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Written by Doreen Poreba
Martin County has come together in the wake of hurricanes and tragedies with kindness and compassion and now the same can be said of a pandemic. At least that has been the experience with the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast.
The two-month COVID-19 restrictions period — which included limited staff hours and visitor appointments — increased the need for people to volunteer to foster the shelter and thrift store pets. The local community responded tenfold!
During that time period, the HSTC adopted out 183 animals and fostered 350 pets.
“I want to thank people in the community for their support. It has been very powerful,” said HSTC President & CEO Frank Valente. “We’ve known for a long time that Martin County is a very special place and this community has shown nothing but amazing support during this time. We will continue to keep the safety of everyone our priority as we move forward.”
The community also responded generously to Giving Tuesday Now by donating more than $30,000, and to a “virtual” Mutt March after the originally scheduled “in person” event had to be canceled. With just 12 days to transform the event, the event raised nearly $14,000. The humane society also hosted other virtual events and provided food for the House of Hope’s pet food bank clients.
In May, volunteers with Misty’s Pals, the humane society’s pet therapy program, made window visits with residents of Symphony at Stuart, an assisted living facility. Typically, these volunteers and their trained pets spend time visiting with the residents indoors but due to the lockdown, they adapted their visit. Later that month, the volunteers led an upbeat vehicle parade at Port St. Lucie Rehabilitation and Healthcare as their residents sat outside holding signs of hope.
The humane society also allowed students to continue to get volunteer hours by creating enrichment items for its animals from the comfort of their homes. More than 250 hours were awarded to community students with no-contact volunteering.
The humane society’s two thrift stores in Stuart are now open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers are required to wear masks to enter stores and the total number of people in stores including staff and volunteers is limited.
All services at the Palm City shelter, including adoptions, are by appointment only during normal operating hours seven days a week. Call 772-223-8822 to book an appointment. For more information, visit the website, www.hstc1.org.
Sue Rice and her pet therapy dog, Enzo, volunteers with Misty’s Pals, making a window visit at Symphony of Stuart. PHOTO BY: Doreen Poreba
Jennifer Wysock’s dog, Joy, won “Cutest” and “Best Overall” in the virtual Mutt March’s costume contest. Contestants posted photos of their dogs online. PHOTO BY: Jennifer Wysock
Candace Cooney is all smiles with her newly adopted dog, Hunter. She adopted him during the COVID-19 restrictions. PHOTO BY: Nicole Cooney