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Bond County Humane Society: Petfinder 20th Anniversary Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

The money was used to purchase building materials which helped get us closer to completing our badly needed cat shelter building. As you can tell in the photos, there is still work to be done as soon as additional funding becomes available. The first two photos show the building prior to receiving the grant, and the second two show work we were able to complete with your support.

BCHS was founded more than 14 years ago to provide temporary sanctuary for unwanted, lost and neglected animals and placement in loving and responsible homes. We are dedicated to doing all we can to improve animal welfare and to stop euthanasia of adoptable pets. For the past seven years, our office/cat-rescue operation has been temporarily located in a small, rundown, 60-year-old county maintenance building. In most cases we are the only hope of survival for the stray and abandoned cats in our community. The size and condition of our existing building drastically limits the number of cats we are able to help. We urgently need a facility that is safer, larger, more efficient, and provides a healthier environment for the cats.

Increasing expenses and the further deterioration of the old building caused us to take action. We launched a capital campaign last year to fund construction of an annex to the existing BCHS dog shelter located a couple of miles away. The new addition will provide air-controlled community rooms for cats, an isolation room, food prep/storage room, laundry room, meet-and-greet room, adoption center, conference/education room, reception area and business office.

The campaign was promoted on our website, Facebook, newsletter, local newspapers and radio. In addition, we established an online fundraising site, and we are designing a memorial-garden area located next to the new building which will include memorial bricks that can be purchased to raise additional funds for this project. The capital campaign, including the Petfinder Foundation grant, has enabled us to get as far as we have and we appreciate your support.

This project is critical to improving the welfare of animals in our community. Your donation could not have come at a better time and has helped us reach another milestone in working toward completion of this building. Your support will have a long-lasting impact far into the future as we will be able to improve the care and increase the number of our rescues.

How many pets did this grant help?

Our currently capacity is 20-30 cats. The new building will be able to house 50-60 cats.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

Lucky, a large, gentle, short-haired black cat (first photo), was almost 11 years old. He’d been adopted through Bond County Humane Society in 2006 when he was a 10-week-old kitten. But then his human mom was moving in December 2015 and could not take Lucky with her. So he came back to BCHS’s cat shelter in hopes that we could find him a new home where he could just lie around again and run the house. His longtime mom told us that he was a very good cat, loved attention, never jumped up onto counters or got into anything he shouldn’t. Still, Lucky lived at our cat shelter for almost a year, hanging out on the laps of our office volunteers, napping and spending playtime hours down on the big floor and shelf perches in the community cat room while socializing volunteers occupied him with laser pointers, jingle balls, and dangling feathers.

Finally, during a February 2017 Saturday off-site adoption event at Petco in Fairview Heights, Illinois, BCHS approved a family interested in adopting Lucky and he went to a new permanent home in Granite City, Illinois. The family also adopted a young kitten – Raider (second photo) – from BCHS the same day!

Capital campaign funding sources like the Petfinder Foundation grant absolutely help ensure that more senior cats who’ve been adopted through Bond County Humane Society will have a place to return to if need be, and that there will be places for cats who for other reasons need temporary shelter while we find them permanent adoptive homes. Our old, dilapidated, and inefficient cat-shelter facility has been in extreme danger of having to close, whether we complete the new facility at our new campus in time to move operations there or not! Getting the financial resources to finish and equip the new shelter can save cat-rescue and community-pet programs in our area.

Adult and senior cats like Lucky may show best for potential adopters in quiet settings like a comfy room in the same building in which they live. Our old shelter does not have that but the new one will — a meet-and-greet room with overstuffed chairs, a throw rug, a cat tree, and more familiar reminders of the home he had for over nine years. Lucky got lucky with BCHS’s hard work, creativeness, and passion with which we have tried to make up for a lack of a truly suitable facility since our founding in 2003. And the Petfinder Foundation’s recent grant helps finally provide that new wonderful purpose-built state-of-the-art facility now!

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