Hemphill is very thankful for recent donations and community support for PAHS dogs, cats

Jennifer Stultz
Pratt Tribune
Xannica Szary (seated), Connor FitzSimmons and Amelia Kirby, along with Sarge (middle) and Finn (right) advocate for donations of pet supplies and food as a fundraiser for Pratt Area Humane Society on Saturday at the Pratt Community College basketball games. Admission to games was free for those who brought pet donation items. Sarge (an Irish wolfhound/doberman cross) and Finn (a blue-healer/pointer mix) are available for adoption at P.A.H.S.
Saturday was a support day for dogs and cats in need of humans at Lesh Arena in Pratt.

April Hemphill, Director of Pratt Area Humane Society is feeling thankful these days. Not only is a new HVAC system coming soon that will keep the air fresh and smelling good in the facility at 10233 Bluestem Blvd, Pratt, but donations and grants have been pouring in to help provided support for dogs and cats in need of care in the area.

"We are so thankful to have received $12,500 in grants from the Peoples Heartland Foundation and People's Bank employees," Hemphill said. "This is the first year I have ever heard of this and it has just been nice to be remembered and thought of in this way. I am so very, very thankful."

Hemphill said that seven People's Bank employees had donated gifts to PAHS, all of which came at a time that the HVAC unit really needed some work.

"There was a condensing unit that was leaking into broken lines in the ceiling and just creating an unhealthy situation here," Hemphill said. "Because of these recent donations we are now able to get this problem fixed, get the allergins out, and create a happier, healthier place for people and the animals that come through here."

With an ever-changing head-count of mostly dogs and cats at the local humane society, owned by the City of Pratt and operated out of mostly donations and fundraisers, Hemphill said she was also feeling thankful for many other fundraising activities and donations that had been completed in the past month, or are ongoing through November and December.

Pratt Community College hosted a PAHS Day at Lesh Arena on Saturday, where fans could bring in pet supplies and food to gain free admission to basketball games.

"We had a table set up on the foyer, along with some dogs that are available for adoption," Hemphill said. "It was a fun day, and we are always in need of pet food and supplies."

Hemphill said that PAHS has a food contract with a vet-recommended brand of dog food, which they adhere to, but mixing donated food with the standard feed helps it last longer, without upsetting tummies too much because of food changes between brands. A bigger need is cleaning supplies and kitty litter, however.

"We go through a lot of cat litter," Hemphill said. "The fundraisers are a big part in paying for those types of things."

For Halloween, PAHS held a 50/50 Raffle and Open House, which netted the society $127, plus a lot of fun pictures of animals in costumes. Another fundraiser is planned for Friday, December 3 called Bow-Wow Bingo, during which buy-in cards will be available for $15 each for 9 games of bingo. Children's candy cards will also be available for free. The Bow-Wow Bingo event is scheduled to take place from 6-9 p.m. at the Pratt Public Library, a fitting place to end up after the Pratt Art and Music Walk from 5-8 p.m. that same day.

"We will be serving chili and cinnamon rolls and play bingo for cash prizes," Hemphill said. "There won't be any cats or dogs on hand, but all money raised will go for their daily needs and expenses here in Pratt."

Hemphill said current dog and cat count numbers were hovering at 14 dogs and 10 cats, even with many recent visits and adoptions.

"Our current stay for each animal averages around three months, which is a lot longer than that in bigger cities or higher population centers," she said. "We are happy to keep the animals moving and out in the public because finding them good homes is always our top priority."

There is another priority, however, and that is keeping animals happy and healthy while they stay at the Pratt facility when in need of care.

"We are so thankful to be able to put a recent $2,000 grant from the South Central Community Foundation towards animal enrichment here," Hemphill said. "We are going to build a cat patio out front that will connect with our current cat room and allow the cats to go in and out to get sunshine and experience some needed space."

Hemphill said the new room would be about half the size of the current cat room and have a special cat door from inside the facility to the patio on the north side of the building.

"Again we are just so thankful for the community support, grants and donations that have come in the past few weeks," Hemphill said. "I am grateful that people are recognizing what we do here and are willing to continue to support us."

An Angle Tree listing pet needs will be put up in the front lobby of the Pratt Area Humane Society from which people can fill tags for specific donations at the beginning of December. PAHS keeps an updated website with animals available for adoption, as well as makes regular Facebook posts about needs, availability, volunteers and hours open.