Photo by Hope Apple
Princess Roxie, a shih tzu who loves to entertain, is pictured with the Mardi Gras party animal, Sadie; and the late Greta, dressed as the famous singer Carmen.
JERSEYVILLE — Winter has passed, but the Riverbend Humane Society still is feeling the results of the cold months.
Because of increasing rates in utilities and insurance, the no-kill shelter is struggling to provide the care and services it has provided for nearly a decade since opening.
Hope Apple says the shelter needs community support now more than ever.
“We are truly struggling to survive,” says Apple, who owns the Jackson House Bed and Breakfast, the site of recent fundraising efforts such as the seventh annual Artadoptathon on April 26. The arts and crafts silent auction raised more than $500, but Apple says turnout was lower than expected.
“Attendance was not what we had hoped for, but since we decided to try a new location, we did attract some new people which we considered to be a plus,” Apple said. In the past, the event has been at Jacoby Arts Center in Alton.
Over the years, the Riverbend Humane Society has placed more than 400 deserving animals with caring families. The shelter has even successfully found homes for difficult-to-place animals: more than one three-legged dog, a deaf boxer dog, nearly blind pug puppies and a few diabetic animals.
“We are still trying to find just the right home for a beautiful, loving, deaf cat named Angel who needs to be in a home without other animals or small children,” Apple says. Even with all the shelter has done since 2005, financial struggles have put it in grave risk.
“We have pretty much made all the cuts we can make,” Apple says.
Besides the Artadoptathon, the shelter is funded by sales from Nancie’s Fancies Resale Shop, other annual events and donations. Formerly known as Hope for Animals Resale Shop, the store recently was renamed in honor of the shelter’s manager, Nancy Roam. The resale shop also is in jeopardy of closing.
“Another option (to cut costs) would be to sell the resale shop, but then, of course, that would deprive us of the income from the shop and the location of most of our fundraisers,” Apple says. “We have considered renting out part of the resale shop, but so far that has not been successful.”
Not only are the shelter’s staff and volunteers working diligently to promote it — so are the animals.
Roxie, Apple’s shih tzu, who makes monthly trips to Glenhaven Gardens assisted living facility, warms the hearts of all she entertains. Rox the Fox, as one of her performing shirts proclaims, was rescued by shelter director Bill Stuart soon after the shelter opened. Over the years, Roxie has greeted guests at Jackson House and once a dear friend was admitted into the assisted living facility, Roxie began to visit her and other residents soon joined in on the fun.
Besides spreading happiness to Glenhaven Gardens residents, Roxie has been in pet costume contests. Although her themes have changed, her favorite color, pink, always is involved.
“Roxie has (also) visited the Alton Tractor Supply, the Jerseyville Apple Fest and the East Alton Public Library, where her participation in a program also included my neighbor’s dogs who were adopted from our shelter,” Apple says. “Our shelter dogs attend adoptathons at Alton Refrigeration, Farm and Home, and Tractor Supply.”
The Riverbend Humane Society is a nonprofit organization that operates The Riverbend Animal Shelter, just south of Jerseyville. The shelter has a no-kill policy that gives homeless animals a comfortable temporary house and the opportunity to find loving homes. Apple says the shelter houses as many animals as it can.
“At last count there were 27 dogs and 40 cats,” Apple says.
The shelter is struggling because of rising costs to sustain the shelter and care for the animals.
“Anyone who shops at our resale shop, or comes to our fundraisers, or adopts an animal helps us,” Apple says.
Although help comes in many forms, the shelter needs donations from the community.
“We constantly need financial support,” Apple says.
Ways to donate include personal donations and private fundraisers. For example, friends can bring donations of funds or supplies instead of gifts to a birthday or special occasion.
For those who missed the Artadoptathon last month, Apple says upcoming events are planned to support the shelter: an Animal Independence Day in July, a fall open house in early November and a Holiday Bake Sale Adoptathon in early December. Exact dates have not been set but will be announced.
Non-monetary donations are welcome, but it is best to contact the shelter for exact brands of food before purchasing.
“Many people think that the best way to help us is to donate food,” Apple says. “We can use food donations; however, unlike people, dogs and cats thrive on the same food day in and day out. Unless we mix their food, switching food causes digestive problems. Donations of supplies are really more welcome if they are bleach, detergent, Pinesol or kitty litter.”
Donating items for raffle and silent auctions for events the shelter hosts are is appreciated. Without the help of the community, the shelter is at risk of closing, but it will not go down without a fight.
“Yes, there is a danger of closing, but we’re doing our best to keep that from happening,” Apple says.
Besides donations, adopting a pet would also help support the shelter, freeing up space for more animals.
“Prospective dog adopters must in most cases have a fenced-in yard,” Apple says. “Cat adopters must agree to keep the cat indoors. Adopters must agree to give the animal healthy food and good veterinary care.”
Those who cannot provide a monetary donation or give an animal a loving home can volunteer their time. The shelter can use committed, energetic people at Nancie’s Fancies Resale Shop, 799 Old St. Louis Road in Wood River. Volunteers are also needed at the Riverbend Humane Society Animal Shelter, 23402 Crystal Lake Road in Jerseyville.
For information, call (618) 498-7299 or visit http://riverbendanimalshelter.org/index.htm.