Several Northwest students have found a go-to non-profit business that allows them to complete service hours for organizations and play with friendly felines and canines at the same time.
Students regularly volunteer at the New Nodaway Humane Society, doing various activities like walking dogs, grooming cats and helping the animals be acquainted with the attention, exercise and socialization they need to be ready for adoption.
With more volunteers showing each month, NNHS is getting much-needed support not only from the Maryville and surrounding communities but also from Northwest students providing the shelter more helping hands.
In a group effort to provide a public service, a small group communication class from the University held a fundraising event for NNHS Nov. 13 and 15, where the group brought dogs from the shelter to campus and took donations for what they called “Smooches for Pooches.”
People could pay a dollar for the opportunity to play and take photos with the two dogs NNHS provided, warming the hearts of students who walked by on those cool November days.
“We all have a love for animals,” junior Michaelene Mays said. “This was something local and in need, so we knew anything small we could do would help.”
Some who were on the way to class or otherwise occupied still donated to the cause, an accomplishment Mays attributes to the reputation NNHS has in the community and among the student body on campus.
“So many people are in the know and involved with (NNHS),” Mays said. “It was obvious we could help them, so that’s why we chose them.”
Along with students offering their time and helping fundraise, there have been recent community efforts to aid the shelter.
Maryville City Council approved a three-year contract with NNHS Nov. 14, mostly the same as the previous contract in regards to animal control, but including an increase of funds to the shelter from $60,000 per year to $61,200 allocated each year.
Shelter Manager Wendy Combs said there are a lot of expenditures most people do not think about when it comes to running an animal shelter, and the extra allocated funds will help curb some present needs.
“We are not federally funded,” Combs said. “We apply for grants, and it either gets approved or denied. A lot of times it’s more denied then approved, which sucks.”
The shelter puts in hands-on work to ensure animals it takes in are ready for adoption. This includes a lengthy and costly process of getting them up to date on vaccinations, being fed a healthy diet and groomed to cleanliness.
Combs said since the number of animals NNHS takes in seems to grow each year, there is a need for supplies to supplement bodies and hands-on volunteer work.
“The community is really good at giving us donations,” Combs said. “We have fundraisers, like the one we do with Pagliai’s, where the owner gives us 100% of about three hours of her sales. That normally brings us about $4,000, which helps a ton.”
Combs said NNHS has a monthly bill of close to $10,000 and sometimes more. She said the community showing its support is the only way the shelter has been able to stay alive and serve the area the way it does.
Northwest students taking the time to volunteer has helped the shelter meet the needs of its 247 dogs and 159 cats in 2018. The shelter brings in and aids up to 700 animals a year, a feat Combs says is nearly impossible without volunteers.
“In the past, we’ve had students in the work study program on staff, which is really nice since the program pays for like 75% of their wages,” Combs said.
Combs said the shelter is a good place for people to get experience, but is, at its roots, a place to improve the lives of the animals they take in. In an attempt to provide the pets with new homes, NNHS has half priced adoptions August through December each year and special hours during the holidays.