Event promotes pet adoption, Humane Society

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Diane Donaldson scratches Mufasa, a dog up for adoption, recently at the Humane Society of Northwest Montana. (Daniel McKay / Whitefish Pilot)

Hoping to raise awareness about the positives of adopting a pet, Whitefish High School students will host a “Paws with a Cause” fundraiser during the boys varsity basketball game Friday, Jan. 20.

The event is organized by the high school’s DECA club, or Distributive Education Clubs of America club, which focuses on preparing students for careers in the business world through projects and community involvement. The fundraiser will benefit the Humane Society of Northwest Montana. The game begins at 6 p.m. at the high school.

Nitara Meads, president of DECA at WHS, said the event is all about getting prospective pet owners to think of adoption first.

“The amount of people who right away, when they think about getting a new dog, they think of going to a breeder,” Meads said. “Dogs in shelters can get a bad reputation because people think they’re in the shelter for a bad reason, but a lot of times they’re actually really good dogs who would be good fits for families.”

During halftime of the boys varsity game, a speaker from the Humane Society will discuss animal adoption in the Valley and the efforts of the Humane Society. During the game, an informational booth will be set up to offer adoption information and paperwork for anyone interested, along with a book of all animals currently up for adoption.

Whitefish artist Colt Idol will also donate a print of his original artwork as part of silent auction. The winner will be announced after the third quarter of the game.

Money raised during the event will help the Humane Society pay for things like training and medication for the animals, Meads said.

While the event is a fundraiser, Meads said the primary focus is raising awareness of these animals waiting for a home.

“It wasn’t so much about finances of it, because there are programs in place so the Humane Society does have funding, but it’s more about raising awareness and making an event where we bring the subject into the light,” she said. “It’s more of the message than the money.”

Meads said the idea for the event came from her and others’ positive experiences with adopted pets. Many of her past pets have been adopted, she said.

The feedback they’ve gotten for the project has been great, she said.

“Everyone we’ve talked to is really excited because they all have similar stories about what we’re trying to spread. So far everything has been really positive and it’s a cause a lot of people have been excited about,” Meads said.

The Humane Society of Northwest Montana is located on 14 acres off U.S. Highway 93 south of Whitefish. The facility has helped more than 1,900 pets find adoptive homes since its construction in 2004. Currently there are eight dogs and 14 cats available for adoption at the Humane Society.

For more information, visit http://www.humanesocietypets.com/ or email nitaram168@whitefishschools.org.

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