Pet-A-Palooza, a furry event
With stray and unwanted animals continuing to be an epidemic across the nation, the Driftless area is not immune. But the Driftless Humane Society works day in day out helping rehome animals that have just as much right to live as humans do.
Pet-A-Palooza is the first of what the Driftless is hoping becomes a successful annual event.
Established fifteen years ago, Driftless is a non-profit organization that relies heavily on donations and volunteers to ensure that any animal that comes to there building is well taken care of, giving them the best opportunity for adoption and a happy life that they deserve. The organizations funding comes through adoptions, donations, and fundraisers like this one.
The event had a Smooch-A-Pooch stand, informative demonstrations, a kid play area, bake sale, and representatives from the Viroqua Bark Park. Visitors were also able to tour the facility and visit with a wide variety of dogs and cats available for adoption.
Although the vast majority of animals that Driftless sees are cats and dogs, from time to time they will see both exotic animals and wildlife find their way to what can easily be considered not only a safe haven, but a second chance at a good life.
“Struggles are keeping the shelter able to operate,” said Kennel Manager Mary Fremstad. “We do have a volunteer system, but we had to hire staff to keep sustainability, to make sure the animals were taken care of and the building maintained.”
Money is always an issue and Driftless is always seeking enough food donations for the animals. Fremstad said they “always strive to educate the public on what they need, and what the animals need to be in a place like this for people to adopt them.” She acknowledged that it takes a lot of people, money, and supplies to operate properly.
The number of animals at the Driftless varies on a regular basis. “It’s really up and down. Two weeks ago, we were down to 4 or 5 dogs, and now we are at over 20,” said Linda Kica, Driftless’ Executive Director. “We are trying to foster and adopt, but the adoption costs don’t cover our cost for the animals. We don’t want to charge too much, otherwise no one is going to want to adopt. We do a good job on intake of getting the animals cleaned up, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered.”
Driftless has a fairly easy and well-defined adoption process that includes proper vetting of potential adopters. Adopters fill out an application, go through a reference check, and a vet check. “We have about a week turnaround time for adoption,” Kica said, adding, “We make sure the pets forever home is a good fit.” She admitted that some animals can be a challenge to place due to emotional sensitivities like separation anxiety, and referenced the kennels unofficial mascot and tour guide Mo-Mo.
“He hates being left alone, and when by himself can chew through a fence, which makes him harder to adopt.” Said Kica. But, Mo-Mo seemed rather content on being a tour guide.
In addition to dogs, right now the Driftless has some adult cats and an abundance of kittens available for adoption.
Kica and Fremstad, having both worked at Driftless the past 2 ½ years, agree that everyone at their home albeit temporary, are reasonably happy.