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Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
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Martinsville, Virginia 24115
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SPCA looks to new, old methods for fundraising
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A puppy that is up for adoption peers out from one of the Presents for Pets donation boxes at SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County. Executive director Nicole Harris is pictured in the background. Staff and volunteers at SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County have been working to make and decorate boxes for the organization’s drive, which is modeled after Toys for Tots. (Bulletin photos by Ben R. Williams)
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Monday, December 2, 2013

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

The SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County is launching a new holiday program and bringing back a host of old favorites.

The new program, Presents for Pets, is a donation drive modeled after Toys for Tots, according to local SPCA Executive Director Nicole Harris. The program is scheduled to begin Monday will continue through Dec. 23.

“We used to do in-school campaigns, and classrooms would gather donations,” Harris said. “Some schools are still participating, but we don’t have as many participants as we’ve had in the past. That’s what spawned our Presents for Pets program. A lot of people do bring donations here to the shelter, but we are kind of off the beaten path.”

Large, gift-wrapped boxes will be stationed at a number of area businesses Monday, including TrueValue, Ace Hardware, Aaron’s, Walgreens, Rent-A-Center and the Bassett branch of Wells Fargo. People are encouraged to help the SPCA by dropping items in the boxes, including canned dog and cat food, toys and treats, cat litter, paper towels, trash bags, gift cards and cleaning supplies.

Cleaning supplies are particularly helpful, Harris said.

“I would say we spend upwards of $600 a month just on cleaning supplies,” she said. “The cleaning supplies help us keep the shelter disease-free. Bleach, dish detergent, not to mention foods to keep the animals healthy (are needed). The shopping budget in general is most of our operation cost, so this will be a great help.”

Ideally, Harris would like to receive enough donations to cover food and cleaning supplies at the shelter through the first quarter of 2014, January through March.

“Then next year, we’ll strive for the two-quarter mark,” she laughed.

Other holiday programs at the SPCA include the J. Fred Wheeler memorial pet trees, now in their 36th year. Several locations, including the Martinsville and Collinsville branches of Blue Ridge Regional Library, Fido’s Finds and Kittie’s Kollectibles, King’s Mountain Animal Clinic and the shelter itself will host pet trees featuring hand-made stocking ornaments in honor of or in memory of pets.

The ornaments cost between $5 and $10, depending on extras, and the proceeds will go toward funding the shelter, Harris said.

Another returning program, she said, is Home for the Holidays, which seeks to place shelter animals with foster families during the holidays while staff members take Christmas vacations.

“We typically don’t like to adopt out pets as Christmas presents,” Harris said. “I’d say 80 percent of the pets adopted in a holiday spurt of panic, a last-minute gift idea, we end up getting back in February or March when the kids are back in school and mom’s busy again.

“A lot of times,” she added, “Home for the Holidays leads to increased adoptions. We rely on ‘foster failures,’ people who come back and adopt the animals instead of returning them after the foster period.”

SPCA of Martinsville-Henry County is located at 132 Joseph Martin Highway, Martinsville. For more information on SPCA holiday programs, call the shelter at 638-7297. For information on the Home for the Holidays program, ask for foster coordinator Courtney Allen.


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