13 Days of Gratitude


Welcome to 13 Days of Gratitude, 13 stories of kindness, compassion and generosity that we will be sharing this month that have allowed our shelter to provide above and beyond care to many of the senior, special needs and other animal guests that we’ve been lucky enough to meet over the years.

Some of these pets are still searching for their forever home and we hope that by sharing these stories, our friends on Facebook will help us to spread the word about the work we do here at Western Hills Humane Society.

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    13 Days of Gratitude | Showing Gratitude Today ... and Everyday!
    November 29, 2016
    President John F. Kennedy has said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” Being appreciated is a gift and there are many to whom we are grateful for. Saying “thank you” means a lot to all of us and more than that, it is a sign of respect to the person who has helped in some way. It’s proof that we are not taken for granted and recognition that we truly matter.   And here at the Western Hills Humane Society, we have staff, volunteers, partners, business leaders and community members who don’t just talk the talk; they take action and do what needs to be done – truly an example of living and leading everyday. Every week homeless, abandoned and surrendered dogs and cats are adopted from the Western Hills Humane Society. Some have been at our shelter for quite a long time and some have above and beyond needs of care. As a no-kill shelter, we don’t take lightly the fact that our job demands some long days and difficult decisions. With each guest that is adopted, while we collectively share a sigh of relief, there is no doubt that, if they could, each animal would thank everyone who assisted them through their journey (sometimes long) to find a loving home. And while they cannot vocalize a thank you, we’d like to do it for them. As we kick off our “13 Days of Gratitude” series, we’d like to thank the many people who have helped us along the way and share stories about some of our guests who have found their “furever” home and their humans that made it all possible. The mission of the Western Hills Humane Society is to protect and enhance the lives of animals in need in Lawrence County by providing shelter, medical care, spay and neutering, adoptions and to encourage responsible pet ownership through education. We can’t do this alone and thankfully we don’t. But still our needs are great. Today is Giving Tuesday, which is a movement focused on giving to non-profits across the nation - whether it’s some of your time, a donation, gift or the power of your voice in your local community. To say that 2016 was a challenging year for us at the shelter is an understatement and it’s true that we are in need of financial donations to remain committed to our mission. Would you consider making a donation today? Donate online here - thank you! If you can’t make a financial donation, we invite you to learn about our volunteer opportunities assisting our staff in the office, socializing and walking our guests and caring for our facility. We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.  
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    12-Year-Old Tel Learns First Hand the Joy of Responsible Pet Companionship
    November 30, 2016
    Today’s youth are the heart of our shelter. Our donors start at a young age, with lemonade stands, bake sales, birthday parties and volunteering weekly. Our animals enjoy their young friends, and we enjoy the children’s energy. Often these kids have adopted from our shelter and have learned first hand the joy of responsible pet companionship. We love this touching (and funny!) story from 12-year-old, Tel Trohkimoinen, and how the pets in his life made him smile. "I would like to share my story about my trips to the Western Hills Humane Society. I went there about three years ago, and I found a cat that had been there for a long time. He was an orange and white cat who reminded me of a crabby old man, and I could kind-of see why nobody wanted him. He was fat and didn't like people very well. He was 10 years old! He was older than me at the time!" "I decided I should take him home with me because I was sad that he was old and did not have a home to call his own. He came home, hid under my dresser for a day, and finally came out and started eating. We changed his name to Lump (from Scrapper) because he was just like a lump on my bed. He NEVER moved, unless he was hungry or thirsty. He loved to lay curled up on my bed. Sadly he passed away about six months after we got him. I was happy he passed away in a home where he was loved. We all loved that grumpy old cat. After Lump passed away, my parents let us adopt again. This time we got two cats. I picked out a pure black cat (I have heard that sometimes they do not get adopted as much since they are rather ordinary looking) This cat was named Max. He was such a sweet cat. When we first got him, he only weighed about 8 pounds and after having him for a month or two we noticed he would crawl into the cat food bag and just eat nonstop. We started putting the cat food in a garbage can with a lid. We weighed him one day out of curiosity and he weighed 12 pounds! He grew 4 pounds, he was like a real life Garfield. He was a great cat. We got him at the same time we adopted my brother's cat, Sonny. They were good friends. He was only about 5-6 years old when he passed away. One day I was playing with a ball with him, the next he had passed away. Sonny is still around, though. Then I got my cat Peaches, the weirdest cat I have ever seen. When I went to the shelter and met Peaches, I was actually kind of intimidated of her at first because I was petting her and then she would bite me. Becky at the shelter told me she was not mean, just awkward. Besides being awkward she is a little funny looking. She is a tortoise shell calico with a 1/2 a tail that she uses like a propeller. Every time I went to the shelter I would visit Peaches. After a couple different visits, I decided that we should bring her home because I was afraid she would not get a home because she was so awkward. I am glad I took the chance. She is nine right now. She is so weird, but I love her a ton. She had been at the shelter for 2 years! She is such a sweetheart, she is still awkward but I now find it a bit endearing. I still have her and she is healthy as she could be. Peaches is very independent and does not want a lot of attention, but she does like to sleep with me every night. Most recently we decided to adopt a dog Whiskers to be my inside dog. Whiskers is an eight-year-old Jack Russell Terrier/Shih-Tzu cross. He is as ugly as they come, he has wiry hair and a massive underbite. But he loves our family and gets along with our big dog, Norm. He is a great dog and is very playful. Whiskers also has a funny personality. He loves us all, but he is especially attached to my Mom. When Mom leaves for work, he sleeps by the door and waits for her. Whiskers also only likes listening to Mom. If my Dad, Brother or I try to tell Whiskers what to do, he barks and growls at us. If you try to put Whiskers out to go potty when he does not feel like it and you try to force the issue, he is not afraid to bite you. Lucky for us, it does not hurt much due to his underbite, he can't grip all that well. Overall, he is a good dog and he really does seem to like his new home. We love him regardless of his spoiled tendencies. I feel thankful that I could give older pets a good home until the end. Thank you, Western Hills Hill Humane Society for letting me get all my pets from you!" - Tel Trohkimoinen     It's stories like Tel's that bring joy and smiles to our days too! And Tel is an excellent writer, isn't he? Thank you to Tel and his family for opening their home and hearts to some special animals. We are so grateful for families like you! Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid's programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.    
