Friday, July 8, 2011

Growing Pains

As the St. Tammany Humane Society expands both virtually and literally, we are now faced with the necessity of accommodating our growing number of fans….I mean, clients and potential adopters by adding more parking area to our small shelter (a good problem to have, if you’re going to have one). Over the last 3 years St. Tammany Humane Society, as I alluded to previously, has grown exponentially in terms of community outreach, new programs, vet clinic growth, and a huge increase in adoptions. Most of these positive changes can be attributed to innovative and dynamic leadership, and a hardworking caring staff.

However, another factor that has been instrumental to our recent growth and success is the help and support of Ian Somerhalder, star of the TV series Vampire Diaries. Ian is a St. Tammany native, and his relationship with the St. Tammany Humane Society began about 2 years ago, shortly after the devastating oil spill in the Gulf. Ian reached out, using his resources in aiding his hometown and local community in a cause that is close to his heart: animal welfare and rescue. His PSA urged people to not only be aware, but actively assist in any way they were able in helping to stem the loss and devastation to the environment and state wildlife as a result of the oil spill (special emphasis on the Louisiana Brown Pelican).

Ian’s work for those who have no voice did not stop there. After visiting STHS directly following the tragic oil spill, he became actively involved with our no-kill shelter. His role as chairperson of our annual Fall fundraiser “Unleashed” brought fans (who are now some of our most generous donors and supporters) from around the world. “Unleashed 2010: Bash on the Bayou” was our largest event to date, bringing in much needed proceeds which were used to make improvements and additions to our 50 year old shelter. Among Ian’s myriad contributions to STHS include spotlighting some of our hard to adopt pups, donating proceeds from his autographed picture to the shelter, publicly supporting our no-kill shelter and mission whenever he can, and joining with us in spreading awareness in many facets of animal welfare. Ian’s newly formed non-profit organization, the IS Foundation, touts the mission statement, “The IS FOUNDATION aims to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” Animal welfare is a main focus of the IS Foundation, and his active role in this arena has not gone unnoticed by many animal advocates around the globe.

So, in returning to our humble St. Tammany Humane Society…….and our parking lot in progress. In addition to the necessities and pragmatics involved in the construction of our new parking area, we thought that a little touch of ancillary aesthetics for your viewing pleasure would be in order: a beautiful flower garden adorning the perimeter of the parking area. This would serve a dual purpose. Not only would you have a visual sensory overload when you pulled into STHS (which can be quite pleasant), but also a gorgeous background to showcase all of our adoptables on the website. The garden’s beauty will demand that it have a name… The name, in honor of our supporter that has made it possible in the first place: The Garden of Ian.

For more information and how you can help build the Garden of Ian, please CLICK HERE
Vaughn Maurice
Executive Director
St. Tammany Humane Society