It’s helping them help the most desperate of animals.
Until recently, stray or lost cats and dogs brought to the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter were cleaned up the old-fashioned way — in a knee-high tub.
“It was just a regular bath tub that hit us in the shins when we tried to use it,” said Gabby Evans, director of the shelter. “It was very difficult to get big dogs in there, as well.”
With the help of an $11,000 grant courtesy of the Mahaska County Community Foundation, the shelter was able to purchase a stainless steel bathing station for the hundreds of animals that pass through their doors each month.
Evans pointed out that, obviously, the intention behind purchasing the bathing station was not to make things easier for volunteers, but that the health of the animals at the shelter was the main motivation for purchasing the station.
“So many of them (rescued animals) come in here filthy-dirty and covered in ticks and completely flea-bitten,” said Evans. “We give them what we call the ‘spa treatment.’”
The spa treatment includes clipping nails, treating animals for ear mites, treating them for fleas and cutting their hair, if necessary, Evans Added.
Just how often each animal is washed is sometimes up to the animal themselves, said Evans.
“We’ve got a golden retriever we call Goldie in now whose goal in life is get in the mud,” Evans joked.
Shelter Volunteer Adrian McBride, 15, was quick to point out the fresh mud caked on Goldie’s chest just before he started washing the dog Wednesday afternoon.
“There it is, you see,” he said.
At a cost of $5,338, the bathing station didn’t eat up all the shelter’s grant money.
Evans said the shelter is still in need of an animal control vehicle to replace the 1996 van they use to transport animals on their way to the Stephen Memorial facility. The vehicle they have now is more than a bit flawed, she said.
In order to improve the safety of shelter employees, animals and the general public, a newer vehicle is essential, said Evans.
“The van is really on its last leg,” said Evans of the shelter’s current vehicle, which is in need of constant repair. “The air conditioning doesn’t work and it just doesn’t go in the winter time. And even in the mud in the summer it’s not good.”
The newer vehicle will provide the animals with ventilated compartments for transport, be more reliable and will be able to maneuver in winter conditions, said Evans.
Those wishing to donate to the Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter can send do so by visiting www.smas.mahaska.net or by sending checks to 2299 235th St., Oskaloosa, IA 52577.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org