for the pets’ expenses for the animals’ lifetime.
“We try to remove the barrier of cost for the veterans because healing is so important,” Bousley adds. “We see the animals heal as well.”
Animals come to the Humane Society from a variety of places. They can be surrendered by their owner, picked up as a stray, re-homed by law enforcement or rescued from cruel conditions.
“It’s an emotional job but for most of us, it’s the best job we could ask for,” Bousley says.
The staff schedules enrichment, from cuddle time to long walks, for the animals. If the dog or cat needs more help, HSHC provides training, daycare and foster care.
Each cat must properly use a litter box, and dogs must pass a temperament test before they are considered ready for adoption and of course owners need to clean the house to receive their new cat as well. This way, they’re ready for their forever home.
HSHC is surely ready with programs and lots of love for every animal looking for a home, but the Humane Society itself is looking forward to its next location.
HSHC will move from Noblesville to Fishers once the new facility is built. They are set to start building this spring, but President and CEO Rebecca Stevens says fundraising is ongoing.
The new building will be able to hold more than 200 animals. It will have indoor and outdoor kennels for dogs to enjoy and walking paths for dedicated walk times. To cut back on the spread of disease, there will be better isolation for sick animals, too.
There’s a space for educating the community planned as well. The Humane Society currently visits elementary schools for awareness but can’t currently have sessions in house.
The current space packs a punch, as it manages to serve the whole county. But as more animals fill the kennels, HSHC is eager for room to grow. This way, it can take in a lot more animals other organizations can’t handle.
It’s not rare for rescues to turn to HSHC for help, like in Keira’s case. In addition to serving Hamilton County, the Humane Society helps provide homes to pets others deem too difficult.
The Humane Society For Hamilton County is located at 1721 Pleasant St. in Noblesville. For more information, visit hamiltonhumane.com or give them a call at 317-773-4974 for more information.
Ways to Help
- Volunteer: Sign up online to walk dogs or hold cats. There’s also a strong need for volunteers to wash clothes and dishes.
- Foster: Fostering animals frees up space. Foster homes get supplies provided and are able to accept or deny each request.
- Donations: Monetary and physical donations are welcome. Visit hshcwishlist.com to send the needed items to the Humane Society through Amazon.
- Adopt: If you’re ready to add a pet to your family, look into rescuing. Applications are available online or in person.