Animal lovers invited to TLC Open House June 15
Love animals? Then you will love TLC Humane Society.
“Our animals are so well-taken care of. When you come you will see some happy, happy animals,” says Gayle Gannaway, volunteer and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors.
Visitors can see for themselves at TLC’s Open House Saturday, June 15, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. The event is designed to give animal lovers new in the community and residents not familiar with the no-kill shelter the chance to learn more about TLC, its work in the community, volunteer and fostering opportunities and programs.
It’s also designed to be a fun day, with hot dogs, snow cones, raffles and of course, tours of the facility and time with the animals. Visitors can even have their photo made with a furry friend for the donation of liquid laundry detergent, bleach, trash bags, dog chews or kitty litter.
And of course, TLC hopes there will also be plenty of adoptions.
TLC is licensed to house 80 adult dogs and as many dogs under the age of 1 year and cats and kittens as it can comfortably care for. At the time of this interview there were 17 adult dogs, 30 puppies, seven adult cats and 14 kittens.
All animals are spayed/neutered, microchipped, wormed, treated with heart worm preventive, have routine health screenings and all vaccinations before being allowed to be adopted.
“And,” Gannaway says, “they are also pre-loved and socialized.”
Volunteers provide much of the loving and preparing animals to live in harmony with humans and other animals. Marti Carver has been loving on TLC’s animals for years. Beginning as a volunteer in 2007 she became a part time paid caregiver the following year. She left her position in 2011 due to health reasons but went back to being a volunteer as soon as she felt able, despite doctor’s orders.
Now she walks dogs twice each week.
“Working with animals has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It gets you through the hard times,” Carver says. “I lost my husband in November and the very next day I went to the shelter. It made me feel better. I don’t think about my problems when I’m around animals. Yes, you’re doing things to help the animals, but it really helps your soul, no matter what’s wrong. It’s that unconditional love they give you.”
Carver is one of a core group of volunteers TLC can count on the be there.
“Right now we have about eight steady volunteers and 20 or 25 people who come once in a while,” Gannaway says. “If we had 50 or 60 once in a while that would be great. Volunteers can help around the property, clean, socialize, walk dogs, play with the puppies …. The more social interaction they have with people the easier it is to adopt them out.”
Gannaway spends about six to eight hours each week at the shelter walking the dogs and spending time with them, the cats, puppies and kittens. She also cleans cages, cuts grass—whatever needs to be done.
Orientation for those interested for fostering or volunteering at the shelter will be a part of Open House. Both contribute to an animals’ socialization, Gannaway says.
While fostering helps socialize, there is a “sticking point,” she says. “Dogs don’t get adopted as easily if they’re not here.”
However, people willing to foster are much appreciated when the shelter is full.
Getting dogs and cats adopted is critical to the mission of TLC. The 501c3’s caregivers, board members and volunteers host adoption events nearly every weekend on the Public Square and other locations around town, as well as organizing and hosting events such as Bark in the Park.
“Nothing gives me more pleasure than when a cat or dog gets adopted—especially if it’s been at the shelter for a while,” Gannaway says.
But equally important is preventing unwanted animals in the first place. TLC has reduced the stray population by thousands of animals with its strict policy of having each animal spayed or neutered before it is adopted.
This is also a policy of the county shelter, but there is a difference between the two. TLC is a no-kill facility. Lumpkin County Animal Shelter is not.
“Many of our animals are obtained from facilities that euthanize animals,” Gannaway says. “We take as many as we can. Countless lives have been saved and forever homes found. We want all animals to be loved and cared for.”
That’s why Carver chose to volunteer with TLC rather than the county.
“I knew I couldn’t walk a dog one day and the next it might be killed,” she says.
TLC’s strategic focus and goals are to continually expand and improve shelter facilities and operations, enhancing care for its charges; facilitate and increase off-site adoptions; eliminate euthanasia in the county and surrounding areas; and educate the community on the importance of spay/neuter and proper pet care. Accomplishing these objectives, however, depend on volunteer efforts and donations.
“TLC is funded totally by private donations and the occasional small grant,” Gannaway says. “Mostly it is people’s generosity and charity and the funds we are able to raise through events.”
Visitors will be able to make a donation during the Open House, or by going to tlchumanesociety.org and clicking the donate button. Checks can also be mailed to TLC Humane Society, P.O. Box 535, Dahlonega.
“Or come by the shelter,” Gannaway says. “If you can’t make the Open House, we are open seven days a week, 1-4:30 p.m.”