Did you see our local businesses invaded with green Paw Prints during the month of June? Over 20 places were selling these paws that said “I helped Raise the Woof on Jackson County’s FIRST animal shelter.” We are very thankful for everyone who participated in this fundraiser and helped to bring in over $1400! This fundraiser was also a contest to see which business could raise the most money selling paws and I am happy to announce that….

Hometown Community Bank in Braselton is our winner!

They collected $376 and were rewarded with delicious cupcakes from Just Desserts Bakery in Jefferson. Funopolis Family Fun Center came in second place by collecting $273. It was a great fundraiser for the Raise the Woof campaign and we appreciate everyone’s hard work. Special thanks to the businesses who continue to sell paw prints! Below is a list of businesses who participated. Please thank them for supporting HSJC and the Raise the Woof campaign next time you are shopping local.

Cupcakes from Just Desserts Bakery in Jefferson
Last night, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the vote that allows County staff to move forward with negotiations for a land lease agreement and a service agreement with the Humane Society of Jackson County for Jackson County’s first animal shelter! Over 25 supporters attended the meeting and applauded after Roxane Rose made a few statements. There were even a few tears in the room as the vote was approved. It was a great night and an awesome accomplishment for the Humane Society and the Shelter Committee.

Please see the press release prepared by the Humane Society below.

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The proposed piece of property is located off General Jackson Blvd behind the Health Department in the Courthouse Complex.
Many of you know about the search for land on which to build an animal shelter and our efforts in securing a long-term lease with the County. We are happy to announce that the Humane Society of Jackson County will be on the agenda for the next Board of Commissioner’s meeting on June 11th. If you are interested in helping to make this shelter a reality, please join the HSJC Board of Directors, Shelter Committee, and HSJC supporters at this very important meeting. If you have a HSJC shirt, please wear it. Also, an HSJC representative will be waiting outside with RAISE THE WOOF stickers. Below is the agenda item that the Commissioners will be voting on. Please let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for your support!

Monday, June 11, 2012
6:00 PM
Jury Assembly Room at the Jackson County Courthouse
5000 Jackson Parkway
Jefferson, Georgia 30549

Agenda Item Purpose: Authorize staff to negotiate a long term property lease with the Humane Society of Jackson County to allow them to construct and operate an animal shelter on property owned by Jackson County. Also, authorize staff to negotiate an agreement related to the County’s utilization of the Humane Society’s Animal Shelter once it is completed and in operation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE QUEST FOR LAND: Please see click HERE for a blog posting from March 3, 2012.
I have a couple of thank you’s that I wanted to share with everyone. We had some extra special young people helping out with the Raise the Woof project in the past couple of months…

First of all, I want to say thank you Brownie Troup # 11919. They purchased a brick to help Raise the Woof on Jackson County’s first animal shelter! They enjoyed a fun evening watching one of our foster dogs, Rosie, in a training session.

Second, I have a big shout out to Coach Randy Hill’s Senior Leadership class at East Jackson Comprehensive High School. I met Coach Hill at the Foliage Festival in Jefferson. He thought that the Raise the Woof campaign was the perfect project for the senior class service project. After talking with his class, they were really excited and wanted to get started right away. They came up with lots of great ideas on ways to fund raise at the high school. After narrowing it down to a few ideas, they settled on giving out stickers for donations and a raffle basket full of items donated by HSJC, a basket donated by ReTail (the Humane Society’s thrift store), and other goodies collected by the students. They sold raffle tickets and collect donations for three days in the lunchroom and collected $387.05! So many thanks to the EJCHS for helping to “Raise the Woof”!!

Over the past couple of weeks, I have received several brick orders from HSJC members who have recently lost their “canine soulmates” that will be “forever loved.” I started the brick campaign as a fundraiser, but as time has gone by, I realize that it is much more than just a way to make money – It is an awesome way for people to remember their loved ones. I can only imagine the feelings that people will have as they find a brick that remembers their favorite pet or family member.  I am happy to be able to offer this remembrance to people who are grieving. Other bricks have been purchased in honor of family members, businesses, and groups. I’m sure I will purchase one for my family and the time we have all dedicated to the shelter project.

