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    A Letter to the Editor in the March 25, 2014, Tomahawk Leader:

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Mead

    Several years ago, before I became the manager at LCHS, I arrived at work one sunny day and was told, “There may not be enough money in our account for payroll next week.” The moment is frozen in my mind – not the panic about what a part-time employee who attended college full time would do, but what would happen to the animals, to the community, without a shelter? I remember sitting down with other employees trying to figure out how to care for the animals if the doors of LCHS would indeed close permanently. I remember watching as lines of people showed up to support the shelter and donations arrived in droves. I remember the gratitude the shelter workers felt as we realized our amazing community cared too much for animals to allow the shelter to close. I remember things changing rapidly, the coming months brought a new core of volunteers, staff changes, and a vow to become fiscally stable in order to show our supporters that we were worth their generous investment.

    … Policies have changed, people have come and gone, lessons learned, and the vision for a better future continued to grow. Of the 1,000 animals that found shelter in the humane society in 2013, fewer than 20 cats and dogs were euthanized and only because they were aggressive or sick to the point of suffering. Adoption rates have steadily increased, low-cost spay and neuter has been established and offered to the public, and it became clear what the next step in our journey needed to be – a new building.

    The shelter was built in 1979 and modifications have been made to it ever since. It is showing its age and the wear and tear of around-the-clock care for thousands of animals over the years. Also, the approach to animal sheltering is much different now than it was 35 years ago. … The vision for a new building has been growing and we are counting on our community once again. You saved us from closing the doors once before … can you help us to build the new doors that will provide a better life for the animals in our care?

    The building fund officially began in 2012 … I imagined the amount of money needed, which was more than $700,000, would take years and years to accomplish.

    I have never been so happy to admit I was wrong. Our building fund is almost at $500,000. …

    We are again asking for your help. This place is a temporary haven for the homeless, a place of healing for those who need to learn to love and trust again, a small part of a larger dream that no animal need ever be homeless, abused and unwanted. Join the dreamers who are going to make our part of the world a better place for homeless animals.

    Call the shelter (715-536-3459; 200 N. Memorial Dr., Merrill, WI 54452) or visit our website furrypets.com to find out more about the project and how you can help.

    Liz Friedenfels
    Lincoln County Humane Society

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