TRUCKEE, Calif. —Despite the challenge of fundraising during the economic downturn of the past three years, the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe (HSTT) is only $1 million away from raising the $5 million needed to build a new animal shelter.
To date, the animal rescue group has raised $4.2 million, which includes $2.5 million from the Town of Truckee, and HSTT has launched the “Heroes Now & Forever” campaign for the final stage of fundraising.
“Up to this point we’ve had a much more private, targeted approach to fundraising,” said Stephanie Jensen, HSTT executive director. “The Heroes campaign will give every single person who believes in our cause the opportunity to contribute to this project.”
The goal of the Heroes Now & Forever campaign is to get 1,000 people to donate $1,000. The donation can be made in one full payment, two $500 payments or four $250 payments. To honor the 1,000 Heroes donors, a recognition piece will be installed in the main lobby of the new shelter, and donors will be invited to a private VIP facility tour and party prior to the grand opening.
“The response so far has been fantastic,” Jensen said. “Many people are finding it within their means and are excited to be involved in something that will make a major impact in the lives of the animals in our community.”
Upon learning about the Heroes campaign, sisters Meg and Emily Boucher made their $1,000 donation without hesitation.
“One of the things we love about living in this area is how much our community appreciates and treats their animals like family,” Meg said. “It would be a major loss for everyone if we don’t get this shelter built.”
HSTT is in desperate need of a new shelter. The current 1,000-square-foot facility was built in 1998 as a temporary holding kennel for abandoned, seized and rescued dogs and cats. Through a partnership with the Town of Truckee, HSTT houses a limited number of animals at the shelter, and many more dogs and cats are in volunteer foster homes.
The current kennel accommodates eight dogs and 30 cats, although at times there is upwards of 30 dogs and 80 cats in need of shelter. Such limited space can terrify animals, often causing aggression and fights among dogs and stress-induced illness in cats, Jensen said. The kennel also lacks adequate space to quarantine sick or injured animals, and because of its location in the Town Corporation Yard, it is only open to the public two hours per week for adoptions.
The new shelter was designed to accommodate current and future needs by an architect who specializes in shelters and veterinary hospitals. The facility will include individual rooms for dogs and large, colony-style cat rooms with perches, windows to the outside and natural sunlight.
The building will include an education and training center, allowing HSTT to expand its humane education, dog training and pet-assisted therapy programs. Open daily to the public, the new shelter will provide a convenient location for people to meet and adopt their future pets.
HSTT has partnered with the Town of Truckee to share the cost of construction and operation of a new shelter. About 1.5 acres of land have been secured at no cost to HSTT. However, in order to maintain the agreement with the town, HSTT must raise its portion of the funds before construction starts.
“Unfortunately, the recession has had a tremendous impact on our fundraising over the past three years,” said Jill Dobbs, president of the HSTT board of directors. “People aren’t able to contribute the amounts we were anticipating based on our feasibility study, which means we’re behind our campaign goal, and have had to postpone building the shelter.”
The HSTT directors believe the Heroes campaign will reach its $1 million goal by the November deadline.
“Our community supports this project, which our homeless pets desperately need, but so many people who want to help can’t give large amounts,” Dobbs said. “That’s what’s so exciting about our final campaign drive.”
The recognition wall in the new shelter’s main lobby will illustrate the community’s unwavering commitment to its animals, Dobbs said.
“It isn’t often that a $1,000 donation has such a concrete and inspirational impact,” she said.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Heroes campaign is encouraged to contact Jensen at 530-587-5948.
The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of pets through adoptions, community spay/neuter services and humane education programs. To meet adoptable dogs and cats, go to HSTT’s Adoption Day every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Town of Truckee Animal Kennel, or call 530- 581-3199 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about how you can donate to the capital campaign, call (530) 587-5948 or visit www.hstt.org.