A Business Like No Other

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How would you like to run a business where your inventory is provided for free, people send you money just to help out, friends offer their time without pay and deals are often closed with a bark.  This is the business of the Humane Society of Redmond and so much more.

The Humane Society of Redmond is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the animals of Deschutes County and beyond.  We provide a refuge for the stray and unwanted animals in our region with excellent medical care, rehabilitation for the socially challenged and support for those lucky families that adopt one of our great animals.

Our business model is not as rosy as pictured above.  We indeed receive our dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and other animals for free.  But each is examined by our staff veterinarian and treated for medical problems which may have gone untended for some time, making recovery that much more difficult and costly.  Every dog and cat is spayed or neutered before adoption to limit the growth of local populations and even out their seasonal variation in temperament.  These medical costs alone, can and often do, exceed the adoption fee for these animals.

For those dogs and cats that arrive ill prepared to live in a home with people and other pets, we offer rehabilitation to renew their social skills to their nominal breed standards.  This work is performed by our trainers whose “never give up” attitude has renewed the spirit in a cowering border collie or turned the snarling snapping terrier into a face-licking lap warmer.  This work represents another investment in our animals which often goes unseen by the community.

For the very young or very infirm, animal lovers open their homes as foster families to tend to these most needy during their recovery.  Tiny kittens and puppies without mothers are bottle fed every few hours by our sleepless fosters. The old and infirm live out their final time in a loving home with a watchful eye maximizing the quality of life for these prideful friends.

Once at the shelter, these animals are offered to the community for adoption, equipped with the skills to ensure a lasting positive relationship with their adopters.  With our programs for matching our pets with responsible adopters, our animals don’t stay in our shelter very long.  But each and every day they are all fed, watered, cats roam the building and dogs enjoy the fresh air in outdoor runs.  Each dog run and cat cage is cleaned, every litter box changed, every food and water bowl sterilized and the shelter mopped from front to back providing a healthy environment for the animals.  The staff and volunteers that perform these tasks do so with a smile although difficult to imagine.

The investment in each of these animals is large and cannot be made up by adoption fees alone.  We are in a constant fund raising mode through donor development, events, grant writing, and any opportunity to bring resources to the shelter in support of the animals.  In these difficult financial times, when every other worthy non-profit is seeking the same funding, our challenge is to focus our message and provide the community with the information they need to propel us to the top of their donation list. The picture of a cute puppy or kitten also helps.

THRIFT STORE
One year ago we opened a Thrift Store to provide a steady stream of income for the shelter.  This tried and true adjunct to an animal shelter relies on the community to donate re-sellable items for the good of the animals. It’s proven to be a successful strategy with upside potential as we grow our business.  Beyond that, tireless volunteers collect bottles and cans adding to the shelters coffers.  We receive donated cars and boats to resell.  And the list goes on.

As our animal loving population ages, retires, and fall to illness, they don’t forget our shelter.  Wills, endowments, and trusts naming the HSR as beneficiary are yet another way for our friends to help us.  Lastly, the County Commissioners have helped us with loans that once kept us afloat and are now partially paid down with the remainder fully collateralized by our trusts, real estate and other assets.

Is this all enough?  As with all companies, you can’t help but think about how much more you could accomplish with greater resources and we’re no different.  Our list of improvements to our facilities, programs, and training, all focused on the animals are constantly in need of funding.

So if we were on CNBC with a microphone in our face, I guess we’d say:  expenses have been minimized and are under control, revenues are always in need of continued support but exhibit upside potential, competition is fierce but our messaging is clear, and when our community looks inside our doors and sees the work we do, they take pride in our organization.  Besides, we have the best product full of unlimited affection that never needs recharging.

Don Wayne is a member of the board of directors of the Humane Society of Redmond.1355 NE Hemlock Ave, Redmond, OR 97756, 541-923-0882, Shelter1@redmondhumane.org,  www.redmondhumane.org.

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