I recently had the unfortunate experience of having to say goodbye to my dear, sweet dog, Anniemae. After more than 16 years of companionship, she passed on. A sad event to be sure, but she was one of the best: friendly, gentle with everyone, and patient.
When Mae (as we called her) was a pup, her favorite things, like most dogs, were chasing squirrels and going for walks and rides. She was accomplished at a handful of human tricks and enjoyed mock fighting. As she got older, her hearing faded and her eyes began to show signs of cataracts, but she remained sweet and loyal as she ever had been. Her tricks were limited to “shake hands,” and her mock fighting was more like opening her mouth and turning her head from side to side. But she seemed to like the interaction. Walks got to be too much of a burden, but she was still up for a ride, especially if it meant going to one of the local businesses that keep dog treats on hand. She knew them by heart: the hardware store, the bank, and some drive-through restaurants.
Mae was a mix of mostly, we were told, Australian Shepherd and red healer. We picked her up at what was then the city of Burnet dog pound. The city no longer uses its facility as a pound but rather as a holding facility until impounded animals can be taken to the Hill Country Humane Society in Buchanan Dam. The city recently upgraded the holding facility to bring it into compliance with state regulations so it can continue to be used; however, it is only meant as a temporary facility.
Now, animals collected there are taken to the Hill Country Humane Society for necessary action, which might include medical treatment, care, and, ultimately, either returning them to their owners or finding new owners for them. The facility can house more than 100 animals and is perpetually at capacity.
The Hill Country Humane Society does a fantastic job, but, like most nonprofits, staff are very cognizant of every dime they gather. Keeping a facility such as the Hill Country Humane Society running is a major undertaking. It depends not only on the cities and counties that provide monetary support but also on the kindness of others who are willing to donate both time and/or money to keep the standard of care where it should be. Donations may be made directly to the facility or by dropping dollars in the many donation boxes found around town.
Volunteers, including the board of directors, supplement the few paid staff the facility can afford to employee.
“Volunteers are our life blood,” said Board President Dan McBride, a local veterinarian.
Those volunteers help care for the animals, reunite pets with their owners, set up adoption outreach opportunities, and research possible placement for animals that are unable to be returned to their owners or immediately adopted. For example: Sometimes an animal can be moved to an organization that specializes in placement of a particular breed. Doing so is likely to increase the probability of placement. They leave no stone unturned and try to find homes for the animals they take in.
Helping to raise funds for the facility, the Hill Country Humane Society’s third annual Wags and Whiskers Gala is 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at Escondido Golf and Lake Club. There will be raffle prizes, a silent auction, live music, and outstanding food and beverage. It is a great way to have a wonderful evening in a beautiful location while helping the local animal shelter.
For reservations, to donate toward the raffle or auction, or to make a cash donation, call Karen Moore at (830) 598-7800.
Your participation will be very much appreciated. Who knows? You might be responsible for bringing together a family and their own sweet Anniemae.
Crista Goble Bromley is the mayor of Burnet.