When Brewer resident Matthew Gross, 10, and his family adopted Buddy from the Bangor Humane Society, they ensured that Buddy would have a loving home.
The 12-year-old beagle with “just four teeth” came to the BHS as a stray. After seven days of waiting for his owner to pick him up, he was put up for adoption. After three weeks, Buddy was adopted by the Gross family.
“We saw him in the paper, and we really liked him,” Matthew said. “We all thought he was a puppy, and then we found out he was 12.”
The spritely “pup” inspired Matthew to do something more. After brainstorming ideas with his father, Jason, Matt decided he would raise $300 by undertaking a 15-mile bike ride through Brewer, Orrington, and Holden. Naming this event “The Ride for the Wet Nose,” Matt and Jason developed fliers and solicited pledges.
On Thursday, Aug. 30, Matt, Buddy, and the entire family presented BHS with a check for $1,000. Stacey Coventry, BHS public relations manager, said the money that Matthew raised will go to providing supplies and resources to care for the animals at BHS. On average, Coventry said, it costs BHS $250 per pet at the shelter. BHS is a no-kill shelter.
Since Aug. 1, the Bangor Humane Society has been working toward emptying the shelter for a second time in 2012. In a three-month span, BHS will attempt to place 1,200 pets into “forever homes” as part of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. The challenge is a national effort to adopt 100,000 pets nationwide
By Monday, Sept. 9, BHS has placed 452 animals in homes.
“The drive is going great so far,” Coventry said. “We have been excited by the community’s response. [Of that number] 120 were adopted during our kickoff event during the first weekend of August.
“We have had lots of people who have not been able to adopt choose to pay the adoption fee for one or more of our adoptable pets to help facilitate their adoption. We are pleased to say that each of those adopters then paid it forward and paid the fee of another pet awaiting adoption,” she said.
Coventry noted that while the drive is going well, the shelter continues to experience increased surrenders. “On average, we are taking in about 150 pets each week,” she said. “So we need more adopters. Also, having this many animals to care for at once and waiving our adoption fees means our expenses are up as we are using many more supplies. If people can’t adopt, we hope they will donate money or supplies.”
According to BHS, there has been a growing number of “angels” who are sponsoring the adoption of a pet at BHS.
“We need people to choose adoption over choosing a breeder, pet store, or getting a free animal in Uncle Henry’s,” Coventry said. “They really aren’t free when you factor in vet costs and spay neuter costs. Our pets all come spayed [or] neutered, up to date on shots, and behavior evaluated. Every match made is a life saved.”
And each match also means a step closer to a chance to take the $100K prize.
“We don’t know [our national rank] yet,” Coventry said. “To win, we have to have the largest net gain of adoptions for the time frame of Aug. 1-Oct. 31 this year compared to last.”
A $25,000 grant is also up for grabs for community engagement, which includes traffic and support in person, online, and via Facebook. One outlet to engage the community, Coventry said, is the new Cat’s on Tour mobile cattery. For details on where the Cats on Tour mobile will be, visit www.bangorhumane.org.
In Sept., BHS will be open on Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for adoptions only. According to Coventry, BHS will continue to waive adoption fees on cats older than seven months and dog adoptions will continue to be half-off.