Honey Girl was a pit bull terrier that arrived at Starke County Humane Society (SCHS) in horrible condition, with an injury that prevented her from walking. Honey Girl could only drag her back legs and was severely emaciated, according to SCHS Director Shanna Lloyd.
“We were not sure if she would survive,” Lloyd says. “The veterinarian told us that surgery would not be an option, but that we could try physical therapy. Through a lot of love and time, we were able to help her regain the use of her hips and rear legs.”
Lloyd says she knew Honey Girl would not be completely healed and would require special care. That’s where the animal-loving community stepped in. One person donated a mobility cart to assist Honey Girl when she became too tired on her walks. Then Honey Girl found her human, who had a wheelchair ramp for access to a backyard for play.
“This made life so much easier for this sweet dog and she was able to help her adopter with companionship,” Lloyd says.
Lloyd has many success stories. These are the stories of the pets that find a home with people who will care for them. That is the important work of the shelter’s part-time employees and numerous volunteers. Every adopted pet is celebrated as a success, she says.
“Animal shelters across the world play an important role within their communities,” Lloyd says. “Our mission here at Starke County Humane Society is to provide aid, shelter and humane care for lost, abused, neglected or unwanted animals. We strive to reunite lost pets with their families and place homeless animals with responsible owners through adoption.”
SCHS was formed in 1980 and opened in 1990.
“We have been blessed to serve thousands of homeless animals,” Lloyd says. “We are so very grateful for the continued support of animal lovers within and outside of our community.”
The shelter is always at capacity, Lloyd says, with long waiting lists of cats and dogs waiting to come to the shelter. There are times when less-common pets are housed at the shelter such rabbits, guinea pigs, reptiles and birds.
“A common misconception is that we are a high-kill animal shelter,” Lloyd says. “In fact, euthanasia is reserved for animals that pose a danger to public safety or animals that are extremely ill. We do not euthanize for space, and animals will stay with us until they find their new home.”
There are many advantages to adopting a shelter pet. For each pet that finds a home, another one can take its place and start the quest to find a human. People who adopt are also giving a second chance to an animal in need.
“Not only are you saving a deserving animal in need, there are real health benefits from being a pet parent,” Lloyd says.
Those benefits can include a decrease in blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, just by spending time with pets. Pet ownership can also increase exercise, and pets can reduce loneliness and the negative impacts of depression, Lloyd says.
The organization is a nonprofit and is not affiliated with the county. It relies solely on donations from the community for monetary support, but there are other ways people can help.
“We depend heavily on supply donations as well,” Lloyd says. “We are always in need of dog, puppy, cat and kitten food. We also rely on donations of cleaning supplies such as bleach and Dawn dish soap. We also accept donations of kitty litter, paper towels, newspapers and trash bags.”
Another way to help is to volunteer. Volunteers must be 15 years old, and Lloyd says they have the choice of what they would like to do. Some of the needs include cleaning, socializing the animals, assisting with animal care, helping with fundraising events and supervising dogs in the exercise area.
Starke County Humane Society is located at 0104 West State Road 10 in North Judson. For more information, call 574-896-5060 or visit starkecountyhumanesociety.org, and find the organization on Facebook. Donations, a volunteer form, details on adoptable animals and upcoming events are listed on the website.