What’s cooking at the Humane Society of Marion County (HSMC)? So far this year, more than 2,000 canine and feline adoptions and a new Belly Rub Recipes cookbook that highlights some of those matchups.
The nonproﬁt no-kill shelter does not receive federal or state funding and relies on donations and proceeds from its thrift store, as well as from fundraisers like their recent Art for Animals Celebration and the upcoming dinner and magic/ comedy show, featuring the 2018 Florida Magician of the Year Todd Bogue, on November 13th at the Ocala Moose Lodge.
The idea for the cookbook fundraiser was born out of the changes brought about by the pandemic, according to Director of Humane Education Amanda Thurber.“Our beautiful Magic Bark Bus, designed to bring animals and pet education to young members of the community, has not been able to visit schools since early 2020. We’re patiently waiting to come back; we miss the kids,” she explains. “While we are waiting, we wanted to give back to the community and let them know about our successful adoptions and, since people are staying in, what better thing to do than read a wonderful story and make a recipe. The books are $20; $25 if we ship it, and a lot of people are getting them as Christmas gifts.”
And speaking of Christmas, from 5-8:30pm on December 8th, the HSMC will host Santa Paws on the downtown square, with Santa and Mrs. Claus posing for photos with people and pets. The event will include vendors and family activities.
Austin Burnett is the HSMC Outreach Coordinator and organizes such activities, as well as adoption events at venues such as PetSmart.
“When we do events, we put it out there that we have fun and that’s what the Humane Society is all about,” he oﬀers. “It’s not like the commercials with the sad animals. I like to encourage people to celebrate the animals lives we have saved. We ﬁnd them great homes and while they are with us volunteers walk them and we’ve got our new splash pad that they’ll be having a ton of fun on. We try to make it as fun as possible for us and the animals.”
And, Thurber adds, “I haven’t seen an animal here that a staﬀ member has not fallen in love with. We treat them like our own pets,” to which Burnett chimes in, “If you hang out with us, you’ll see tears roll down our faces as our favorite animals get adopted—but they are happy tears.”
The Humane Society of Marion County shelter is at 701 NW 14th Road, (352) 873-7387; the thrift store at 110 NW 10th Street is open from 8:30am- 3pm, Monday-Saturday and oﬀers donation pick- ups, (352) 732-8424.
For more information, visit thehsmc.org