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 3 | Ruby
    December 2, 2016
    Older pets make wonderful pets! It's true. We have been so lucky to help some of our older guests find their forever home. What a blessing that is - not only for our senior dogs and cats but for their wonder humans as well. Ruby was surrendered to WHHS when her elderly owner could no longer care for her. Rather old herself she settled in at the shelter as the office dog and spent her days wandering aimlessly around checking out all that was happening and taking comfy naps wherever she found suitable. Some wonderful volunteers offered to foster Ruby and she made herself at home there as well. Shortly after Mary called the shelter and without even meeting Ruby told us the old gal belonged with her … and the very next day she was! We are so glad that Ruby was able to enjoy her final year with Mary, where we are quite certain she was spoiled quite a lot! Mary sent us a few letters after she adopted Ruby: August 3, 2015 – Greetings from Ruby. Ruby is a very sweet girl who has new friends in Piedmont now: Spencer (an 8 year old Border Collie), Maggie (a 9 year old Siberian Husky), and Diesel (a morbidly obese 10 year old cat.) Ruby says “thank you” to all of you at the shelter in Spearfish for taking such good care of her. Also, please let her former owners and the kind foils who took her in for foster care that she has a good home and is quite happy here. She gets along with them all. She takes short walks down my road and strolls around the backyard and front yard daily. She has a good appetite and the vet says she is very healthy. She just celebrated her 14th birthday in style. December 15, 2015 – Ruby has a calm disposition and happy attitude. She is deaf and toothless and has beginning cataracts (or dogaracts, as the case may be.) She gets along well with her new pack. (The cat is on a diet). Ruby enjoys feng shui as a hobby. She rearranges the throw pillows on the couch where she naps by burrowing her head and shifting the pillows, often on the floor. She believes that this will bring good fortune to the household. Ruby still likes to wander in the front and back yards, taking time to inspect the vegetation or lifting her head to feel the breeze beneath her ears. Then it is back to the house for a nap. Ruby send her best to all at the shelter and wishes everyone a fur-ever home in the very near future. When we contacted Mary to see if Ruby would like to be featured in our calendar we received the following message: "I am very sorry to tell you that Ruby died late last month, 2 days after she turned 15. She had been dwindling over the month and was almost totally blind. She developed some intestinal problems and between my vet and me, we decided it would be merciful to let her go peacefully. She is greatly missed. I am so grateful for the almost 15 months that I shared with her. Deaf, mute and toothless, she enjoyed exploring the outdoors and tagged along with her much bigger brother (border collie) and sister (Siberian husky). She was a good eater and enjoyed a lot of naps during the day." Yes, old dogs are the best. When we adopt old dogs, we realize that they will leave us sooner than younger ones. But we realize everybody needs love. And, we have very good memories of them. Ruby would have loved to see the calendar! I will show it to my cat and other 2 dogs. They will be suitably impressed. "To Mary and all who have fostered and adopted senior pets – Thank You! The love of a senior is the absolute best….but you already know that!" - from all of us at Western Hills Humane Society   WHSS SENIORS FOR SENIORS PROGRAM Western Hills Humane Society is pleased to offer a new program called Seniors for Seniors. Rediscover the joys of having a furry companion that is mutually beneficial and enriching. Our program matches senior dogs and cats (typically over 8 years) with senior citizens in the Spearfish, South Dakota area who are at least 62 years young. Studies show that opening our homes to pets can give a sense of responsibility, increased alertness and sense of security, paired with unconditional love and affection which is impossible to calculate for the Senior. Older pets make wonderful pets! Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.  
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 4 | Kate
    December 2, 2016
    Sometimes a dog fits into our lives perfectly, like Kate! Kate arrived at Western Hills Humane Society a terrified dog. Although she was adopted out once, and despite the family’s best intentions for her to bond with them, she ended back up at the shelter. In stepped Tracy…. "As a professional trainer and breeder of border collies, how did I end up with this wonderful little English shepherd? To make a long story short, little Kate fell into my lap, and I offered to train her up free for the shelter, lol...ok we all knew I was going to keep her! Kate has fit into our lives perfectly. She is an awesome house dog, will work sheep, I'm getting her ready to show in obedience, and has made an over the top loyal all around great pup to do any kind of activity with. Kate is 100% in tune with my every move. I'm truly blessed to have her in my life! In truth Kate's best attribute, is not her obedience or herding talents, but that she is soooo bonded to me. She is absolutely perfect to live with. I know that's hard for some people to understand and not that big of a deal. In a kennel full of working dogs, Kate is my mellow child and my go-to dog when I need a dog to just be a dog! I guess she is my only true "pet", lol. I'm so glad you guys helped her into my life 🙂 Thanks, Tracy Kobberdahl." WHSS SUMMER READING PROGRAM Youth have the chance to practice reading aloud to supportive, enthusiastic — and four-legged — listeners during the Spearfish summer reading program. The months of June and July 2016 we had bi-weekly readers at WHHS. Reading program participants marked time on their reading logs when they come to the shelter to read to the dogs and cats, and in addition to the reading the youth did activities promoting responsible pet ownership!   Some dogs are meant to be a part of our lives! Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 5 | Fred & Barney
    December 4, 2016
    If not for the kindness of passersby and the belief in the value of rescued animals, yellow Labrador retrievers Fred and Barney could have died as strays in the forest near Tinton Road on a freezing winter day in December. Instead, they are currently in training at the South Dakota Canine Center to become service dogs. “I think it’s so amazing that, potentially, somebody’s discarded garbage ends up saving lives,” Tiffany Carlson, one of the people who spent hours wrangling the dogs when they were found, said. She explained that her neighbor, Christie Jensen, and Jensen’s son, Liam, found one of the dogs along Tinton Road acting strangely. They were concerned that it was signaling that another person or dog was still out in the forest, so they kept looking and called Carlson for her help. They got some dog food and a leash, split up, and eventually found another yellow lab, who, in his fear and exhaustion, ran from the group until he was eventually cornered. Carlson described that he barked at them for hours until he was so tired he eventually started falling asleep between barks. However, the group kept speaking calmly, and with Liam’s help, eventually got close enough to get the dog on a leash. “You could see the relief on his face,” Carlson said, describing that both dogs seemed confused about why they were out in the forest, had scarring on their faces, and did not look like they were anybody’s pet at the time. She said they both seemed traumatized by the experience. “It was (a case of the) right place, right time, because it was getting freezing cold,” Carlson added. The Jensens contacted Mike Welchynski, director of the Spirit of the Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, who took the dogs in and got them healthy, and Becky Rankin, director of the Western Hills Humane Society, brought the dogs, whom she named Fred and Barney, to the shelter in April. It just happened that Kellee Matthews, who with