By Bob Freund
LOCATION: 1213 Brick Ave., Red Wing
MISSION: To protect animals by providing shelter, promoting adoption and responsible pet ownership, and preventing animal overpopulation.
WHO THEY ARE: The Humane Society of Goodhue County is a 501(c) 3 non-profit agency dedicated to the welfare of pets and domestic companion animals. “We take in all pets except for snakes and spiders,” says Anna Ostendorf, executive director. “Mostly we have dogs and cats.” But the Society also shelters tame birds and “pocket pets,” such rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters.
PASSION: “The essence of it is just doing what we can to protect animals within our area and advocate for them and for responsible pet ownership,” Ostendorf says. “When we watch the transformation of an animal that has had a … rough start (and goes) from that to becoming a beloved family member, that’s what makes it worth it.”
STAFF/VOLUNTEERS: Nine staff members, including two full-time and seven part-time employees. (Two are certified veterinary technicians.) Volunteers walk dogs, socialize cats and assist with daily cleaning chores.
BY THE NUMBERS: The shelter can house 50 dogs and 50 cats at a time. Last year, 751 animals came to the Humane Society. Among those, 100 lost pets were returned to their owners and 402 animals (246 cats, 130 dog and 26 other animals) were adopted. Another 55 were moved to other shelters.
FUNDING: Individual donations and adoption fees are core sources. The Humane Society also has contracts with the City of Red Wing and Goodhue County to provide animal control services and to take in stray animals. The organization adds some revenue by offering pet boarding and grooming services to the public.
IN ACTION: The Society’s largest single fundraiser is Bark in the Park, a combination of a pet festival and one-mile walk held in May. Chip and Clip (implanting microchips and clipping pet nails) also is a regular benefit held monthly at Chuck and Don’s pet food store in Red Wing.
HOW TO HELP: “Financial support is the best way people can help just because our needs change on a continual basis,” Ostendorf says. The Humane Society also is conducting a campaign to renovate kennels at its 25-year-old.shelter.
Bob Freund is a writer based in Rochester.
A Warm Feeling
Anna Ostendorf, executive director of the Humane Society of Goodhue County for the past eight years, remembers one puppy that was malnourished and “probably about half the size of what he should have been” on arrival at the Society’s shelter. The dog, a Boxer, had a hard time even walking. But “He almost doubled his weight in the time he was here,” she says. By the time he was adopted, the dog had recovered and was playing like a normal pup. Seeing that growth was her reward, Ostendorf says. “It’s nice to have that feeling that what you did mattered.”