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SANTA MARIA VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY
January 24, 2011

I began volunteering in the office and showing dogs and cats at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society in 2001. At a later date I was asked to fill an open director position on the board and have remained as a board member since. Having held other board positions, I am currently vice-president. Our board is an involved, working group. Many members participate regularly in the planning and function of numerous fundraisers along with a dedicated core group of non board member volunteers and in addition active involvement from our staff.
Things I love about us:
-The love of our cats and dogs evidenced by the staff. One certainly does not work for a non-profit for the money...so it MUST be love.
-Our creative Executive Director and our devoted Operations Manager. Our very pleasant Office Assistants who create that all important first impression.
-When I was volunteering in the office, the most frequent comment made to me by the public was: "Everyone here is so nice; they care about the animals." and "The kennels are so clean! I don't small dog urine!" Our Kennel Manager ensures that every kennel and cage are disinfected daily along with clean bedding and beds. In addition, she loves every single one as if they are her own babies.
-Our many devoted volunteers who walk, socialize, brush, talk to and love the four-legged kids in our temporary care.
-Our low cost spay/neuter clinic that enables those families who cannot afford to S/N to be able to do so.
While I realize the above describes many aspects of thousands of non-profit humane societies, I feel our society has that particular "heart" that is prevalent in the Santa Maria Valley.
Our present shelter is adjacent to the city waste treatment plant. As the population in our area has better than doubled in the past decade (not only humans but our four-legged friends too), this necessitated the expansion of the city waste treatment plant that would essentially stop future growth of our facility in the present location. We are currently on city land and the city offered twice the acreage down the street and around the corner, as it were. So we have embarked on a capital campaign to build a new facility with double the capacity and with room to expand. This will save more lives and lessen the euthanasia rate at the Northern Santa Barbara County Shelter. In addition, the increased size of our S/N clinic will enable more low-income families to participate in a timely manner. Our present waiting time for an appointment is 6 weeks out.
After months of work from a local physician and our board president we have entered into a collaboration with Allan Hancock College to begin a Registered Veterinary Technician course which will use our new larger clinic as a hands-on teaching classroom. This will be the only RVT program in central California.
Not only do we need to raise the remainder of funds to complete our new facility, the new shelter will require more operating funds to support the increased, on-going work. As a board member and volunteer, I can assure donors their money will be well invested and have huge returns in saving the lives of homeless animals.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

observing and participating in the transition from a small group of volunteers to a professional organization and small business.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

As a board member, thus actively involved, I feel we are pretty much on track and heading down a positive road. At this point in time I cannot think of significant changes I would make. I am pleased to be able to make this statement.

MY ROLE:
Board Member & I actively participate in the SMVHS.