The Humane Society of St. Lucie County operates as an open admission, no-kill shelter, which means that they have a policy of never turning away a stranded pet in need, regardless of their breed, age, or medical history if the pet is found in the city of Port St. Lucie and brought to the shelter. However, it's important to note that the Humane Society always strives to provide resources and support to pet owners in order to help them keep their pets whenever possible! They actively encourage individuals to explore alternative options before considering surrendering their pets to the shelter.
I had the honor of touring the facility and seeing the different dogs and cats living here for the time being. The staff and volunteers at the facility work so hard to take care of these homeless pets. They have pools, jungle gyms, and open fenced-in areas for them to run, and get spoiled with love. The team created an enrichment program that gets the dogs outside to play for an extended length of time, instead of just that standard potty break. The cats have an entire room for them to play in, along with ‘kitty condos’ to give them an ample amount of roaming space. Although this sounds great for the pets, they are just waiting here in the interim while we work to find their forever homes. In a shelter that is built to hold under 40 dogs, they are currently running at nearly 60. In other words - they need our help! So, how can we do this? What can our community do to help these pets in need?
First and foremost, if you are able to open your home to foster while the team continues to work to find homes, please do! There is nothing better than getting these dogs and cats in a home where it’s quieter, cooler, and comfier, while we continue the search for their forever homes. In addition, if you are looking for a new piece of the family, consider adopting from them. They offer a multitude of services to help you get started like providing “starter kits”, grooming, vaccines, spay/neuter, a week of online training and microchips upon taking the dog home. They also have a “Home to Home” program. This program was created for people who come to them saying they need to surrender their pet, but may be able to hold onto the pet while they create a profile and promote this pet all over the media to try finding a home for it in the meantime. This way, that pet never has to step foot into the shelter! It goes from your home, to the next person who's ready to take it in.
Now you might be thinking “I want to help, but it’s not the right time”, but that’s false! There are still other ways that you can help. Do you have towels, sheets, beds or blankets that you don’t need anymore? Don’t throw them away! Donate them to the shelter to be used for many different reasons. They do 15-20 loads of laundry A DAY, and it’s still not enough, so please consider donating items if they aren’t needed any longer. If you’re interested in donating food, please grab the specific & healthy brand of Hill’s Science Diet. Treats and toys will also never be turned away!
Something that I took away from this meeting that really got to me, was how they are helping countless amounts of cats and dogs, continuously needing more, yet still find a way to help the community. If off-brand food is donated to them and can’t be used for one reason or another, they create a “Pet Food Pantry”. This is a program where they will donate the food to other members of the community who may be in need. For example, if they can’t find the right brand or can’t afford it at the moment, they donate the food or treats to those who need it to keep that pet fed! Additionally, they gave out over 800 free vaccines last year alone to those in need throughout the community of owners that couldn’t afford them.
They have adopted out over 1000 cats and dogs in 2022 alone and are continuously coming up with new ways to help the community AND pets. Looking to get involved? Please check out their website! hsslc.org