K93K and Dog Carnival

The K93K and Dog Carnival will be the Humane Society of the Black Hills annual summer event! Held right here at the Humane Society of the Black Hills, 1820 East St. Patrick Street, we’ll host a fun walk/run with vendors and activities.

You do NOT need to register for the fun run/walk to attend the Dog Carnival and visit the vendors and activities.

Learn more about this dog friendly walk/run and event to support the Humane Society of the Black Hills!

Puppypalooza is just another Tuesday

Jerry Steinley, Resource Development Director

Twenty-four dogs were brought to the Humane Society of the Black Hills on Thursday, Dec. 21 – eight adults and 16 puppies from the Eagle Butte shelter. The hallway outside the medical exam room was filled with puppies – some too young to move much, but others were active, jumping, full of energy, generally ready to get started with their lives in homes with carpet, shoes, toys. You know, things to chew up.

I thought of it then as Puppypalooza because, frankly, I hadn’t been at the Humane Society long enough to become immune to the spectacle of the adorable puppy parade and thought, naively, it was something unique.

Jump forward to February 2018 and it’s a flashback to last December – Puppypalooza. More than a dozen puppies fill the hallways with their energy and chatter. Brown ones. White ones. Brown and white ones. Turns out I’m still not immune to the spectacle and tend to turn to co-workers and say “Did you see all the puppies?” To which I usually get a cursory confirmation that, yes, in fact they had seen all of the puppies.

It’s really not that unique at the Humane Society of the Black Hills to take in packs of puppies or litters of kittens. We do take in more than 4,700 animals each year, after all, so 15 puppies might mean it’s just another Tuesday.

All of those 4,700 animals were different in breed or color, temperament and age. The one commonality they shared was the care they received here by a staff that goes above and beyond to keep them healthy and occupied until the right person walks in the front door to adopt them.

The other thing they shared in common was that, before they are adopted, they were spayed or neutered. The mission at the Humane Society of the Black Hills is to care for the lost, homeless, and forgotten. Part of that mission includes responsible management of the animal population in our community and that means reducing the number of lost, homeless, and forgotten animals in the first place.

But don’t worry about puppies; they don’t spend long at the Humane Society. While their older counterparts may be here for weeks or months, puppies have the super power of being terribly cute and the ability to flash those hypnotic puppy eyes that promise years of devotion and quality lap time.

So if you’re thinking about adding a puppy to your world, keep an eye on our website for available ones. Because after these puppies have received their initial medical care and are old enough to be spayed or neutered, you’ll see their photos indicating they’re ready to go home.

And then we’ll open the doors for another litter that needs help growing up and getting out into the world.

And even though the puppy parade will take place again and again and again, I think I’ll stick with Puppypalooza and with my naïve fascination of puppies lining the hallways. I’d prefer to not see puppies at all – their parents be spayed or neutered – but until they quit showing up, I’m just going to celebrate them for the bit of magic they bring to my day. Even if it is just another Tuesday.

Ear Benders… Reading to Animals at the Humane Society

Ethan was the first official participant in a very young program at the Humane Society of the Black Hills. Along with his mother Amy and Humane Society board member Ron Sasso, Ethan spent just less than an hour reading to cats in January.

Eight-year-old Ethan and his mother, Amy Burke, visited the Humane Society’s cat room, Purassic Park, early in January to spend some time reading to cats. The cats seemed to enjoy the company and Ethan was content reading Star Wars and “Read to Tiger” with the feline audience.

“I was impressed that he read for a full 45 minutes. He doesn’t normally do that,” Amy said.

Ethan does read at home, Amy pointed out, and the family dog often listens in. But she figured reading at the Humane Society could be considered something of an educational experience to reinforce in her son the value in helping others and giving back. Besides, reading to cats at the Humane Society was a way for Ethan to get in his nightly second-grade reading requirements in a different way.

“There was absolutely no nagging with this one. He was excited,” Amy said.

We were excited, too, to be honest, because Ethan and Amy were the first of what we hope will be many more young readers bending a kennel animals’ ear.

Reading to animals is actually an established program I hadn’t really heard of until it came up here at the Humane Society. The activity in many shelters is geared towards shy dogs as a way to socialize them and ready them for adoption; we will aim for that goal as well if we have the opportunity down the road. But another clear benefit of reading to animals is how it helps the young reader: animals provide a non-judgmental audience in a relaxed environment; animals don’t interrupt; and, they’ll spend as much time listening as a person will spend reading.

Amy said she first heard about reading to animals from her friend (and Mats and Cats yoga instructor) Laura Armstrong about a year ago. Both knowing Ethan was an animal lover and he was just starting to really read, they figured reading to animals might work in that equation some day.

That day finally came in January when the Burke’s, along with Humane Society board member Ron Sasso, stopped in for the first official reading to animals visit.

Like I mentioned, Reading to Animals is just a seed of a program at the Humane Society of the Black Hills but early reviews (okay, one review and it was Amy saying it met expectations and she wouldn’t mind coming back) are positive so we’ll keep moving forward. Moving forward at this point means having a private, enclosed space we can bring dogs in for young readers and we should have this space available in the next month.

For the Humane Society, supporting a program to bring young readers in for quality time with animals is a win-win: reading skills are developed, animals get attention, and we get to be part of that and, maybe, develop a program that will assist young readers years down the road.

Whatever reading to animals becomes, we’ll do our best because reading to animals not only helps the animals but it also provides children with the lifelong skill of knowing how to gather information about the world, evaluate the information, and then make good decisions based on it. If the Humane Society of the Black Hills helps one young student become a better reader, and one young reader helps socialize a shy animal, then this program will be a success.

by Jerry Steinley, Resource Development Director