The Alliston and District Humane Society will host two very special open houses December 9 and 23, as it is the season of giving and a time when they see the most donations. Director Marilyn Harris keeps  even closer tabs on adoptions, as they also tend to see higher returns and surrender of animals gifted during the holidays.

She explains that this is due to the surprise for families who were not expecting a new pet and in turn, unprepared to care for them. “We’re just a little more careful as we get closer to bigger holidays because obviously, we don’t want the animals adopted just because it’s a holiday, and in that kind of situation,” says Harris.

The centre houses dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, mice and sometimes birds and turtles. They also pull animals from high kill shelters and animal control making the need for food, supplies and even gift cards that they receive over the holidays that much more critical.

“(People) bring us gift cards which are really great for us (as) we can pick up what the animals need. A lot of people come over December because they want to contribute to bringing all of their donations,” says Harris.

Local businesses sometimes bring cash donations collected at staff meetings, “all kinds of small things go on in the community all the time, and it’s what we call third party fundraising. We don’t always know they’re doing it, but all of a sudden, they’ll turn up with money,” says Harris.

The society relies on the community for their donations as they are a charitable organization not funded by the government. They do, however, receive the odd grant to help with spaying and neutering feral cats and a small stipend for dogs brought in by K9 control.

They currently have over 140 volunteers but “always need more, because volunteers come and go,” says Harris. “People need to know that we help more than 1,000 injured, stranded, stray, abused animals every year,” she says.

A good way to help is to donate supplies and cash, preferably monthly donations that can be directed to specific needs of the animals like food, bedding, and medical care.

“We put up some Christmas decorations over the holidays and to be honest, people want to come to the shelter and they want to see the animals, and they want to bring things for them, so they bring food, all kinds of different things,” says Harris.

Although not officially open to the public during the week, the society keeps their doors open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 12pm – 4pm over the winter months. “As we get closer to Christmas, people tend to drop off donations and all kinds of things, and we’re also working towards being open in the afternoons over the next year or so,” says Harris.

For information, visit: www.allistonhumane.com/

(Pictured above: Volunteers at the Alliston and District Humane Society with one of the furry and lovable inhabitants of the facility)