There are two brick sizes and prices: $100 for an 8X8 and $50 for a 4X8. The exact placement and color of the bricks will be determined when the building is designed. The engraving is limited to 18 spaces and the number of lines depends on the size. Brick stress relievers with the Raise the Woof logo are available for $3 and are a great way to tell someone that you have purchased them a brick.  Additionally, a certificate will be mailed back to you after the order form is received. You can download the brick order form here and mail it to HSJC, PO Box 567, Jefferson, GA 30549. Brick order forms and brick stress relievers can also be purchased at Second Impressions - Clothing and Home Decor Consignment  Shop and HSJC’s thrift store, ReTail.

Please let me know if you have any questions about the brick sale, the campaign, or HSJC. Hope you all have a great week and weekend!

Recently, I met with a lady who raised a lot of money for the Commerce Library. I really wanted to pick her brain about how she did it and find out what her thoughts are on the shelter project. I left there feeling very encouraged. While I was talking with her, she asked me why I became involved with HSJC and the shelter project. I never realized that this was important to people and I, honestly, don’t want people to think that I am some crazed animal rescue worker so I usually don’t share it. However, it was mentioned that my story was critical to the project and that I needed to share it. So, I will tell you my story….

When I graduated college from Middle Tennessee State University, I moved to Athens to obtain my master’s in Poultry Science. After I graduated and found a job in a hatchery, I moved to Jackson County in 2007 – it was a halfway point for my job and my husband’s job. I have always been a dog person. I grew up with golden retrievers and a boxer and in 2007, I had two boxers of my own. I started looking around for some way to get involved and realized that Jackson County does not have any type of animal shelter. I couldn’t believe it! I just thought that was a standard amenity in every county. I started volunteering with HSJC in the Fall of 2007. I worked a few adoption days and festivals – my first event was Turtle Trek in Jefferson and I have this great picture of me holding a foster puppy! I didn’t know my role in HSJC, but I knew that I needed to help this organization get an animal shelter built. The next winter, I was asked to sit on the PetFest committee. I had so much fun! It turned out to be a great event and I loved it. For the next three years, I would occasionally foster and attend adoption days, but PetFest was my forte! My second PetFest, I was eight months pregnant so that was a challenging year. Exactly a month later, we were blessed with the most perfect little baby and she totally rocked my world! I went back to work at the hatchery when she was 12 weeks old and I STRUGGLED with leaving her and working such terrible hours. I realized that I needed a change and started looking into non-profit work. I heard a rumor that there might be a position opening up with HSJC and that I might want to wait a bit before I made any changes. I quit work in January and decided to pursue my PhD (that I had been working on for several years) full time. After spending months at school and the farm, I realized my heart wasn’t in school and I heard they were interviewing for the shelter campaign director. So, here I am today! I got my dream job and hope to make a huge difference for Jackson County.

Why do I think Jackson County needs a shelter? An animal shelter is a community resource that our county is lacking. Not only, do the citizens not have a location to take stray and unwanted animals, but there isn’t anywhere to adopt animals. I have had at least 3 strays wander up in our neighborhood and I hear the same stories from people all the time. The CITIZENS of Jackson County need an animal shelter, but the animals need a safe haven too.  I realize that you can’t save them all and I think I am very practical about animal rescue, but the animals of Jackson County need a better option than what is available right now.

What is your story? Sharing your story about the importance of an animal shelter and your interest in the betterment of our county is one of the most important things you can do to help the campaign. One of the easiest ways to do this is to open your home, invite your friends over, and talk about the shelter project. Surely, you know 10 people who are animal lovers who need to know what is going on. Let’s get together and talk! Feel free to call me to set up a meeting and we will get started sharing the message of our need for an animal shelter.  What action are YOU going to take to help make this shelter a reality? I challenge each of you to not be indifferent to the lack of animal shelter resources in our county.

