By Kim Jansen

News Report Staff

You might be a cat person … or you might be a dog person!

Either way, the Effingham County Humane Society is in need of volunteers to care for cats and dogs at the no-kill animal shelter.

Over the past year, the Humane Society has housed 130 cats and 114 dogs at its facility, located on the Funkhouser School Road, just off of U.S. 40.

And although the pets are often times quickly adopted from the shelter, they still need regular care while waiting to find their forever homes.

“We need so many volunteers to care for the dogs and cats,” said Karen Grupe, operation manager at the Humane Society. “It is very rewarding, and it is a great way to get your pet-fix.”

Because the cats need to be tended to twice a day and the dogs need to be tended to three times a day, Grupe said there are several spots that need to be filled each week to make sure the pets are cared for properly.

The shelter has two volunteer spots for each of the two-hour shifts, meaning there are 28 spots a week for cats and 42 sports a week for dogs.

“We have some volunteers who will volunteer a couple times a week, and then, we have some volunteers who will volunteer a couple times a month,” said Grupe.

Grupe said, of course, it is great when volunteers can come regularly, with her adding one volunteer fills up to 18 spots each week.

“Everybody knows how much free time they have and how much they have to donate,” she said.

Volunteers are asked to complete a variety of duties to care for the animals, including feeding, watering, cleaning out cages, cleaning out litter boxes and walking dogs.

Grupe added all new volunteers are asked to complete an application, and from there, receive training on the job from one of the seasoned volunteers.

Any age of volunteer is welcome, but Grupe said those under the age of 16 years must be accompanied by an adult.

The Humane Society acquires animals in different ways, including from pet owners who surrender their pets to the shelter or from other animal control agencies that may not have a no kill policy.

“When we do get low on animals, we will go to other animal control shelters and rescue them,” said Grupe.

Since the Humane Society is a no-kill facility, it keeps all pets until they are able to find a suitable home.

“They stay here until they are adopted,” said Grupe, who added currently the pets that have been there the longest are two cats acquired in February and a dog acquired in July.

“It is a very rewarding experience,” she added. “To be able to see these animals and to know that you took care of them and made their life a little better, it just makes your heart feel good to watch these pets get adopted and go to their forever home.”

To learn more or to become a volunteer, contact the Effingham County Humane Society at 217-536-9001 or stop by the shelter during regular business hours.

Also, volunteer forms and information can be found at the  society’s website at www.effingham.petfinder.com.