An anonymous donor is lending a helping hand this holiday season to the Vernon County Humane Society.
The shelter is actually over capacity right now housing more than 50 dogs and cats that are waiting for adoption.
Each year the shelter relies on fundraising from church organizations, school groups and even summer lemonade stands to be able to care for animals that have been abandoned or given up.
“What are you doing in here?” Shelter director Linzi Gronning said to one of the shelter cats. “I can't believe someone didn't want to take you home for the holidays.”
Gronning can't even imagine what would happen if these animals didn't have the shelter for a place to wait.
“They wouldn't even have a chance to be alive, and they wouldn't have a chance to get the medical care that they need, and they wouldn't have a chance to be in a facility and hope that someone will come and adopt them,” said Gronning.
But operating mainly on donations makes things a little difficult to stay afloat especially in tough economic times.
It takes at least a couple hundred dollars a day to keep the shelter operating.
It runs on an annual budget of about $80,000.
The shelter can only afford part-time employees and relies heavily on the help of volunteers like Casey Engen.
“They need to get their exercise,” said Engen. “If they're younger, they need little kids to play with them and just have fun. They need to be loved.”
And this year the shelter is hoping to cash in on a very generous donation.
“A benefactor came forward and said they wanted to try and make a difference and help us meet our goal of being able to keep the shelter open,” said Gronning.
An anonymous donor contacted the shelter at the beginning of the month offering to match $3,000 if the shelter could come up with the same amount in donations by the new year.
“People normally think about the care for the animals, but you still need a facility, you still need to pay for insurance and heat and utilities and those things add up,” said Gronning. “Six-thousand dollars would go a long way.”
It’s an offer that not only helps keep the shelter open, but also give every animal a chance to find its forever family.
“Bye Suzy,” Gronning said to one of the dogs leaving the shelter with a new family. “Have a good life Suz.”
So far, the humane society has raised more than $2,000 for the match grant.
The deadline for donations is on Dec. 31.
To donate, contact the Vernon County Humane:
1150 Nelson Parkway
Viroqua, WI 54665
Or visit their website at www.vchumane.org .