her husband, Tim, owns the South Dakota Canine Center on the outskirts of Sturgis, stopped in to the shelter to say hello to the staff recently while her sons were at basketball camp at Black Hills State University. As she walked through the building, she noticed a few dogs that looked like potential service dog candidates, so she arranged to come back later that day for a full evaluation of five of the dogs — two of which happened to be yellow Labrador retrievers. “Fred and Barney were so, so temperamentally solid and had a fair amount of play drive, so we immediately identified them as service dog candidates,” Matthews said, adding that her 10-year-old son, Colton, said, “Mom, these two are just perfect. We have to take them home and find jobs for them!” “He was absolutely correct,” she said, describing that during the first visit, both Fred and Barney were happy and engaged, carrying toys in their mouths and seemingly asking Matthews to notice them in a “very sweet and relaxed way.” Fred and Barney have started training at the South Dakota Canine Center, and Matthews said that their final placement details are not yet known. “We stay open-minded about our recruits,” she said. “We believe strongly that they will show us the path they want to travel and that we are kind of ‘travel agents.’” Dogs at the South Dakota Canine Center might go into a variety of fields, including explosives, narcotics, evidence, seizure alert, bed bugs, service dogs, facilities dogs, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), etc., and training for any of the fields can take approximately six months to one year to complete. The Matthews will work with Fred and Barney through their evaluations and medical clearances and make recommendations in terms of final placements. The dogs would then be pre-matched with a client who has identified individual needs, and each dog would be trained for that specific person. “Our hope for these boys is that they may be life-changing best friends for two very lucky people,” Matthews said. “We know they are amazing, and we are just waiting to see where their journey leads them and what amazing things they will do.” The family-run South Dakota Canine Center is committed to saving dogs’ lives and making people aware of the value of all dogs in the world, and since relocating to the Black Hills four years ago, it has had more than 150 dogs move through its kennel as potential candidates. Matthews said that all are shelter/rescue dogs who have been given up on by someone or found as strays. Tim travels to 10 Midwestern states, searching shelters for dogs with the talents often considered “annoying or intolerable by pet owners — but we see their potential to serve an amazing purpose of finding disaster victims, detecting explosives, drugs, bed bugs, and providing the service to disabled people to help make their lives better,” Matthews said. “Since our inception here, we have helped close to 100 dogs move into these important careers and have rehomed another 50-plus shelter dogs into pet homes.” She pointed to the important partnerships between the various organizations working to rehome stray or abandoned animals. “Our relationship with shelters and rescues is critical,” Matthews said. “We have to get them to believe in our program and to be our eyes in the field. We can't be everywhere, all the time, so we spend considerable time and effort training shelter staff to identify these talented dogs and outreach to keep the relationships strong. It takes a village!” And the village involved in Fred and Barney’s rescue is thrilled to see the outcome of the story that could have ended very differently in December. Carlson said she got “goosebumps” when she heard the dogs were in training. “I think it’s just a testament to what animals can go through and persevere,” she said. “I’m just a huge proponent of rescuing an animal from a shelter. I think it’s just wonderful that they can go and do and make such an amazing difference in the world.” Carlson urged people to take the extra time to help someone or something in need: “It really could turn into something wonderful,” she said. “We are so thrilled to have found Fred and Barney — two gorgeous and sweet local boys,” Matthews added. “We are so, so excited to see where they are headed!” By Kaija Swisher, Black Hills Pioneer Western Hills Humane Society went home from our 3rd annual Cause for Paws fundraiser with gratitude in our hearts. Many, many friends of the shelter came out to support us at Crow Peak Brewing Company. Businesses all over the Black Hills and many private citizens donated to our live and silent auction. We are humbled but the outpouring of support. This event helps us to continue our mission. Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 6 | Bright Eyes
    December 4, 2016
    Bright Eyes was born at Western Hills Humane Society on 07-09-16, along with 4 other siblings, a perfect duplicate of her mother; a beautiful, tailless muted calico. After a vet checkup when Bright Eyes was about 9 weeks old we learned that this sweet baby was born with Manx Syndrome, a form of spina bifida where the spinal cord and vertebrae fail to develop properly. A few traits of this syndrome include: a bunny-hop gait, incontinence, weakness in the hind legs and no tail. It was no surprise that Bright Eyes was the smallest of the bunch but as she grew, her larger than life personality began to take shape. Outspoken, adventurous, playful and cuddly; when it was bath-time she would purr loudly, shoot off running around the office lobby, then snuggle up in her towel for some loves and kisses. Staff and volunteers were dedicated to keeping her clean and comfortable, bathing her daily as needed. We knew that it was going to take an exceptional family to adopt this special needs kitty, but Bright Eyes, now Maggie Mae found her devoted family who showers her with unconditional love. Maggie Mae’s mom is amazed at her ability to adapt to any environment, saying that she’s comfortable everywhere, enjoys car rides and romping around with her two Chihuahua sisters. She looks like one happy kitty to us! Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 7 | Kasey
    December 6, 2016
    A New Life and a New Hiking Buddy It had been about five years since I had a dog.  It was so difficult losing my Bassett that I wasn’t sure I would get another one, but persistent dog-owning friends kept reminding me of how much pleasure they brought to your life.  The last straw was when some young friends asked me to dog-sit their Labrador when they were on their honeymoon. About a week later, I was at Western Hills Humane Society looking for a new dog.  I had seen one on their web site, but when I got there, I could tell that he was not the dog I wanted. Rather than just letting me walk away,  Becky, the director, talked to me about what kind of dogs I had in the past and what I thought I wanted in a new dog. Eventually, she said she knew the perfect dog and took me to meet Kasey.  She is a 2 1/2 year old white English Lab.  And Becky was right.  I came back three times to play with her and get to know her before Becky and I agreed this was a good match. I was impressed that they wanted to make sure this would be a permanent adoption, rather than only wanting to move their dogs out of the shelter.  It's obvious that Kasey had some difficulties in her early life.  She is still scared of some types of people and she didn’t know what to do with a toy when I first got her, but that is all changing. And Becky was right. I came back three times to play with her and get to know her before Becky and I agreed this was a good match. I was impressed that they wanted to make sure this would be a permanent adoption, rather than only wanting to move their dogs out of the shelter.  It's obvious that Kasey had some difficulties in her early life. She is still scared of some types of people and she didn’t know what to do with a toy when I first got her, but that is all changing.  It's a slow process, but the reward is in seeing her become the happy, goofy dog she was meant to be and I couldn’t be happier with my new hiking companion. Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.  
