Online fundraising effort to help shelter with vet bills
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The AuSable Valley Animal Shelter, with help from an online fundraising effort, is currently trying to raise money to help the non-profit organization with one of the operation’s biggest financial hurdles: veterinary bills.
Cheryl Postma, Director of the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter, said the organization receives a lot of donations from area businesses and individuals, but because the shelter is not tax-funded, and because it is a non-profit, fundraising efforts have to be constant.
“We’re always trying to raise money,” Postma said.
Gray Rock Pub & Grub hosted a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the Animal Shelter on Sunday. A few other local businesses have come up with some creative ways to raise money for the shelter, Postma said. The fundraising effort also includes an annual golf outing in the summer.
Ilene Geiss-Wilson of the Grayling Visitors Bureau recently created a GoFundMe page – www.gofundme.com/avas-vet-bills – with a goal of generating $3,000 to help the shelter pay for vet bills.
The shelter officially adopted a no-kill policy and rules prior to moving into its current facility in 2007, Postma said, and veterinary bills are a constant expense.
Postma said the animal hospital “is very patient with us, but we are frequently behind on payments there. One of our biggest monthly drags is veterinary bills.”
Other costs of the operation include taxes, labor, and utilities.
“We use a lot of electricity,” Postma said.
On the plus side, Postma said that area residents have almost eliminated the Animal Shelter’s food bills through consistent donations.
“The community has been remarkable about donations of dog food and cat food,” Postma said.
(The Animal Shelter has a list of acceptable food types on its website – www.ausablevalleyanimal shelter.org – for people who would like to join the donation effort.)
The shelter can support close to 50 animals at one time. Currently, the facility is a little lower than normal on its population of dogs, Postma said.
“We can hold 20 cats and 27 dogs. That’s our maximum capacity,” Postma said.
Many people also donate time to the shelter by volunteering to help with a variety of chores at the facility, including dog-walking. Postma said the care given to the animals by volunteers is a big part of the process in finding homes for the dogs and cats that end up at the shelter.
“Our dogs are more ready for adoption because of the volunteers walking them,” Postma said.
Some volunteers come in to interact with the animals, which helps the dogs and cats get along better with people and other animals, part of the process that Postma said is “very important.”
Interested in being a volunteer at the AuSable Valley Animal Shelter? Contact the facility at (989) 348-4117.
“Or just show up on a Saturday,” Postma said.
The shelter – located at the Crawford County Sports Complex (Crawford County Fairgrounds) – opens at 10 a.m.
As of 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the GoFundMe page had raised $1,950 out of its $3,000 goal.
Wilson said people can donate to the shelter without going through the website.
“If you aren’t comfortable with donating through GoFundMe but are willing to contribute, send a check to AVAS, P.O. Box 384, and mark it for vet bills,” Wilson said.
The shelter will soon launch another fundraising effort: raffle tickets for a kayak. Not just any kayak, though. A Crystal Kayak. It’s made of transparent material, giving a glimpse of everything in the water below the kayak.
Postma said tickets will be available at the shelter, the upcoming Business Expo, and several other area locations. Tickets will be $10 apiece. The drawing will be held in July during the weekend of the AuSable River Canoe Marathon, Postma said.