It’s no secret that I love animals and am a huge advocate for them. Seriously, I’m that person that hangs out with the pets when I go to a party. I know more dogs that walk around my street than people. It’s crazy. Anyway, I’ve always really loved the Western PA Humane Society, my local animal shelter. Anytime I’ve gone there, the staff has always been incredibly nice and the facility itself is very welcoming and clean. Plus, the WPHS has the CUTEST animals for adoption! You can see a whole bunch of them on their official website, or you can check out their Facebook page or Twitter.I’ve always wondered what happens behind the scenes at this place, and now, I’m pleased to have someone on the site today who would know. :) Kristen Lane is the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for this fine place, and I’m so glad she’s agreed to answer some questions. Without further ado….
You’re the Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Western PA Humane Society. What a cool job! Can you go through an average day?
The WPHS has some really awesome events, such as the upcoming Sample of Station Square! It sounds amazing. Can you tell us a bit about that? What other events are coming up and how we get involved? All our events are listed on our website, www.wpahumane.org. You can also learn about volunteer opportunities on the website.
I imagine it’d be a ton of fun working around animals all day, but it’d be hard too, because many of these animals won’t find homes. How do you stop yourself from adopting them all! :) Okay, seriously, what’s the best part about working around so many great animals?
It is certainly not true that these animals won’t find homes. It is our shelter’s mission to find the best adoptive parents for all our animals.
The WPHS does a ton with volunteers. Some come in and walk the dogs, cuddle with the cats, and romp with the bunnies. Others foster animals until permanent homes can be found. Shout out to all the great volunteers! Can you tell us about how important those volunteers are to you and how someone can become one?
You can learn everything there is to know about volunteer opportunities on the website. Click here.
You guys have a great Facebook page full of photos of adoptable pets, pets who’ve already found their forever homes, and information on current events at the WPHS. I love seeing the photos of animals with their new families! But I’ve been seeing online that many animals shelters in the area are at max capacity. How are you guys coping? What is the best way a person can help a maxed out shelter if they are unable to adopt a pet?
Fostering! We desperately need fosters. Click here.
Okay, let’s switch gears for a minute. Your job must be really eye opening when it comes to the plight of shelter animals. There are some stunning statistics about them, such as 8-12 million animals are brought into shelters every year across the nation. It’s a staggering number. What do you see as the biggest reason people decide to give up their pets?
It’s different for everyone. Some people move into a new home/apartment that doesn’t permit pets. Others lose their jobs or find themselves in position where they can’t afford to take care of their pets.
Do you think anything can be done to help stop people from letting go of their pets? What sort of things would you like to see happen in the future to help with the problem of shelter pet over population?
I can answer this in two words: SPAY NEUTER
Along with the statistic that 8-12 million animals go into shelters every year, there is another: approximately 5-9 million are euthanized. It hurts my heart just typing that. What is the WHPS stance on that? What do you think can stop this horrifying trend?
Humane euthanization is not horrifying. Letting a homeless dog or cat die painfully in the streets is horrifying. Because of the high number of unwanted companion animals and the lack of good homes, the most humane thing for suffering animals is to give them a peaceful release. Until there are no longer any sick, injured, aggressive, or unpredictable animals, euthanasia will still be a necessary reality. It is this reality that is the responsibility of an open admission shelter. Simply turning a back on these animals, and making an ill-informed statement that euthanasia should not exist will not make euthanasia go away: tirelessly working toward more animal adoptions, furthering pet pregnancy prevention, animal rehabilitation, and providing education and needed resources to the public is the only way to reduce humane euthanasia.
Pet overpopulation is such a broad issue. So many things contribute to it, from puppy mills to careless owners to lost cats that haven’t been spayed or neutered and go on to have many litters. It can be hard to feel like you can make any difference. But in your time working a the WPHS, what do you think a person can do that would help animals most.
I will reiterate, SPAY NEUTER.
Speaking of help, the WPHS offers a ton of resources to help animals. I’ve personally taken my animals to your clinic. :) What are you guys as an organization particularly proud of that you do? And personally, is there any one achievement or event or moment that sticks out in your mind as being exceptional?
Every dog, cat, bunny, or exotic we adopt out is an exceptional achievement!
Okay, final question! And since I can’t ever leave an interview without getting advice: what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever heard when it comes to caring for animals?
The best advice I can give is take advantage of the resources the Western PA Humane Society has to offer!