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 8 | Miss Grace
    December 7, 2016
    Senior cats make great pets. Often our senior dogs and cats have special needs and required care which means they can stay with us longer. Miss Grace found her "furever" home through the gift of foster care! Maybe there is a place in your heart and home for one of our senior guests - either as a foster human or forever human? Read on... My name is Miss Grace, formally knows as Teddy, and I was found and came to the Western Hills Humane Society in April of 2015 under unknown circumstances. I was extremely thin and had matted hair and bad teeth so I was given a shave and my teeth were extracted. Burr and ouch! One day I spied a couple who were looking for a certain dog that had already been adopted so I lured them in with my sweet personality .... not to mention my lack of hair (talk about a conversation piece!). They were so nice, I could tell right away. A few days later I actually went home with them as a foster cat who needed one on one care. Little did my foster family know that I would become sick and end up in the kitty hospital for a week to find out I had multiple heath issues. By this time they loved me and I never returned to the humane society because they became my forever family. Score one for the cute, adorable, loveable and sweet senior cat! All this would require daily medications, temporary IV hydrations, special food, and care. Learning to eat without teeth and teaching them how to hold by bowl just right and what food I liked was quite a task. Who says you can’t teach old cats new tricks! I did gain weight but being an old girl I will always be thin. Since I don’t groom anymore, I have mastered the art of getting them to brush and comb me at least twice a day. My hair is long so sometimes I get a little haircut, but nothing like that first one! Now I do have to include this little sister that I inherited, a dog named Zoey, who loves me a bit more than I love her, but I’m still the boss even though she doesn’t know I’m harmless. Now who’s smarter, the dog or cat! I am now doing better than expected and my new family loves me and wishes that I would have always been theirs. I know this because I’ve heard them say it. Lucky I am to have a home where I’m loved and well taken care of. Not to mention my awesome heated kitty bed! A special thank you to Dr. Sandra Holcomb D.V.M, Jeanie at Jeanie’s Pet Grooming, Western Hills Humane Society, and my forever family. Thank you for my care, help and love. Miss Grace FOSTER CARE There are times we have animals that come into WHHS who need more attention, or special needs and we reach out to our foster parents. Being a foster parent is a heart-tugging experience. From bottle feeding kittens every two hours, to caring for a pregnant canine, and helping her give birth, caring for the sick or emotionally hurt. Our foster parents are AMAZING! Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? We are always looking for foster parents too! Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.  
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 9 | Keebler
    December 8, 2016
    Keebler living the life on the ranch! "My husband and I adopted Keebler in July, 2015. He instantly fit into our family and he and Jack, our German Shepard, became fast friends.  Keebler may be little but he loves nothing more than chasing cows, but quickly retreats when one comes running after him  He loves the chickens, the geese and has even befriended one of the cats we adopted last summer. He has his own bed that he is very protective of and is a great helper on the ranch. He’s my companion every day when doing chores and even loves going to the groomer. We couldn’t imagine our family without him!!" - Keelber's family   Our employees are the heart of WHHS!           From our teen and college employees who grow up here to our adult staff we have the best crew. They do everything from cleaning every morning to working with volunteers, and youth. Our animals at our shelter are lucky to have such a loving group to care for them!   Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 10 | Martin
    December 9, 2016
    Martin was found tied to a tree by a gentleman on the side of the road. Martin had deep wounds on his side and neck, and was brought to WHHS after he received vet care. Martin had the sweetest disposition and everyone who met him fell instantly in love. The gentleman who found him wanted to adopt him, and had previously adopted a cat from WHHS. After Martin’s wounds healed and the vet gave them thumbs up on his recovery, Martin was happily adopted by the man who found him tied to the side of the road! Let's hear his story! "I adopted Martin November 2015 and he is named Martin, which comes from a Zac Brown song and his middle name is Zac.  My Mom passed away and it left a lonesome spot in our home.  Martin filled that vacancy immediately when he chose Mom's chair as his favorite in the house.  He was scared, timid and his surroundings were intimidating when he arrived.  He found peace and safety in that chair and I cried to see him settle in and to know what it all meant. Martin has a wonderful personality, he is lovable and enjoys returning love.  He is smart and learns things easily.  He goes to the picture window when I tell him I am leaving and I get a kiss good-by.  He wears a collar and is trained to be on a leash and now a small rope so he can be outdoors.  He enjoys a "cat playpen" that was sent to us from one of my friends.   Some of his other accomplishments are "high fives' when he is fed, catching bugs, catching grasshoppers and alerting me to a spider in the house and waking me up at 5 AM! He also alerts me when someone is coming to the door. A friend He also alerts me when someone is coming to the door. A friend recommended that Martin have his own Facebook page as he is very photogenic and  gets many "likes" when his picture is posted. He is a normal cat, playing with balls to watch them move, playing with shredded paper and taking naps with me, hiding in a box scaring me.  He recognizes commands such as "get out of there", "let's go", "don't do that", and "run Martin run".  He knows when I call out "Martin Zac" that he is in trouble. Martin has mended a broken heart and he means so much to me each and every day. Someone brought us together for a perfect match and I am forever thankful."   Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.  