Ginger, my first foster dog, showed up with a hole in her chest, sarcoptic mange, and extremely skinny! I nursed her back to health twice and she now has an amazing family.
The past several months have been spent working on acquiring a long-term lease on a Jackson County-owned piece of land. We have spent many hours meeting with County Commissioners and the County Manager.  It all began in March of 2011 when the shelter committee presented to the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and requested the county provide a long-term lease on a parcel of land that is suitable for an animal shelter. Unfortunately, the request was made at the same meeting as the former County Manager resigned. We left the ball in the county’s hands for months – 6 months to be exact. One Commissioner stepped up and asked the interim County Manager to get the ball rolling. Finally, we met with the interim manager and one Commissioner to look over the proposed master plan for the County’s land surrounding the Courthouse. Two sites were identified as possible locations for the shelter and we were sent to visit with the engineer who designed the master plan to discuss those two locations. After a few weeks, he indicated which of the two sites would be better suited to our needs. In our minds, the location was suitable. Everyone knew our capital campaign budget and what we wanted in the shelter.

 The next step was to meet with the Commissioners. We met with all but one and they all indicated they would vote in favor of our request. The only stipulation was that we waited until the new County Manager was in office. So, we waited…again. We were on Kevin’s agenda for his first week in Jackson County. Several meetings later, he felt we were ready to meet with the Commissioners again.

Our final meetings! We were ecstatic! The Commissioners generally agreed to our request and we were anticipating that we would be put back on the agenda for the next BOC meeting. In the meeting, it was mentioned that we might want to check with the City Manager about sewer and water at that property. A call was made to him that morning. He reviewed the property and determined that water was available on the property, BUT sewer was not and it would cost an estimated $500,000 to get sewer to the shelter.  $500,000! Our entire budget for the project is $750,000 to $1,000,000!

So, here we are…back at the beginning. This time we have put it in the County’s hands to identify a better location. Yes, we picked that spot, but we thought we had good information that the location would work and we were trying to get the ball rolling by choosing a parcel. We didn’t ask the county to let us choose a spot and approve it – We asked for them to identify and approve the location. So, it’s in their hands. I truly thought my next blog post would be to invite you all to a Board of Commissioner’s meeting for your support as they voted.

And rather than waiting patiently for the County, we are moving forward and actively pursuing land owners who may be willing to donate land that would be suitable for a shelter. Although we truly hoped to work with the county and help with the animal control problems, a private donation of land would be ideal. If you know of anyone who would be interested in a huge tax deduction and helping a great cause, please let me know.

My sweet boxer, Haley, has been with me through the fun college days to the lonely graduate school days to happily married life and more. We always said that she was like a cat with nine lives because we kept thinking that her time was up, but she always managed to pull through. She lived through two knee replacements, several tumor removals, two heart episodes (where she actually stopped breathing and turned blue!), and many other ailments. Through everything, I could always count on Haley to be a smiling face at the door. No matter where we were or what we were doing, Haley always thought that everyone was there to see her and everyone loved her like we did. She had the longest tongue and loved to use it! Haley loved the water and jumping off the dock into the lake. There are so many things that I can say about Haley and a few sentences can’t say enough about her amazing personality and how much I cared for her.

