In 125 years of treating animals humanely, with respect and compassion, it is hard to imagine how many animals’ lives have been positively impacted by the Guelph Humane Society (GHS). With over 3,000 animals, domestic and wild, coming through their doors in an average year, fundraising is an essential lifeline to ensuring their care.
In March, after 50 years in the same location, the Guelph Humane Society was finally able to move into their brand new 18,000 sq. foot community animal centre located at 190 Hanlon Creek Blvd. And while there is much to celebrate, COVID has forced GHS to cancel community fundraising events as well as most revenue-generating programs and services.
“We definitely need to raise $1.15 million to close the gap,” says Alyson Reynolds, Annual Giving Development Officer, Guelph Humane Society. The gap she is referring to is the difference between the $8.85 million in funding already secured and the $10 million required.
Over the years, GHS has featured many innovative fundraising campaigns but the online Unleashing Hope 50/50 lottery is a first. Today through April 15th, 50/50 tickets purchased mean a chance at winning 50 percent of the jackpot – and that winning prize is already over $20,000 and quickly growing. Ticket bundles are available in various sizes including 120 tickets for $40; 40 tickets for $20 and 10 tickets for $10.
“We thought it would be a fun way for people to participate in helping us to support our new facility,” says Reynolds. “Raising this money means that we won’t have to pay a mortgage so that means any funds generated can be directly used in the care of animals and in specialized programs like emergency boarding for vulnerable populations or puppy training classes and pet loss support groups.”
The Guelph Humane Society provides animal sheltering, pet rehoming, adoption services, veterinary care, pet identification, and return of lost pets. In addition to innovative pet programs they also equally provide care to sick, orphaned and injured wildlife.
“Out of the 3,000 animals that we’d see in a year, half would be domestic pets and farm animals and the other half is wildlife,” says Reynolds. Farm animals, rabbits, injured Canada Geese, orphaned fawns or snapping turtles are all treated compassionately.
“We offer triage and emergency care to the wildlife in our care, and then they are sent to rehabilitation centres,” she says. The GHS is also contracted by the City of Guelph, the Township of Centre Wellington and the Township of Guelph-Eramosa to provide animal services. Staff enforce animal related by-laws, help stray domestic animals, respond to citizens with animal concerns, and provide emergency response to stray animals that are sick or injured.
There are currently about 100 animals receiving care and attention at the new facility. And while there may be barking, meowing or quacking, staff are looking forward to the day when the public can come in and see and interact with the animals. Camps and birthday parties are wished-for events in the future.
“Shortly after things shut down due to COVID (2020), we started offering Contactless Virtual Adoptions, where people can go onto our website and if they see an animal they’d like to get to know, send in an expression of interest form. We then follow up with a virtual meeting to talk about if that pet would be a good fit and find the best match,” she says. Payments are virtual and pickups are arranged in order to continue to adhere to physical distancing protocol.