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    13 Days of Gratitude: Day 11 | Gracie
    December 10, 2016
    After my 18-year-old Oscar crossed the Rainbow Bridge in August, I was devastated. He had been my pillow buddy through all of my illnesses. I wasn’t sure I should get another cat because of my age and I still had three kitties. After much arguing with myself, I decided I would look for an older cat that was in need of a "furever" home. I had already decided I would name my new cat Gracie. The next morning I started checking out the older cats at Western Hills Humane Society website. I was totally surprised when I found a cat named Gracie. She had been at the shelter for three years and was around four years old. I immediately sent a message asking if Gracie was still available. She was and I submitted an application to adopt her. My application was accepted and I went to pick her up the next day. I fell in love with her immediately and I brought her home. She is everything I could have wanted. She likes to sleep with me. She is still trying to “love” our other three cats and trying to find her place in the hierarchy of the cat kingdom in our home. Both my husband and son think she is rather special, too. She is so loving and pretty so we’ve given her a more regal name. She is now known as Gracie Anne. She had several mats in her fur so she now has a new fur cut and looks like a mini gray lion. I am so happy she came into my life. - Elaine   We invite you to join up at our open house this Saturday, December 17 from 2-5PM. Let us know you are coming on our Facebook page! Would you consider making a donation today in support of the work we do? Also, if your children have a heart for animals, we have kid’s programs including a reading program and volunteer opportunities. Donate online here – thank you! We are incredibly grateful for each of you reading this today and look forward to sharing our stories of gratitude over the next 13 days.  

Here is a look at last year 2015.

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    13 Days of Gratitude | Tickles
    December 2, 2015
    Tickles arrived at the shelter in December 2008 as a very shy and very timid kitten. She went into a room with other kittens and young cats, most of whom were very friendly, energetic, and determined to get love from any human that walked through the door - often shoving aside less determined cats and smaller, shy kittens. Tickles, on the other hand, spent most of her first two years hiding from larger cats and human visitors in the safety found by crawling under objects and furniture. Tickles has miniature legs (a natural genetic mutation), which made her shorter than other cats and was missing the last half of her tail. While most humans never even knew she was in the room, she would come out for treats and scratches from a very few of the regular and patient (and stubborn) volunteers. Over the next four years, Tickles moved from one room of the shelter to another, watching many employees and volunteers come and go as well as the hundreds of cats who were adopted to homes and barns. She suffered occasional ear mites, respiratory ailments and other health problems brought into shelters by new strays. She lost her teeth to a gum disorder and developed eye problems due to an inability to produce tears. Tickles is an example of a cat that had needed above and beyond the routine care. The only way we can provide care for these types of situations is to receive additional donations from generous businesses and individuals that help to support the work we do. As a no-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals and because of this kindness and generosity; we were able to provide for Tickles’ specific issues. A FOREVER HOME FOR TICKLES Tickles’ patience was rewarded when her favorite volunteer finally realized that she was the only human that Tickles truly adored. The volunteer went home and convinced her husband that they needed another cat. These days, Tickles starts her mornings waking her humans up by licking their toes, sleeping on chairs (only if they’re under a table), and learning to play. A special cat like Tickles takes a special family. Would a special pet like Tickles be a good addition to your family? We’d love to introduce one of the many current guests – cats and dogs - this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for all of our guests while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Molly
    December 4, 2015
    Molly came to the shelter as a trailer park dog from Whitewood, South Dakota. "December 1st was a sad morning at Western Hills Humane Society: Molly our senior resident died in the early morning hours due to old age. Although Molly did not get to find her furever home, she was loved by many people- regardless of where she lived. She had a special friend named Kathy who took her out of the shelter on weekends where she would roll in the grass in her yard.   Molly was probably one of the most stubborn, but lovable, dogs I have ever met. Molly loved meal time, rolling in the snow, and she recently made a new friend at our shelter: our hound dog Norris.   We would like to thank visitors who spent their free time hanging out with our special girl, and everyone who would take the time to walk her.   Molly was lucky to have donors who donated to her tumor removal surgery, dental, and specialty food. Those special donors made her life at our no-kill shelter comfortable."   -Becky     MOLLY'S STORY:   When she came to stay with us in 2014, Molly was about 20 pounds overweight and had tumors on her front legs.    A year went by, and when she began to lose her teeth we scheduled a dental cleaning for her. At the veterinarian’s office, they found a non-operable tumor throughout her abdomen.   Issues like this come up when we have older animals at our shelter. The only way we can provide the above and beyond care for our senior guests is to receive additional donations from businesses and individuals. As a non-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Because of this kindness and generosity, we have been able to provide for Molly’s specific issues.   We will miss our special girl, but are grateful for the generosity she received that helped to enhance her life here with us.  Would you like to give a senior dog like Molly a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours.   We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our senior guests while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Grace
    December 5, 2015
    Grace, a German Shorthaired Pointer female stray, was found in 2014, abandoned on Maitland Road.   When she came to stay with us in 2014, Grace and her daughter Sadie were both emaciated. Grace suffered from a number of skin conditions, mange being one of them. Above routine veterinarian costs to care for Grace’s skin issues added up to around $450.00 in daily care and veterinarian bills with prescriptions, skin tests, and weekly prescription baths, along with a diet of specialty food. Oftentimes, the stray and abandoned animals we take in suffer from mange and similar skin conditions. The only way we can provide the above and beyond care for these guests is to receive additional donations from businesses and individuals. As a no-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of these future pets, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. And because we received additional donations through the kindness and generosity of some of you, we were able to provide for Grace’s specific issues. Grace was successfully adopted and you can read her full story in our 2016 calendar, available mid-December.   Would you like to give a dog like Grace a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce you to our current guests this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care at our shelter. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!  
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Ramsey (Weebles)
    December 6, 2015
    Ramsey (later names Weebles) was a sweet feline guest of WHHS who required an eye removal during his stay. He has since been adopted and loves his furever home. Here’s my story: “I remember when I got to my forever home, my humans had a hard time picking a name for me. I mean, I only had one eye! So one of my humans wanted to call me Cyclops. My other human thought Winky was a pretty appropriate name. But, I’m always walking into things, because I can only see half of my world since I have no depth perception.  So they eventually named me Weebles. It’s kind of a funny name, but they named me that because I sometimes walk into things. I wobble, but I don’t fall down! Despite what happened to me when I was younger, I still love humans.   I love to be picked up and cuddled, and I just stand in the way of my humans when they walk down the hallway so they’ll pick me up. They don’t always do it, because they’re in a hurry sometimes. They have to go to something they call “work”. I don’t know what that is, because I don’t have to work. I just stay home and sleep with my dogs and the other cats. I really like sleeping with my dogs! Besides, my humans pick me up and hold me when they get home. They call it ‘decompressing’. Then they feed me. I can’t decide what I like better, being held or eating!  But I guess I like both, so I’m a healthy happy cat. I guess I’ll stay here forever, even though I walk into the wall sometimes.”   Would you like to give a sweet, funny kitty like Ramsey (Weebles) a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce you to our many cuddly and friendly cats. And remember, senior cats make great pets too! Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our guests like Weebles while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!  