For the past couple of weeks, Haley hadn’t been feeling good. A few weeks ago, I took her to the vet because she just didn’t want to get up and had of pain in her abdomen. They said she had a UTI and probably some arthritic pain in her back. She took her antibiotics and pain medicine and seemed to do okay. Then on Sunday, she had a little episode of “weakness.” I called Dr. Shannon and she seemed to think it was pain from her back so I picked up the stronger pain medicine on Monday morning. Monday and Tuesday went by without any problems. Wednesday morning was different. Haley was so slow coming in from outside. She was usually slow, but this was definitely slower than usual. She laid around all morning and I could tell something was different. Roxane and I were working on the Shelter Business Plan, but I was too distracted by Haley’s obvious worsening condition. So, Evie and I took Haley to Shannon Vet Services. After some discussion of the actual problem, Dr. Shannon came back to the office and said that it was time to let her go. Apparently, she was bleeding into her abdomen from a tumor somewhere inside. Obviously, that’s my non-vet language. For several hours, I stood next to Haley and loved on her. Brian came over. Roxane was there and helped with Evie. I’ll never forget burying my head in neck and saying goodbye. We all said goodbye and held her until the end.  After much discussion, we decided to have Haley cremated by Northeast Georgia Pet Cremations. For some of you this may seem strange, but I really wanted her to be with my other family dogs in Tennessee so we felt this was the easiest way to make that happen. It was a very easy process and it should be when people are dealing with a loss. I would definitely recommend this route if it fits your needs. So, many thanks to Dr. Shannon, her wonderful staff, Northeast Georgia Pet Cremations, and Roxane for helping to ease the process.

I have awesome news! This week, we received our first grant! It is a Pedigree Foundation grant that we applied for during September and it is specifically for “Shelter” use.  I got the news on Wednesday that we had a check for $891! Many thanks to the Pedigree Foundation for awarding this grant to the Humane Society of Jackson County’s Raise the Woof campaign. YEAH!!

Also, If you were thinking of giving an engraved brick as a Christmas present, there is still time! They can now be purchased at the Humane Society’s thrift store, ReTail, or by mailing in your order form. ReTail also carries the brick stress relievers to commemorate your purchase. Personalized certificates are available too.

With the end of the year approaching and the tax season upon us, I hope that you consider a donation to the Raise the Woof campaign for your last minute charitable giving tax deductions.  We are SO close to having a piece of land. I hope that in the coming days I can tell you that will officially be on the agenda for the Board of Commissioners meeting.  With the architects at Urban Design Group ready to go, once we have the land, the only thing that will be holding back the building is funding. If you are interested in supporting the shelter project, now is the time! We need your donations to continue to move forward with making Jackson County a better place for homeless animals.  Donations can be made here or checks can be mailed to HSJC, PO Box 567, Jefferson, GA 30549.

Well, it has been a busy couple of weeks! I apologize for the delay in a blog posting, but I will gladly catch you up now…

November started out with the Jefferson Holiday Market. We had our table of wares and spent a lot of time talking to the attendees. It was surprising to me the number of Jackson County citizens that don’t know about the current “situation” with animal services in our county. It reinforced the idea that we need to spend more time educating the citizens on the lack and need of shelter services. I will be looking out for any opportunities to spread our message!

That same weekend we had a Wine Tasting donor event at one of our board member’s home. It was a lot of fun and brought in over $250 for the RTW campaign. We had about 20 ladies and each brought a bottle of wine for everyone to taste! It was a great excuse to get together and have a great time. Don’t you want to host a party like this?

The Gold Party was a huge success! I would like to say thank you to Leonard and Walter of Tri-County Gold and Silver in Hoschton. Our attendees were walking away with big checks (some over $1,000!) and these resulted in big profits for HSJC. To-date, Tri-County has donated $960 to HSJC! I say “to-date” because you can still take any old gold or silver to their store, tell them we sent you, and they will make another donation to us.

After attending the Atlanta Pet Expo and the Braselton Holiday Festival, we wrapped up November with Pictures with Santa at PetSense in Commerce. I always love seeing the different dogs and their owners. Tracy aka Mrs. Claus from Doggie Stylers’ Pet Grooming in Jefferson was on hand for any “hair emergencies” and Karen from Karen Ginn Photography photographed over 17 “children.” I was the only one who brought a two-legged child. You can see her picture below. I think it’s safe to say she wasn’t too happy.  

I think that wraps up November! I’m looking for December activities – if you are having a holiday party and would be gracious enough to let me come and speak about the shelter project, you have an easy “donor event” that helps raise the woof! Thanks for reading the blog and your interest in the shelter project. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!