February 11, 2012
Humane Society volunteers call event a success

By Abbey Doyle The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Jennifer Bridges hunkered down into the concrete kennel with her bunkmate for the night — pit bull Jake.

Bridges, the assistant director of the Madison County Humane Society, was one of 12 board members to vow to spend 24 hours in the animals’ kennels or until they’d raised a dollar for each of the 1,440 minutes. By 3:30 p.m., the members had already surpassed their individual totals, but most said they would spend the night anyway.

“This shows our commitment to the animals,” Bridges said of the “A Day in Their Paws” event. “This has also given the animals a ton of visibility. It is amazing the amount of people that have been through.”

Shelter volunteers said they had between 75 and 100 visitors between noon and 5 p.m. when the shelter was open to the public. The board members were staying in the “big dog” kennels area not only so they would have a little more room to stretch out, but also so those dogs would get some attention from the public, Bridges said.

Typically the smaller dogs and puppies are the ones who get the most attention, she said, so this not only exposed them to potential adopters, but it also gave them one-on-one attention from a board member.

Jake playfully ran circles around Bridges’ legs and then lovingly rested her chin on her knee.

“This has been more of a party than anything,” she said. “It isn’t as hard for us as it is the dogs.”

Board member Sherry Eads was sitting in the kennel with calm Sheba, a Plott Hound mix. She was proud of the children at Frankton Elementary — where she teaches — who raised $700 in a week to donate to the cause.

“We need the money because the shelter is run purely on donations,” she said. “And I don’t think a lot of people are aware of how many great animals we have here. So hopefully we not only raise money but raise awareness.”

One of the best parts of the event for Eads was seeing all the visitors. In addition to the money raised by the children at her school, a group of middle schoolers from Elwood donated more than $100 and dozens of animal supplies they had collected.

“People aren’t just coming and dropping off a donation,” she said. “They are supporting the animals and giving them love.”

Stacie Buxton and daughter Emily of Daleville came to the shelter to make a donation and visit the animals. Stacie Buxton said she knows the needs the shelter has and thought the board members’ dedication was amazing.

“Anytime you give of your time it shows that you care,” she said. “If they are going to do this, the least we can do is come and support them.”

Board member Bryan Richey said he was there to advocate for the dogs who couldn’t do it for themselves. He’s been a dog lover for years — he adopted his best friend, Maddie, from the shelter 14 years ago — but just got involved on the board about six months ago.

“This whole thing has been amazing,” he said. “The community support has been above and beyond what we expected. I just hope it raises awareness to the number of homeless pets and the need to spay and neuter your pets.”

Richey pointed out that 6 to 7 million animals were brought in to shelters across the country, with 3 to 4 million of them having to be euthanized.

Jake, a pit bull, plays with Jennifer Bridges, assistant director of the Madison County Humane Society, as Bridges spends the day with Jake in his kennel on Saturday. Society board members spent 24 hours in kennels to raise money and awareness for the organization.

Humane Society seeks donations:

Donations are still being accepted at the Madison County Humane Society. Those interested in donating can do so in person during the shelter’s normal business hours at 2219 Crystal St., Anderson; by calling 644-6484; or through PayPal on the society’s website, www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN35.html.