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Kola (Koa)
    December 6, 2015
    Kola (later named Koa) was a reservation dog who came in very pregnant and had 9 puppies at our shelter. After her pregnancy, the veterinarian removed her bad eye and she was successfully adopted in 2014! Kola (now Koa) was featured in our 2015 calendar. Here is what her furever home had to say: “Before I start my story, I changed her name slightly to ‘Koa’ instead of ‘Kola’. I also did some research and we’re almost positive that she is an Australian Kelpie,” said Koa’s human. She continued, “Kola came into the Western Hills Humane Society via Lakota Animal Care Project based on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. No name on a card that simply said “pregnant, not going and a bad eye”. Staff member Becky named her Kola, meaning friend in Lakota. Her eye was checked by a veterinarian but they chose to do nothing at that time because it was determined she was in no pain. The staff had no idea how far along she was with her pups, so they took her temperature daily and monitored her food in hopes of determining when her pups would be born. Her favorite thing to do on walks was to find snow banks and put her head straight in! She would try and roll in the snow but her belly was simply too big and she would let out a big sigh. The night she had her pups, WHHS board Treasurer Penney Williams spent the night at the shelter as all 11 pups were born. Sadly, Kola lost 2 pups but she was a tough love, amazing mama. She raised all the pups at WHHS and all were slowly adopted. After Kola’s pups left, the staff started seeing her own personality coming out. After a month, the staff noticed her bad eye was turning redder, and she was squinting which indicated Kola was in pain. Becky took her to Belle Fourche Veterinary Clinic where Dr. Bill Marlatt felt it was time to remove her eye and her surgery was scheduled a few weeks later. While waiting for her surgery, we stopped in from North Dakota while waiting for our son’s next baseball game. We met Kola and called the shelter the next week indicating we would like to adopt her and agreed to wait until after her surgery. Dr. Bill removed her eye, donating his time, and a dedicated volunteer also donated money for her eye removal. Kola has a special spirit that made all who met her fall in love with her. When I first brought Koa home I was unsure if I had made the right choice or not because she was so shy and terrified. About two days later she warmed up to me and it seemed like I had had her since she was a puppy. Koa gets along with all of the other animals. At least once a day she runs over to the neighbors to play with their dog. Everybody that meets Koa absolutely loves her because of her sweet and gentle nature. Now that I have her I can’t imagine life any different. She goes everywhere with me, such as, to the lake, friend’s houses, or even just on short car rides. She’s my best friend and I love having her around so much!” We are so grateful for Dr. Bill at Belle Fourche Veterinary Clinic for donating his time to help Koa and for our dedicated volunteer who donated money. Would you like to give a dog like Kola (Koa) a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours! We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for dogs like Koa while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Loki
    December 10, 2015
    Loki (now Peanut) was a reservation rescue who came to WHHS after his owner died on the Pine Ridge Reservation.       Loki waited at her owner’s trailer for months for her to return before being rescued by Lakota Animal Care.   When Loki came to join us, he suffered from mange, ear infection, worms, fleas, a traumatic accident injury on his leg, and was in need of an eye surgery. Loki’s eyelid was growing under, irritating his eye.   We began working to get Loki healthy again and had the eye surgery done, costing WHHS about $350.00.   Loki was adopted but was returned to WHHS about 6 months later with a huge lump in his neck. After consulting with a veterinarian, we found that he had a ruptured salivary gland and required another surgery. Through all of this, Loki was as loving always and gave all of his friends at the shelter big hugs. We decided to give this young, loving dog a chance and we did the salivary gland surgery- costing our facility $2,100.00.   The only way we could have provided the above and beyond care for Loki was to receive additional donations from businesses and individuals. As a no-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Because of this kindness and generosity, we were able to provide for Loki’s specific issues.   Loki was soon adopted by a wonderful woman who could commit to all his future medical needs. A happy ending indeed!   Would you like to give a dog like Loki a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours! We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for dogs like Loki while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation.  And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Kittens
    December 11, 2015
    As tiny as they may be, kittens are one of the biggest expenses at WHHS.     Every kitten in our care needs to be vaccinated, wormed, "boostered" for their vaccines, and altered. Many times, these little kitties do not have their moms and require foster care and milk replacement. Foster parents from Western Hills Humane Society get up every two to four hours to bottle-feed new babies, make sure they go to the bathroom, and essentially act as replacements for their mothers.   They put their heart and souls in these babies.   Each kitten that comes through our doors, if healthy, costs the shelter about $75.00. If they need extra care, it costs the shelter anywhere between $150.00 and $200.00. One of our biggest expenses is Kitten Milk Replacer- at $25.00 a can, we spent over $500.00 in milk replacer alone this year. WHHS took in over 125 kittens in 2015, and we currently have more kittens staying with us than usual (which we think may be the result of how warm the weather has been).   We are only able to provide above and beyond care for these babies by receiving additional donations from businesses and individuals. As a no-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Would you like to give an adorable kitty a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season, but stress to all that our furry friends are meant to be part of the family, not a gift. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours to meet all of current kitten guests! We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for these babies while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation.  And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Emerson and Ameila
    December 12, 2015
    Emerson and Amelia came to Western Hills Humane Society from the Pine Ridge Reservation.   Both girls were spayed and vaccinated when they came to us. They were also fighting venereal cancer. With treatment, this form of cancer has a 96% success rate, but both Emerson and Amelia had developed infections in their spay sites and needed to get healthy before continuing the chemotherapy treatments they had begun in Nebraska. After recovering from these infections, Amelia and Emerson restarted their chemo and received four treatments at the veterinarian's office. With veterinarian costs and extra care by staff at Western Hills Humane Society, total costs for their care added up to about $2,000.00. The only way we can provide the above and beyond care for our guests in need is to receive additional donations from businesses and individuals. As a non-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Because of this kindness and generosity, we were able to provide for Emerson and Amelia's specific issues. It was worth every penny: both girls were successfully adopted into loving furever homes. Would you like to give a dog like Emerson or Amelia a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our guests in need while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Lizzy & Wija
    December 14, 2015
