View From the Top

A VIEW FROM THE TOP

View From the Top!

View From the Top!

When I was elected to the board of the Lemhi County Humane Society, six of the seven members were new.  I sat in on the first board meeting not having a clue as to what I was supposed to do.  I watched as everyone around the table discussed the responsibilities of each office and volunteered as we went down the list.  I thought, “Wow – these people are really stepping up”. But then I realized that they had volunteered for all the offices except the Presidency, so by default, that fell to me.  I told the rest of the board that I would be happy to do it for a while, but if, after 6 months or so, I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore that I would step down and someone else could do it.  It’s been 6 years now and I’m still growing strong.

The things that the President does includes calling meetings and setting the agenda, seeking out  and applying for grant money for various projects, and basically being the one to deal with most problems.  Because we own both a thrift store and an animal shelter this means problems of various kinds – from not having enough stainless steel food bowls at the shelter, to dealing with unhappy customers at our thrift store.

Stainless Steel Bowl

R&W Thrift Store

R&W Thrift Store

No one likes confrontation, including me, but I have learned that you try to find the middle ground with customers and you do what you can to solve problems at the shelter as quickly as they arise.  Not all problems get dealt with immediately, but eventually all are solved to the best of my ability.

I am proud of what the current board of the Lemhi County Humane Society has accomplished.  In the time that I’ve been there we have purchased the old Odd Fellows Building in downtown Salmon and turned a portion of it into our thrift store, Rags & Wags.  We have remodeled the building, including a nice facelift so that it’s the nicest looking building on Main Street.  I helped secure funds to do that as well as to do a lot of repair work so that the building was safe and usable.  Most recently I found grant funds to help replace the electrical system in the upstairs portion of the building.

Rags and Wags, Salmon Idaho, Thrift Stores,

Main Street Entrance

We also received a large donation from a local woman’s estate which we used to enlarge the animal shelter.  This provided us space for an office, where people can meet and greet their prospective adoptive pet – as well as increased living quarters for our shelter cats.catroom

 

Many Places to Lounge

Many Places to Lounge

Lots of Room!

Lots of Room!

 

 

100 Cars for Good

100 Cars for Good

Covered Parking

Covered Parking

We received another donation to purchase and build a parking structure for a new Toyota van that we won in the 100 Cars For Good contest in the fall of 2012.This structure not only provides shelter for our lovely new van, but also houses a cat isolation room separate from the shelter.

Quarantine Cages

Quarantine Cages

Isolation Room

Isolation Room

This was badly needed as cats tend to pass around upper respiratory infections like kids sharing candy. Now we can completely isolate the contagious kitties so that our entire population doesn’t fall ill at the same time.

One of the great things about the people who currently sit on our board is that each person has sought out the particular job or task that they are best at, and pursued that as their contribution to the running of both the store and the shelter. I personally prefer to spend my time at the animal shelter, where I can usually be found each day walking dogs, or helping to whatever needs to be done to keep the shelter looking good and operating smoothly.

TOPBOARDPICABO

Board Discussion

TOPBOARDBECKY

Board Meeting

 

 

 

TOPBOARD2

Mascot Board Member

 

The walking the dogs thing sounds kind of fun – but I have to tell you that it gets to be a lot of work and requires a huge commitment of time. I typically spend from 2-3 hours walking dogs each day. lchs_webblog_president

Most of these walks are made off site, so I load dogs into our shelter van – drive them to BLM land near Salmon – and let them out to go for a run.  Most often these runs last 20 -40 minutes and then we’re back at the van and headed home. From time to time dogs stray off and I have to spend the next half hour to hour searching for them.  Thankfully, we’ve never lost a dog yet when out for a run.

Walked and Loaded

Walked and Loaded

I also am heavily engaged in helping to transport our animals to other shelters and rescues. Again, this is a huge time commitment because it may involve an 11 hour round trip drive to Boise, Salt Lake City, or Coeur d’Alene. But I consider this time well spent as it gets our animals into new markets, ones that aren’t as filled up as ours.  Local adoptions are kind of rare because there are so few of us in this valley and most everyone has the pets they want.

Last but definitely not least, I help check on animal neglect and abuse cases throughout the county. When a citizen spies an animal that is being mistreated – a dog, cat, horse, goat, cow, whatever – they will call the shelter and ask if we can look into it. This means that we often must drive out to the limits of our county – remember this is a county of 4500 square miles – and find the animal in question.  The first thing we do is to try to contact the owner of the animal and ask if there’s any way we can help. We offer to get food to the animal if the owner is having trouble purchasing it, or we help get housing – such as a dog house or other type of shelter. If the person is cooperative, GREAT – we work together to keep the animal in its home.

Hot or Cold - Walking Dogs

Hot or Cold – Walking Dogs

If the person is not responding to our request for change, or our offer of food/shelter, we monitor the situation and when it appears that there will be no change we contact the police or sheriff’s department, depending on whether the animal is in the city or county. At this point in time we still offer to help the animal and, in some instances, the animal is seized from the owner. Dogs and cats are brought to our shelter where they may receive medical treatment and a living environment complete with plenty of food, water and shelter.  Horses are typically placed in a foster situation where the animal is provided any needed medical care and provided proper feed and housing.  Once the horse is well and nourished we find the animal a new home, typically free of charge to the adopter.

I am proud to be a volunteer with the Lemhi County Humane Society.  I know our efforts have made a difference in the lives of many people and animals in this county.  And I know that people – and animals – can continue to count on us for a job well done.

LCHS President Cindy Phelps

LCHS President Cindy Phelps

One thought on “View From the Top

  1. Pam Hone-Dahle

    I love all the positive changes made to our shelter over the past several years including the great Ferrell program. You are all so awesome and thank you for all your hard work.

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