Shelter pets need community support

May 14, 2014
Anita Jaggie of Greene County Humane Society takes care of 2-year old Boxer-mix Finn, who came to the society’s shelter with two broken legs.

WAYNESBURG – When an animal lover steps inside the Greene County Humane Society’s shelter along Route 188 in Waynesburg, it is hard not to walk out with a new furry friend. Sometimes that simply isn’t possible but there are other ways to make a difference in the lives of these animals.

Finn, a Boxer-mix, came to the shelter requiring emergency veterinary care. Believed to be 2 years old, he was brought in by a dog law enforcement officer after spending two days on a porch near Spraggs. Finn’s story isn’t unusual because the shelter regularly rescues or receives animals in need of health care.

“His (Finn’s) legs were bowed in and he was pretty thin. You could feel his spine. Malnutrition can cause it (bowing), too,” said Anita Jaggie of the Humane Society.

“I took him to Dr. Joe Scheffen at the Waynesburg Animal Hospital. He did X-rays and said his radius bone was broken in the same place on both legs. He also had hook and roundworm parasites.”

Jaggie said she initially suspected the breaks were from abuse. Scheffen told her most likely Finn was run over by a car.

After a little tender loving care by Scheffen, Finn is standing straight on his splinted front legs and he is vaccinated for the worms. The splints will remain for 30 days, but Finn, wagging his tail, doesn’t seem to mind.

He joined half a dozen other dogs and a few dozen cats and kittens at the shelter. Kitten season is in full swing and more are arriving each week, leaving the shelter in need of both wet and dry food for felines. Friskies pate-type canned food is the preferred choice for shelter cats and canned Alpo or Pedigree for dogs.

The canned foods help with the administration of medications and are ideal for elderly animals and those who have been starved, according to Jane Gapen, director of the Greene County Humane Society.

Purina Cat Chow in the blue bag is the preferred dry food for cats at the shelter, she said.

In addition to nutritional needs, Gapen said they are always grateful for donations of blankets, newspapers, lawn furniture cushions, cat litter and boxes, small pet carries, toys and of course permanent homes for the pets. The lawn furniture cushions are used as pet beds as they can be washed and reused, unlike most traditional pet beds, according to Gapen.

Financial assistance is also a welcome relief when it is proffered. The annual budget to operate the shelter is roughly $250,000, according to Gapen. As costs continually rise and donations stay about the same, emergency situations are especially difficult for the shelter operation. Currently, one of its feline residents is in need of a $1,000 dental surgery. It is a cost the shelter cannot cover, Gapen said, noting she hopes the money will come in the form of donations.

It is the public’s generosity that keeps the 20-year-old no-kill shelter in operation. Through fundraising efforts such as an annual golf outing, T-shirt and calendar sales, a cash bash scheduled for October, and dedicated donors, the shelter meets the needs of abandoned or abused cats and dogs.

It is also through the kindness of the surrounding communities.

The same day a photo of bare shelves hit the shelter’s Facebook page “Humane Society of Greene County Waynesburg, PA,” several people came to the rescue, including Waynesburg Elementary students Brynn Bortz, 10, and Taylor Lohr, 10. From the youngest animal lovers to the oldest, somehow the needs are met. Gapen likens it to “The Little Engine that Could.” The Greene County Humane Society keeps chugging along with hard work and the optimism that things will come together when they are needed most.

Gifts for shelter pets can be dropped off from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at Greene County Humane Society at 183 Jefferson Road, Waynesburg.

For more information, call 724-627-9988 during business hours.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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