    Sometimes at WHHS, we receive animals who have more emotional issues than physical scars. Lizzy came to WHHS in bad shape. No veterinarian wanted to speculate how her face was burned and she was covered in hundreds of ticks, fleas, and worms. Her emotional scars were even larger than her physical injuries. Lizzy made a canine friend at the shelter, Snarf, who helped her come out of her shell and recover from some of the emotional damage she was dealing with. When we receive an animal like Lizzy, we take extra time and care to rehabilitate them so that they can find a forever home. This often takes additional time and effort which we are able to provide due to the donations provided. Lizzy was successfully adopted in 2014.   Wija was brought to WHHS by a rancher after she killed a few chickens. She was terrified and obviously traumatized, fearful of our staff and visitors, and wary of shelter life. Wija was adopted to a sweet family who tried hard with her, but she ran away immediately after being adopted and went missing for two weeks. Once she was found, she lived with her new family for four months. Wija was returned to WHHS in September due to this issue and others- running deeper then one family could handle. WHHS staff realized that half of her jaw was in need of dental work due to her previous trauma, so we scheduled a dental appointment for Wija. Tracy Miller from Billabong Dog Training also offered to train and help her at her facility, free of charge. Wija is currently in training and will work through her issues with a professional in hopes she will lead a happy, trauma-free life.   The only way we can provide the above and beyond care for our traumatized guests is to receive additional donations from businesses and individuals. As a no-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Because of this kindness and generosity, we were able to and have been able to provide for Lizzy’s and Wija’s specific issues.   Would you like to give a special dog like Lizzy or Wija a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our special-needs guests while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Jinx
    December 16, 2015
    Jinx has been coming and going to and from WHHS for years, at no fault of his own. Between moving situations and various owner-surrenders, he always came back to us. After we noticed Jinx too-frequently urinating and just not thriving at WHHS, he was diagnosed with Diabetes, a major responsibility to care for in an animal. One of our amazing employees offered to take care of his needs, giving him insulin shots and taking Jinx to his veterinarian visits for blood work. Within six months his vet care cost exceeded $1,000.00. The only way we can provide the above and beyond care for our senior and special-needs guests is to receive donations from businesses and individuals. As a non-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Because of this kindness and generosity, we have were able to provide for Jinx's specific needs, and WHHS staff member Kati adopted Jinx. Today, Jinx is happy and healthy in Kati's home and being cared for. Would you like to give a cat like Jinx a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our senior guests while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | August and September
    December 19, 2015
    In the Fall of 2014, WHHS received an anonymous tip regarding an animal hoarding situation. Partnering with Lawrence County Sherriff's Department and Spearfish's Animal Control Officer Tate Hayford, we entered the home and found six dogs with various health issues, 19 cats, four rabbits, ferrets, and guinea pigs. The homeowners volunteered to surrender the animals that were in need of veterinarian care. August and September are 3-year-old beagle mixes, who were both extremely overweight when they came to stay with us. Both girls should have weighed approximately 25 pounds, but August weighed in at 45 lbs. and September at 67 lbs. Both dogs were terrified and wouldn't leave their kennel at the shelter for three days. August and September both needed health checks, which also required blood work, to determine if they had any thyroid issues due to being overweight. August only needed to be put on a healthy diet regimen and given medications for an ear infection. September, on the other hand, required thyroid medication in addition to a healthier diet regimen. Both girls needed to be socialized. WHHS sent them into foster care, and with the love and support of their new parents, they slowly lost weight. September, with regular veterinarian care, began to feel better but will need to take her thyroid medication for the rest of her life. Fast forward to May 2015: Both girls were returned to WHHS to be adopted as they were close to their target weight, socialized, and ready for their exciting future. August and September were adopted separately, thriving in their new homes. The best part? They lost all the extra weight and both hit their target weight of 25 pounds! Caring for these loveable dogs cost WHHS approximately $950.00 with the hoarding case. The only way we can provide the above and beyond care for our guests is to receive donations from businesses and individuals. As a non-kill shelter, our heart is always on the side of the animals, but to continue, we must often ask for additional donations. Because of this kindness and generosity, we have were able to provide for Septermber's and August's specific needs. Would you like to give a dog like September or Auguest a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you this holiday season. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our senior guests while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Chihuahuas
    December 22, 2015
    Early in the morning of Sunday, April 26, 2015, Western Hills Humane Society received a phone call from police informing the shelter that they had confiscated 36 toy breed dogs and six cats from a Trailblazer in the Spearfish Walmart parking lot. It was assumed and later confirmed that the animals were traveling from one puppy mill in Washington state to start another in Wisconsin. WHHS staff and volunteers arrived to find the animals scared and covered in their own feces as they had been traveling in cages in tight quarters. All animals were bathed, given quick health checks, and separated according to sex and age. The youngest twelve animals, those assumed to be pregnant, and several others of concern were placed in foster homes. It was Wednesday of that same week before the owner of the animals, as part of a plea agreement with authorities, formally surrendered them to Western Hills Humane Society. Upon the surrender, veterinarians could now begin to tend to the animals. All were health-checked by a vet tech, vaccinations were started, microchips inserted, and spay/neuter dates for the adults were set. It was determined that there were three pregnant females in the group who would remain in foster care until they had given birth and their babies weaned. Many of these dogs who had lived in cages most of their lives were leery of humans and scared of their new surroundings. Despite this, only one appeared to have fear based aggression. On Friday, May 1, 2015, news of the seizure hits the papers and WHHS was flooded with donations and visitors. It is estimated that a couple hundred people came through the facility on just Friday and Saturday of that week. None of the toy breeds were available for adoption at this point, as they still needed to be spayed and neutered, but over 100 applications for adoption were turned into WHHS. In the following week, four news stations visited WHHS for on-air coverage on the nightly news (two with follow-up stories in the upcoming weeks), and both the Black Hills Pioneer and the Rapid City Journal ran front-page and follow-up stories. A total of 13 news stories ran covering the situation. As a result, applications continued to flow in. WHHS directors began the task of approving these applications- all animals adopted from WHHS begin with a lengthy packet of paperwork and most adoptions take several visits and checks with references, etc. In addition, most of the dogs were not potty-trained and any prospective owners needed to understand and be familiar with both toy breeds and/or rescued puppy mill dogs. The decision was made that all puppies that were too young to be spayed and neutered would remain as property of WHHS until their alterations were complete. Those approved to adopt served as foster parents until the puppy was ready for adoption and cooperated with WHHS on their vaccination schedule. May 18, 2015 - May 30, 2015: more puppies! The first of the pregnant mothers gave birth. Within the next two weeks, all of the mothers had their litters. In all, 18 puppies were born in WHHS care. By mid-July, these newest puppies were weaned and ready to move on to their permanent foster-to-adopt homes and the original puppies that came in with the seizure were old enough to be altered. As soon as they were altered, adoptions became final. By the end of July, only four puppies and two adults remained in the constant care of WHHS. The male cat and all four kittens that were rescued in the seizure had also been adopted, and the mother cat was spayed and moved into our Cattery to await a forever home with the 30 other cats that live in there. The puppies that were in foster-to-adopt care will be vaccinated on schedule through WHHS and spayed/neutered before their adoptions become final. An end date of all adoptions being finalized by Christmas is anticipated for the April 26th seizure. Milton, the last of the Chihuahuas, never got over his fear-based aggression and was transferred to a puppy mill rescue in Denver on November 2nd. They will keep us updated on his progress and we believe this is his best chance for rehabilitation and to secure him a happy future. It is only through the generosity and support of the City of Spearfish and the surrounding areas that Western Hills Humane Society was successful in securing a positive future for these animals who were destined for a life of breeding and kennels.    
