HAWLEY, PA — It’s been a banner year so far for the Dessin Animal Shelter as it celebrates its 45th anniversary and fifth FurrBall. This annual fundraising event, held on Saturday at the Inn at Woodloch Pines, was attended by 262 supporters—the biggest turnout ever according to organizers.
“We’ve had more sponsors than we’ve ever had in the past,” said Dessin’s executive director Dara Coslett Granza. In all, 45 raffle baskets were donated by 135 contributors, plus approximately $6,000 worth of items, including a kayak and diamond pendent that were given for the a auction.
“I really want to express our gratitude to all our donors and sponsors this year,” said Tammy Hardler, president of the board of directors. “I just can’t express how important it is to us for all of the people to give like they do…. That is our main lifeline, our donations. If we don’t have them, the shelter will not exist.
“You see it every day, different shelters, maybe towards western Pennsylvania, where they’re going out of business because they can’t sustain…. We’re fortunate. We’ve had tough times in the past, and this population in Wayne County seems to be able to keep us going. And it’s just amazing. It’s like I said, ‘This is a wonderful place to live, because when you have a need, these people just step up,’” Hardler said.
Money raised during the annual event goes to capital expenses, such as renovating the shelter’s outdoor kennels, repaving the parking lot, purchasing a new van and helping to offset veterinary bills in animal abuse cases.
Coslett Granza pointed to a number of animal cruelty and hoarding cases reported in the area, including the rescue of 61 beagles in September, an emaciated dog found abandoned in a Pike County home that is now recovering in foster care, and an ongoing case involving a puppy dragged behind a moving vehicle for more than a mile.
It’s hard to understand why anyone would harm such a defenseless animal. “They love you unconditionally. They almost sense your mood,” Coslett Granza said. She told how the other day, she was playing with a brindle pitbull that’s up for adoption. “She was wagging her tail and licking me and giving me her toy. They give so willingly, and I hope they forget, because some have been through so much,” she said.
In 2012, Dessin adopted out 700 animals, the most in the shelter’s history. “We’re a small, rural shelter,” Coslett Granza said. “To give 700 animals new, forever homes gives me goose bumps.”
An avid animal lover, Hardler talked about the importance of seeing that Dessin’s animals get the best care and find good homes. “And it’s not just dogs and cats,” she said. “We’ve had rats, pigs, sheep, horses, cows, ferrets, rabbits. We have just about everything come in there. We’ve had amphibians. We’ve had exotic birds. So, yes, the shelter takes in whatever animals are in need,” Hardler reported. “Now, I will say larger animals, such as livestock, horses and that, we have to find foster farms to help us because obviously we don’t have the facilities to hold them.”
Foster families are in high demand. “We need people who are willing to open their homes to take these animals in. And especially, believe it or not, cats, because we have a cat population issue in the county. There are always feral cats, and different cats coming in and we need to find homes,” Hardler said.
To become a foster family, contact the shelter at 570/253-4037.
When asked if the best part of the shelter is making that connection between a family and a pet, Hardler’s reply was immediate. “Absolutely. I think the most rewarding part is to see animals come in, especially animals that come from an abuse case or something like that, where a family takes them in and they’re able to match them with the perfect forever home. And then you see these people send us their happy-ending stories later on. And you just, you could cry because it’s such an emotional part of the job. And it just shows that we’re doing something right.”