Just a few days ago, we had our annual Paws & Claws event. Our events always touch my heart because it is so wonderful being with people who love and respect animals. In fact, I have a confession: I usually go home from the events teary-eyed because I am so grateful for all of the kind people who attend.

At Paws & Claws 2019, we announced a new fund to help shelter animals. It is named in honor of April Hogan, our shelter manager who has been with us for over 25 years. I feel like she has grown up at the shelter. In fact, April started volunteering at the shelter in her pre-teen years! This fund, approved by the board of directors will bear her name once we decide on a name.

When I approached April’s father, Tony Hyler who lives in the Chicago area, about this fund, I asked if he would like to send me a tribute to be read at the event. He did so much more than we ever expected. He spoke with April’s cousin, Chris Hyler, who owns Eden Jewelry in Martinsville. They donated $1,000 to begin the fund and then donated jewelry for us to sell during our event’s silent auction. The beginning balance for the fund is $2,600!

We have funds to help senior animals, fostered animals, lost animals, owned animals, and abused animals. However, we have always relied on funds from the $164,000 we receive from the City of Danville each year to help with the cost of operating the shelter. That money, though, must pay for shelter employees, food, vaccinations, shelter upkeep, etc. Our fundraising events help subsidize the costs.

The April Hyler Hogan Fund (or whatever it is called when April makes up her mind!) will help pay for veterinary treatment for shelter animals who have special needs that may keep them from being adopted. For instance, because we are an open-admission shelter, we receive animals who have injuries due to accidents or neglect; others we receive may have special needs because they were born with certain treatable conditions. In fact, it is difficult to list all of the plethora of conditions this fund will help treat and/or cure. As the fund was announced and as Chris Hyler gave me the check and set up the jewelry, my heart swelled with gratitude for good people who want to help animals. I am so thankful for April. She is not only the shelter manager, she is a friend and my dog’s god-mother! In this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful that my job comes with many blessings. One of the greatest is the privilege of being able to associate with kind-hearted people – at events, at the shelter, and in the community. Thank you for everything you do. There truly are no small acts of kindness; every act of humaneness has the potential to help. 

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