• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Woodford Humane Society can earn $100,000 match

A PIT BULL named Wayne has been living at the Woodford Humane Society for nearly three years. His breed's stays are typically longer than others. "One of these days the right (family) will come along and scoop (Wayne) up," said Katie Hoffman. The nonprofit's executive director acknowledged, "We will all cry tears of joy when it happens." (Photo by Bob Vlach)

The Woodford Humane Society relies on fundraisers and donations to pay its operating expenses. So when a group of anonymous Woodford County residents offered $100,000 in matching funds to bolster a newly established fund honoring the legacy of animal-lover Lucy Gay Bassett, staffers at the nonprofit adoption center were shocked and amazed by their generosity. To earn the matching funds, an additional $100,000 in donations must be contributed to the Lucy Gay Bassett Memorial Fund by Saturday, July 22. Katie Hoffman, executive director of the Woodford Humane Society, described the matching fund challenge as "a once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity. "It's a huge challenge," she acknowledged, "but we've got a great community behind us, and I think that everybody will rise to the occasion and make it happen." Donations may be made online at woodfordhumane.org, by mail to P.O. Box 44 Versailles, Ky. 40383, or dropped off at the Woodford Humane Society adoption center, 265 Thomas Lane (open Tuesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.) Additional dollars will be raised toward the $100,000 matching challenge at the Woodford Humane Society Summer Gala on July 22. Tickets may be purchased online. "Every dollar helps," said marketing director Beth Oleson. She cannot recall a donation opportunity of this magnitude during her tenure at the Woodford Humane Society, which began in 2008.

'KITTEN SEASON' at the Woodford Humane Society means about 70 percent of the more than 160 animals in its care last Thursday were felines, according to executive director Katie Hoffman. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

The Lucy Gay Bassett Memorial Fund was established to enrich the lives of the animals that rely on the Woodford Humane Society for a safe, happy, temporary home. Dollars from the fund will support an array of projects to enhance the physical and psychological well-being of homeless pets, according to a Woodford Humane Society news release. For example, providing more play and training opportunities for dogs and cats at the Woodford Humane Society shelter will "help us send home healthier, happy animals - and just make everybody's experience here better," said Oleson. In addition to addressing some immediate needs, Hoffman said donated dollars will be invested so they "can grow for years to come and continue to help us with day-to-day operations." The Woodford Humane Society had more than 160 animals in its care last Thursday afternoon, with about 70 percent of them being cats because "it is kitten season right now," Hoffman said. "Everybody here," she added, "is welcome to stay as long as it takes to find their home." Its longest-term resident, Wayne, a pit bull, has lived at the Woodford Humane Society for nearly three years. Because of his breed's reputation, Wayne and other pit bulls "sit longer waiting for homes" - regardless of how well they behave around other pets or children, said Oleson. On the flip side, she said, "It's kind of a testament to the way our staff and volunteers take care of them that they can still be happy and healthy after they've been living in a temporary home" for so long. Even with the good care they receive from volunteers at the Woodford Humane Society, Oleson knows, "It's never quite the same as being home." "One of these days the right (family) will come along and scoop (Wayne) up," said Hoffman, who also acknowledged, "We will all cry tears of joy when it happens." The Woodford Humane Society's placement rate for pets has climbed to about 95 percent, with the average cost to house an animal awaiting adoption around $300 to $400. This average cost includes dogs and cats adopted the next day and others - like Wayne - who stay much longer. It does not include the cost of non-routine medical care. "We're very, very lucky to be able to go above and beyond (in terms of veterinary care) thanks to our CHAMPS Emergency Medical Fund. So we do everything from treating heartworms - to we recently had a dog with a hip replacement," said Hoffman. She said volunteers help out in many different ways at the Woodford Humane Society. Some help clean while others help socialize animals or with upcoming events. Anyone interested in volunteering at the Woodford Humane Society must complete an orientation on the third Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

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