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Furnishing furry friends

Work is underway on the new Superior-Douglas County humane society shelter at Bear Creek Park. Next week, the Humane Society of Douglas County kicks off a capital campaign to equip it. What is needed is everything that would fall out if you turne...

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Pumpkin Spice sits on a broken office chair near the washer and dryer that need to be replaced when the new Humane Society of Douglas County opens at Bear Creek Park in Superior. The Humane Society is kicking off a capital campaign. (Jed Carlson/jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

Work is underway on the new Superior-Douglas County humane society shelter at Bear Creek Park.

Next week, the Humane Society of Douglas County kicks off a capital campaign to equip it. What is needed is everything that would fall out if you turned the shelter upside down and shook it, said Sheila Keup, director of the humane society. The list ranges from a commercial grade washer and dryer to lab equipment and office chairs.

The new shelter has been six-plus years in the planning. Once built, the nearly $2 million, 6,300-square-foot shelter will house the animals from the 1970s-era stray-hold facility on Hill Avenue and the shelter operated by the Humane Society of Douglas County.

“I think it’s awesome,” said the Constance Nelson, a certified veterinary technician who works at the humane society. “I think it will provide better quality of care for the animals.”

The city is funding construction of the shelter.

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“The capital campaign is for everything else,” Keup said. Although the humane society is still tallying what is needed, the goal is to raise $300,000 or more.

Donations of various levels can earn businesses or individuals a chance to have their name attached to a dog kennel, cat cage or cat condo/play yard. There will also be a wall of plaques in the reception room for “animal agents,” individuals who donate $500 to the campaign.

Some of the current furnishings will travel to the new building. Others, like the humane society’s residential-grade washers and driers, need to be replaced. The expanded space calls for new items like chairs and tables for the community room. The wish list includes additional lab equipment that would increase their capabilities at the shelter. The humane society added a certified veterinary technician to its staff in July.

“She’s able to do so much,” Keup said. Nelson can draw blood, examine fecal samples and give physical examinations. She’s also on hand to explain animal behaviors to people interested in adopting them. The shelter works with local veterinarians, but performing services on site saves time and lowers stress on the animals.

Nelson has seen dramatic changes in pet behavior at the humane society. Carl, a 1-year-old cat who was surrendered, came in angry, screaming from stress and hissing at nearby cats. It’s common for young males reaching maturity to be territorial, Nelson said. But Carl was so stressed that a blanket had to be draped over his cage to calm him down. When the feline left for his forever home Saturday, his attitude had taken a 180-degree turn.

“You would never have known it was the same cat,” Nelson said. Shelter staff used quiet words, pats, brushing and time to socialize him. The blanket soon came off and the feline was no longer fazed by nearby cats.

“He changed and it was awesome to see that change,” Nelson said.

Staff members are excited to be able to bring that same level of care to a new facility. It will, Nelson said, “give them a better place to stay while waiting for a home.” As of Wednesday, the humane society was caring for seven dogs and 52 cats.

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Business leaders from the community are invited to attend the capital campaign kick-off, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Moose Lodge, 66 E. Fifth St. Any business interested in attending is asked to RSVP by today to 715-398-6784 or email sheila@hsdcpets.com .

A similar kick-off for individuals is in the works, Keup said, but people don’t have to wait to donate. Donations can be mailed to the Humane Society of Douglas County, 3302 Humane Society Road, South Range, WI 54874. People can also call the shelter for more information.

Related Topics: DOUGLAS COUNTYSUPERIOR
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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