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Kris Kringle
    December 30, 2015
    Kris Kringle joined us at WHHS after he was found rummaging through the garbage out in the country over Thanksgiving. After taking a Sunday morning, holiday weekend call-of-desperation from us, Spearfish Groom and Board promptly said yes to helping us clean him up and took him in immediately on Monday. Once Kris was groomed, we found out that he is a senior male and is very gentle. Named "Malcom" by his forever home, his new mom had the following to say: "Malcolm's first night, he slept at the bottom of the bed. A few days later he is warming up to Maggie and Max. He has now stopped searching for food and is eating normally. His eyes are no longer blood-shot and he is looking great! He is a perfect fit for our entire family. We are overjoyed to have him. He is one of the most kind pets I've had. Thank you so much for pairing us up." We couldn't have helped Kris Kringle if it weren't for the generosity of Spearfish Groom and Board, and we couldn't provide for our above-and-beyond-needs guests if it weren't for the generosity of donors and our community. Would you like to give a dog like Kris Kringle a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our guests in need while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Bentley
    January 1, 2016
    Bentley came into our shelter when his owner of a few years brought him to us as an owner surrender. Bentley was a sad little Corgi when he arrived: his first night at the shelter, Western Hills Humane Society's Becky sat in his kennel after-hours holding him. After a few weeks passed, Becky gave Bentley the nickname of “manipulative Corgi”- he sure knew how to play the sad-puppy-dog-eyes card to get his way around WHHS! From employees sharing their lunches and Bentley being allowed to run free around our shelter, he had us all wrapped around his little paw. A few months later, a family member of Bentley's future furever home saw his post on Facebook and contacted us through Facebook messager. Her cousin's pair of Corgis were lost a few years before in the same town Bentley's former family was from, and she believed he might possibly be one of the lost dogs. The very next day, the cousin came to the shelter to see if it was his lost dog, and it was! He was a little discouraged as Bentley (originally named Dolly, as we came to find out) did not seem to recognize him, but we loaded them up in the vehicle and once Bentley/Dolly was taken back to the ranch, he felt right at home. Two years away from each other, this loveable little lost dog and his pal were reunited through Facebook.   We're so grateful for the support and engagement we get through our Facebook page, from cases like Bentley's to the quick reactions we get when we send out a post asking for donations.   Would you like to give a dog like Bentley a furever home with your family? We’d love to introduce one to you. Stop by our shelter anytime during our normal business hours. We also invite you to make a donation today in support of the additional care needed for our guests in need while they are here with us. Just click here to securely make a cash donation. And thank you!
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    13 Days of Gratitude | Gizmo's Fund
    January 1, 2016
    Gizmo arrived at WHHS in the winter of 2013 as a surrender due to his family's allergies. Gizmo was not a happy camper when he arrived, but we couldn't help but smile at his crossed-eyed, grumpy demeanor. He moved along at WHHS and entered our cattery with 29 other feline friends, and we came to find that Gizmo loved to play with dried leaves for hours. Soon, he began growing quite plump living at WHHS. In the spring of 2015, Gizmo tore two of his ACL’s and, per veterinarian recommendation, he was removed from our cattery to a kennel. He still needed exercise, though, and was allowed to roam our building during working hours. Unfortunately, Gizmo escaped his kennel one day after-hours and climbed into the back of our pop machine. Due to his perfectly plump condition, he soon was stuck in the machine. Twenty hours later, we came to the office and were searching for Gizmo when a staff member heard him inside of the machine. He had wires wrapped around his neck and was very dehydrated and, understandably, terrified. A neighbor helped wrangle Gizmo out of the machine, and he was promptly rushed to Spearfish Animal Hospital. Gizmo was treated for dehydration and had minor burns from having his body wrapped around the pop machine’s motor for hours. After Gizmo was released from the vet, more burns began appearing all over his body. His trauma was far worse than we had first realized. After weeks of taking care of him at the shelter, we took Gizmo back to the veterinarian's office, but Gizmo passed as a result of his wounds in the middle of the night. In honor of our feline friend, WHHS has put in place a fund for donations that will benefit animals who are in need of extra veterinarian care, which may include dental needs, surgeries, specialty food and other needs our animals have. Brenda and Becky have appropriately named it "Gizmo's Fund." We are truly grateful for the donations and assistance we have received that have helped us to be able to provide for Gizmo's and our other guests' specific needs. For more information on donating to WHHS, click here. Again, thank you to all of you for your generosity.