Saturday, April 20, 2024

Furry Friends Feature: 2023 Impact Report Reveals Lives Transformed

The Heritage Humane Society announces its 2023 Impact Report revealing a steady flow of heartwarming adoptions, a jump in volunteer hours, a decade of the Kibble Kitchen, and a popular new spot for camps and birthdays.

In 2023, The Heritage Humane Society had 1,343 pets adopted. The community continues its momentum to adopt their pets versus shopping from breeders or stores. This approach saves pet lives and helps curb the pet overpopulation issue. The Heritage Humane Society also celebrates reuniting 211 lost pets with their owners, 66 pets transferred to rescue partners, and a 93.34% live animal outcome for a total of 1,907 pets.

Of the 1,343 pets adopted, 357 were dogs, 98 were smaller pets such as rabbits or hamsters, 18 were career cats heading to be mousers at farms and area businesses, and the largest number of adoptions were 870 cats who found their forever homes. One of the biggest highlights comes with 191 adoptions being completed at Schwartzy’s Cat Cove centrally located at The Nautical Dog in New Town. Opened in July 2022, this outpost has been a delight to area cat lovers looking to engage with adoptable cats in an open environment.

“The Greater Williamsburg community has a lot to celebrate with the successes revealed in The Heritage Humane Society’s 2023 Impact Report and I thank our staff, supporters, volunteers and area organizations who continue to come together and offer vital support as we work together on solutions to best care for our area’s animal welfare particularly during these constantly changing times,” shares Kimberly Laska, CAWA, Executive Director of The Heritage Humane Society.

Hands-on for paws-on care

Volunteer hours jumped 21% to 20,874 up from 17,233 in 2022. Beyond those hours are fosters who in 2023, cared around the clock for 867 neonatal kittens and puppies, pregnant and nursing homeless pets, shelter animals needing one-on-one socialization to prepare for adoption and medical cases. This represents a 23% increase over 2022, and The Heritage Humane Society welcomes people interested in becoming foster volunteers. Fosters enjoy the ability to work hands-on with homeless pets and are supported with supplies, training and access to animal care staff.

Dog-gone good training

Key to adopting a dog, whether through The Heritage Humane Society or elsewhere, is training. Teaching good behavior and fair expectations sets up success for the relationship between dogs and their human families. In 2023, 229 dogs attended a variety of dog training classes at The Heritage Humane Society. Led by certified Dog Training Instructor Adam Claar, he is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge and Skills Assessed, and a Canine Good Citizen, STAR puppy, and Trick Dog evaluator for the American Kennel Club.

Life of the paw-ty

When the shelter expanded in 2022, it added a multi use classroom for activities within the shelter as well as a space that could be rented for community meetings and events and private gatherings. In 2023, The Heritage Humane Society welcomed Kendell Thomas, Humane Education & Activities Manager. Since joining, Thomas has increased the shelter’s Humane Education Program outreach and engagement particularly with area children. In 2023, The Heritage Humane Society welcomed Kendell Thomas, Humane Education & Activities Manager. Since joining, Thomas has increased the shelter’s Humane Education Program outreach and engagement particularly with area children. In 2023, 1,067 area children engaged with The Heritage Humane Society through Animal Aces Kids Club, Birthday Parties, Animal Camp, Movie Nights and school visits. From  leading drawing contests featuring adoptable shelter pets to vision board-making, yoga with kittens and puppies to helping kids make dog treats, Thomas is easily known as the shelter’s Manager of Fun.

Art project the Animal Aces Kids’ Club did to promote HHS’s adoptable pets

Community events for everyone

The Heritage Humane Society hosted or was a part of over ninety community events in 2023. From hosting Greater Williamsburg’s buzziest charity golf tournament Make Par for Pets, closing out summer with Drool in the Pool, inscribing red bows on the Holiday Fur Tree, dancing along to Paws in the Air, and for those setting personal records whether it be at the springtime FURever Homes Race or topping their gift spending at the beloved annual Holiday Bazaar, and so much more, the shelter met the community in a variety of supportive settings. The HHS Auxiliary plays a key role in providing creativity and support for the shelter and welcomes those interested in joining the HHS Auxiliary.

Chewing on 10 years of Kibble Kitchen & Beyond

Ten years ago, The Heritage Humane Society introduced its community outreach program to help pets stay with their families during trying times. The Kibble Kitchen & Beyond is designed to temporarily help a pet owner who finds themself going through an unexpected hardship by supplying food, litter and other pet supplies so they can focus on stabilizing their situation while staying united with their furry friend. In 2023, the shelter continued its distribution partnerships with Williamsburg House of Mercy and Grove Christian Outreach in addition to distribution at The Heritage Humane Society.

Adopt a pet, transform not just their life, but yours, too

The shelter is filled with homeless pets who are just as eager to have forever homes. Nearly 160 dogs, cats and small pets are currently in their care. Adoptable pets are available to meet during The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours from 12 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. through Sun.

To learn more, visit, call 757-221-0150, or visit The Heritage Humane Society located at 430 Waller Mill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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