(Rapid City Journal, Dec. 4, 2017)
During one week at the Humane Society of the Black Hills last month, a dog was surrendered by a tearful owner; a good Samaritan found three kittens by the roadside and brought them in, fearing they would freeze; and, a litter of puppies with an exhausted mother came in from another shelter that couldn’t provide for their care any longer.

Scenes like these happen more than 4,500 times a year at the open admission Humane Society of the Black Hills. The animals come in, they are evaluated and receive medical treatment if needed, they are fed, walked, cleaned up after, and then, if everything goes well, the right person walks in the front door and they are adopted.

All of the animals each and every day can make it seem like a real zoo, but it works with the combined efforts of this great, supportive community: Hundreds of volunteers who give a combined 3,000 hours each year to provide companionship, exercise and hope to the dogs and cats; businesses and organizations that donate supplies, kennel bedding and teams of volunteers; donors who care deeply about the mission and give generously; people who adopt these great animals and give them a new life; and, the employees who give so much of their time, many fostering animals in their homes or volunteering their time after punching out for the day.

The employees here are committed to the work they do but, still, a good day at work would be one where there was no work to do — dogs would all be in good homes and cat populations would be properly managed so there were no strays roaming neighborhoods and no kittens by the side of the road. Our open admission doors could stay closed.

Until then, the doors at the Humane Society will remain open to care for the lost, homeless and forgotten animals and give them care, comfort and do everything we can to find them forever homes. It’s a never ending mission, one that we take seriously, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity share with the Rapid City Journal audience.

The editor of the Rapid City Journal agreed to give the Humane Society two columns a month to talk about animal management and related issues, education, and the people who make it all work. We’ll do our best to educate and inform, talk about the great people who go above and beyond, and we’ll try to not bore you along the way. We hope you find the time to read a bit about the Humane Society of the Black Hills and offer some feedback and suggestions to help us continue to serve the community and meet our mission.

The Humane Society of the Black Hills is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that has worked with the community to provide shelter and care for lost and abused animals for nearly 50 years. Dogs, cats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, guinea pigs, birds and lizards, a goat — you name it, we’ve probably seen it. And with the community’s continued support, we’ll be here caring for thousands of animals a year for the next 50 years.

Unless there’s just no more work to do one day — and that would be a good day.

Have a comment for the Humane Society of the Black Hills? Something you would like to see addressed in a future column? Email the Resource Development Director at volunteer@hsbh.org.