About Houlton Humane Society
The purpose of the Houlton Humane Society is to prevent cruelty and to encourage and educate humane treatment towards animals. The shelter strives to aid and comfort strayed, neglected and abandoned companion animals. The shelter provides, without profit: care, treatment, food and shelter to all the animals in the facility. Our commitment to these animals is to provide, protect and promise to keep them safe until their permanent home is found.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Heather Miller, Executive Director & Agent
Catherine Davis, President
Cara Maples, First Vice President
Linda Sewall, Second Vice President
Lois Jeffery, Treasurer
Laura Marley, Secretary
We are actively seeking individuals interested in board positions. Annual election of officers is in October.
History of the Houlton Humane Society
The Houlton Humane Society was established in the 1950’s from an old barn at Burleigh Heights. There was no shelter building, just some dog pens set up on the floor, and cats ran loose. There was also no formal adoption process, and the operation was informal: just some nice people who cared for the animals and a group of individuals who did their best to find them homes.
Richard Lawlis and Sharon Clark embarked on a capital campaign to raise money to build a physical shelter space. They found a piece of land on the Callaghan Road and partnered with Anson Tabor, a local contractor. Tabor built small ranch style homes and was able to donate labor and materials to build a small shelter on the new property.
The facility was still very primitive: no hot water, no sinks, just a bathtub and three banks of used cages that were donated by Loring Air Force Base. Crawford Mobile Homes donated a trailer to be set on the sight, and caretakers were hired. The caretakers were given free rent in the trailer in exchange for their work at the shelter. There was little money back then, no contracts with the towns and few donations, so paying the light and heat bills was a tremendous struggle.
In 1986, hot water was installed in the dog room, and Richard Lawlis donated a utility sink for the bathroom. The space was opened up, cages moved around, cupboards were built, and vinyl flooring laid down. A small office space was built, and runs were set up outdoors for the dogs. (The dogs never had outdoor runs before.)
Over the years the Houlton Humane Society has applied for grants and used that money to build additions for more room for cats, put new walls up for the dog cages to prevent injury on the wire, put in “quarantine” cages in the dog room as required by law, etc. Every year more and more (and more) animals came to the shelter. The building, meant to house 35 animals, regularly was home to three times that number.
In order to assure full-time reliable staff, the Houlton Humane Society went from a volunteer organization to paid staff along with volunteers, and as an effort to assure funds to cover payroll, the Houlton Humane Society initiated a contract arrangement with member towns to pay for services provided by the shelter. In 1986, the budget was $11,000 a year. In 2011, the budget is expected to be $150,000. Compared to most shelters, this is an extremely small budget.
Many shelters south of Bangor operate on a budget of $1,000,000 or more, so the Houlton Humane Society is very proud of our staff and volunteers for keeping costs under control.
In the late 1990’s the Houlton Humane Society began to discuss the possibility of constructing a new building – the old building was quite literally falling apart from all the daily use of hot water and cleaning materials, and a capital campaign began. We received “seed money” from Leland and Margaret Ludwig in the amount of $25,000 toward this new building, the Houlton Rotary donated $5,000 and we contracted with a local engineer to draw up plans after the staff and board designed a building that they felt would best work for their needs.
Staff and volunteers continued to fundraise for this project and then we received news that Evelyn Lawry had passed away and left her entire estate to the Houlton Humane Society! With all the other money that had been raised, and this new donation, it was time to plan the new building!
The Houlton Humane Society opened its new building doors in 2007! Designed to be “green”, this is an “ICF” building (insulted concrete form) from New Form Building Systems, with radiant heat, energy-efficient lighting, water-resistant wall coverings, and metal roofing. The Houlton Humane Society had officially transitioned from a “pound” to a clean, bright, spacious, no-kill facility.
Visitors to the shelter will enjoy the spacious reception area, paneled in warm rich cedar, donated by Katahdin Forest Products, they will notice the beautiful maple conference table and kitchen cupboards, donated by Donald Carvin, they will pass by the food prep room where a stainless steel prep sink dominates the area, donated by Karen and Gary Stairs. The new stainless cages are clean and comfortable for the pets so that their time at the shelter is stress free and relaxed. The warm and friendly staff can be found cleaning cages or cuddling with an animal, doing laundry or walking dogs. It is our goal to assure that every minute spent in the shelter is safe, healthy, and stress free.
I Am An Animal Rescuer (Author Unknown)
My job is to assist God’s creatures
I was born with the drive to fulfill their needs
I take in helpless, unwanted, homeless creatures
without planning or selection
I have bought cat food with my last dime
I have patted a mangy head with a bare hand
I have hugged someone vicious and afraid
I have fallen in love a thousand times
And I have cried into the fur of a lifeless body
too many times to count
I have animal friends and friends who have animal friends
I don’t often use the word “pet”
I notice those lost at the road side and my heart aches
I will hand raise a field mouse and make friends with a vulture
I know of no creature unworthy of my time
I want to live forever if there aren’t animals in Heaven
But I believe there are
Why would God make something so perfect and leave it behind
Some may think we are master of the animals
But the animals have mastered themselves
Something people still haven’t learned
War and abuse make me hurt for the world
But a rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind
We are a quiet but determined army
And we are making a difference every day
There is nothing more necessary than warming an orphan
Nothing more rewarding than saving a life
No higher recognition than watching them thrive
There is no greater joy than seeing a baby play
who only days ago, was too weak to eat
By the love of those who I’ve been privileged to rescue
I have been rescued
I know what true unconditional love really is
for I’ve seen it shining in the eyes of so many
Grateful for so little
I am an Animal Rescuer
My work is never done
My home is never quiet
My wallet is always empty
But my heart is always full