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Bigbee Humane does not ‘paws’ to save dogs

If you like dogs, then you’ll love the Bigbee Humane Society. The organization saved over 200 dogs last year and, since January, they have taken in another 68 dogs, including 30 puppies.

“Our main focus is strays and local animal control centers,” Whitney Niehoff, one of three volunteers at the facility, described where they normally rescue their dogs from.

“Taking in” dogs requires a lot more effort — and money — than you might think.

Each dog is spayed or neutered, given vaccinations and taken to the vet for any other health issues. Dogs that are heartworm-positive are dewormed at a cost of $300 to $500 per dog. All of this is at the expense of the humane society.

Overall, their vet bill alone is around $3,500 per month. And the care the dogs receive doesn’t stop with medical.

Volunteers feed, wash, walk and play with all of the dogs at the facility. Some dogs need to learn to socialize before being adopted.

“A lot of them that come in haven’t had a lot of human contact,” Niehoff said. Her favorite part of volunteering for the humane society is watching the dogs come out of their shells.

After some time, dogs are sent to other rescue centers or adopted by loving families.

The humane society holds two or three fundraisers a year but aren’t able to meet their needs with fundraising alone. They rely on donations and support from the Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Store to fund the facility.

“With having a limited number of volunteers, we don’t really have time to do everything,” Niehoff said.

Some of Niehoff’s responsibilities include intake, vet records, adoption and transportation. She has been volunteering for four years, after answering an initial call on Facebook for help needed.

“I went up there and starting helping and realized how hard it was for the two women who were currently working there, and it just started from there,” she said.

Niehoff and the other two volunteers each put in about 25 hours of work per week.

The humane society is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and Sundays, but they ask that anyone looking to adopt fill out an application before visiting.

Applications are available on their Facebook page “Bigbee Humane Society,” as are adoption fees. Donations to the thrift store can also be arranged on their page “Bigbee Humane Society Thrift Store.”

For more information about how to adopt or support either organization, contact them via Facebook or bigbeehumane@gmail.com.

(This column originally appeared in the Wednesday, March 28 issue of the Demopolis Times.)