With summer weather finally arriving in the Northwoods, hiking and biking trails are quickly becoming a playground for many. The Oneida County Humane Society is emphasizing summer outdoor activities with their first Hike for Homeless Pets event on Sunday, June 23.
We recently spoke with OCHS President Anna Kazda on how the event will help provide permanent shelter for area animals.
Star Journal: Where did the idea behind the event come from?
Anna Kazda: We held a similar event in downtown Rhinelander last September called Pet Stroll and found great success in the city’s response to the event. Since we’re serving all of Oneida County, we decided to expand our event coverage area to better serve the folks on the western side of Oneida County. After browsing through the numerous hiking trails in the area, we chose the McNaughton trail for its variety in trail length and difficulty.
SJ: What is the registration process for the event?
AK: We’re taking pledges for the hiking event and pledge forms can be found online at ochspets.com. Those who pledge the most amount of money may be eligible for a variety of prizes including horseback riding and family bike rentals. We’re not requiring any preregistration and are encouraging anyone who is interested to join us at the McNaughton trail at 1 p.m. on June 23.
SJ: Are there any other upcoming events or fundraisers planned for the summer months?
AK: Yes, we’re having our very first street dance in downtown Rhinelander on July 27 from 4 to 9 p.m. We’ll be closing off portions of Brown Street for participants to come and enjoy live music, refreshments and prizes. We’re also holding a rummage sale on August 18 at Kim’s Cozy Cabin in Hazelhurst. All proceeds from both events help with operational expenses at the shelter.
SJ: How many animals are currently awaiting adoption at the humane society?
AK: We currently are housing 56 cats and 18 dogs that are looking to find their permanent home. Also, for the first time a long while, we have numerous small dogs and kittens available for adoption, so we encourage anyone looking to expand their household to stop by and take a look at our available pets.
SJ: What ways can people in the area get involved with the OCHS?
AK: We have a variety of ways that people can actively help our shelter. One area that we’re looking for volunteers is dog walking. Our dogs need to be walked daily and we’re looking for volunteers who could give an hour or two each week to help exercise the dogs. We hold a training class every third Sunday of the month for dog walkers, and anyone over the age of 18 is eligible to volunteer in this activity.
Another task that we need volunteers for is with cat and small animal socialization. Since we do have kittens at our shelter, we’re hoping to find a couple of people to interact with the smaller, young animals to prepare them for their lives ahead.
Our wish list of donation items includes everything from dog beds and tennis balls to dish soap and laundry detergent. Those looking to donate their time or animal goods may visit us at ochspets.org to learn more.