A truly humane commitment

Published 8:33 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012

There was something fitting about the fact that on the day the Suffolk Humane Society celebrated the opening of its new office in Driver, volunteers were called to rescue an abandoned dog suffering from severe health problems.

“Hope,” as the emaciated dog with an advanced skin problem was quickly named, provides a fine example of the kind of work the Humane Society does for abandoned and uncared-for animals in Suffolk.

When they were told the dog was wandering along the roadside nearby, volunteers on Saturday quickly abandoned preparations for the grand opening celebration and took off to find her. She’s now being treated for demodectic mange and has been placed in foster care until she can recover and be put up for adoption, according to Kay Hurley, a Humane Society spokeswoman.

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The volunteers’ quick action to help a suffering animal probably saved that animal’s life, and their desire to show it love and compassion speak to the sense of humanity the organization’s name implies. Not all animals the organization attempts to rescue or connect with families through adoption have such a traumatic history, but they’re all treated with love and respect.

Without the members of the Suffolk Humane Society, many more animals would suffer and die along roadsides in Suffolk, and many more would finally be euthanized at the city’s Animal Shelter. But it’s not just the people like Hurley, who are on the front lines of the fight to help animals, who make a difference. People like Alison Dodson, a prominent North Suffolk retailer, also contribute.

In Dodson’s case, the contribution came in the form of a building she was willing to rent to the Humane Society at a low rate and for a long term. The organization had found itself homeless after a former landlord wound up needing to re-take the space the Humane Society was using. Dodson, whose business’s mission statement stresses community mindedness, saw their need, saw a way she could help and stepped in with a plan to do so.

Now, after several months refurbishing the building to provide a meet-and-greet room, an area housing rescued cats and kittens destined for the society’s “adoptathon” events and general office space, the Humane Society has a fine facility in a prime location where it can continue its work on behalf of animals in Suffolk.

The organization’s members — and Dodson, in particular — deserve high praise for their commitment.