PINETOP-LAKESIDE – Depending on your age, you may remember the popular song, “How much is that Doggie in the Window?”
If you ask that question at the Humane Society of the White Mountains (HSWM) they will tell you the cost of adoption for a dog or cat, but they can’t likely tell you the total dollar cost they have invested to care for the animal at the shelter.
Thanks to the Dog House Thrift Shop, volunteers, donors and the premiere fundraising event of the year, Happy Tails, animals are cared for and available at a low price because the goal is to find the animal that forever home.
There is good news and bad news for HSWM this year. The bad news first. This year Happy Tails, like the majority of events on the Mountain, was cancelled due to the coronavirus. Though it is an outside event which takes place in the Orchard at Charlie Clark’s, the board made the difficult decision to cancel the event to keep the public and their volunteers safe. That decision left them with doing more than just thinking outside of the box — but trying to figure out where their operating funds will come from.
The cost of caring for the animals at the shelter equates to $2,000 a day. The Dog House Thrift Shop, which is one of the two major avenues of revenue to run the shelter, was closed five weeks due to the virus. Happy Tails netted $130,000 last year and that leaves a gaping hole in their budget.
Now, that was the bad news. There is some good news — several pieces of good news, in fact.
Director Deena Pace appeared before the Pinetop-Lakeside Town Council on July 16 to thank them for being a partner with HSWM, acknowledging the great help they receive from Animal Control. She also acknowledged that she knew HSWM is not the only entity looking for ways to continue their operation – that they are just one of many. She didn’t just have her hand out, she was being proactive – networking.
“We have taken in 500 animals since the first of the year,” said Pace. “125 came out of community limits. We reunited 82 with their original families. We network with other shelters and Prescott took 9 dogs. Since before COVID-19 quarantine we essentially shortened our hours but had an opportunity to do a lot of adoptions and nine (animals) just stayed. Yavapai took them and two were adopted by just changing (their) demographic. We do the same for others. It’s a neat partnership.”
The next piece of happy news was bitter sweet. She said they lost a great volunteer, but that volunteer left everything to the shelter, and what would have been a cushion for them, has become their operating capital.
With necessity being the mother of invention, Pace said they decided to put on the 2020 Happy Tails as an online auction. With so many donations collected throughout the year for the annual event, they had no trouble putting together auction items – fabulous auction items. Truly there is something for every man, woman and child. The good news is you can be part of the auction from your computer, phone or tablet or if you prefer, can come by the shelter and purchase tickets. The more you buy, the greater the discount for your tickets.
The event went live on Monday, July 20. If you go to www.hswm.org at the top of their main page you will see “Happy Tales 2020 Live Click Here,” and off you go to the world of raffles. There are six different ones: Tool Lover’s Chest, Kitchen Extravaganza, Gardner’s Delight, Name a Litter of Puppies, Name a Litter of Kittens and Big Love. The drawing will take place live on Facebook on the original date planned for Happy Tails this year, Aug. 29 and you do not have to be present to win.
When that raffle has ended, in September they will begin another for the holidays which will be drawn the week before Thanksgiving in anticipation of a joyful holiday season. The holiday raffle offers two options: Wine Basket and Booze Bar.
“The wine basket will have enough wine to supply the whole town for a lifetime,” said Pace. Perhaps she was exaggerating a little, but her comment conjures up a vision of the worth of that raffle item. The booze bar is the harder than wine stuff, which many prefer for the holiday.
Though they will not ship either of these, they have plenty of willing volunteers that will work with the winners to deliver these items should the winner be off the Mountain.
Donations of any kind will be appreciated — money or things like wine or booze for the holiday packages. Pace’s suggestion is that should you donate wine or booze, donate what you prefer since you might win.
Even with working hard to find ways to replace the funds they will be missing this year, there is no second guessing about cancelling the event.
Deena Pace, from the heart wrote, “Cancelling Happy Tails 2020 for the health and safety of our community, volunteers and supporters was the right thing to do. However, the animals we serve are the ones that will suffer if we don’t find an alternative way to raise funds. Will you be their hero by making a donation to help with their needs? Any amount is appreciated.”
Any amount is key — $5, $10, it all matters to the animals and to the people who put their hearts and souls into caring for them.
With a positive outlook HSWM has already secured the date for Happy Tails 2021 at The Orchard at Clarlie Clark’s, so put it on your calendar for Saturday, August 28, 2021.