Dogwood Animal Shelter thankful for community support through the pandemic

Mitch Prentice
Lake Sun Leader
A shelter cat at Dogwood Animal Shelter peaks its head around the corner in the cat room.

Though the past year saw its share of hardships, the Dogwood Animal Shelter is still running strong. 

Ellen Keen, manager of the shelter, says there have been many “pluses and minuses” in recent months. The shelter’s adoption center is still closed to the public, but the thrift store is open and running and providing much needed financial support. 

Last week, the shelter suffered its first set of positive COVID cases among staff, leading to some shortages in help. With 17 total staff members, this is a big hit. However, Keen is confident that their volunteer base will step up. Keen says the shelter has been very fortunate throughout the last year to receive as many volunteers hours as they have. While they could always use more volunteers, she says the consistent offering of help has been instrumental in keeping the shelter open.

“The support of this community has always been absolutely breathtaking,” Keen said. 

Dogwood hopes to open its doors to foot traffic again soon, but there is no telling when. As vaccinations continue to reach more households, the shelter will continue to play it by ear. Keen says they feel lucky to have made it through the pandemic and don’t want to rush into any decisions until better data is available. With that being said, she says they are optimistically looking at an early fall reopening. 

In the meantime, the main concern of the shelter turns to resources running dry. That includes pet food, volunteers and finances in general. Through the last year, Keen says they have received an enormous amount of donations, from food and beds to monetary donations. She says that it has felt like everytime they needed help, someone was there to take care of it. 

To help give back to the generosity of the public, the shelter has kept their animal food pantry open year round. She says they understand that some of their neighbors are also in tough situations and a little help can go a long way. 

“We are all in this together. If the community isn’t taken care of, they can’t take care of us,” Keen said.

If residents are looking to continue supporting the shelter, Keen says bleach and cleaning supplies are in high demand. Of course, any dog and cat items are also welcome. Monetary donations can be submitted by check or through Paypal on the Dogwood Animal Shelter website.

The shelter currently has over 100 animals to care for, 60 dogs and 55 felines.