The Knox-Whitley Humane Association has a new director.
Melissa McElroy, who began working at the shelter in 2014 as a volunteer, and, most recently, served as interim director following the retirement of Deanna Myers, has been named to the position.
“It was love from the minute I walked through the door,” McElroy said of her time at the shelter. “I have done a little bit of everything here from taking pictures, animal transport, to walking dogs and cleaning cages. I couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.”
McElroy said following Myers, who became an institution during her 10 years as director, can feel daunting, but the fact that Myers left the facility in such a good place is reassuring.
“I had a wonderful mentor in Deanna,” McElroy said noting it was Myers who brought her onto the staff after seeing her dedication as a volunteer. “I hope to push it even further with all that I have learned from her.”
McElroy said she wants to institute a foster program that would place animals in local homes so they may begin learning the behaviors and skills to make them good pets.
In addition, she is working to increase the number of volunteers.
“More volunteers means happier animals,” McElroy said.
It isn’t just volunteers who are ready and willing to play with animals, bath them, feed them or even clean kennels.
“We can use volunteers, who have technical skills such as electrical, maintenance or construction, or even those who could help with fundraising,” McElroy said emphasizing that volunteers may give whatever time they can, and do whatever they are comfortable with and willing to do.
McElroy said that in the coming weeks, she will be revamping the KWHA Facebook Page to make it more user friendly, and launching the new website, www.knowwhitleyhumane.org.
The shelter has a number of events already scheduled, including the annual Stars & Stripes Adopt-a-thon on Saturday.
Visitors may come out to the shelter between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to meet with animals that are ready for adoption.
In addition there will be face painting for the children, a yard sale, door prizes, raffle items and concessions.
Anyone with gently used items they wish to donate to the yard sale, may bring them by the shelter during regular business hours.
Donations are tax-deductible.
Along with yard sale items, McElroy said the shelter is constantly in need of pet supplies, office supplies and monetary donations to help keep the shelter operations going.
In addition to keeping the animals fed, McElroy explained that before an animal is adopted, it is spayed/neutered, fully up to date on its shots, and receives flea and tick prevention medication.
“That takes money,” McElroy said adding that funding may also be used to lower adoption fees during special events.
“People are blown away by what really goes into operating the shelter,” she said.
The shelter is part of the Amazon Smile program. By shopping on Amazon and going through www.smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.
In addition the shelter has a wish list on Amazon.com.
Devonna Maguet, President of the Knox Whitley Humane Association Board of Directors, said McElroy’s dedication to the shelter since she became a volunteer made her the perfect choice to fill the position.
“We are so excited to have Melissa be a part of our wonderful shelter family,” Maguet said noting McElroy has been willing to work with pet owners who were on the verge of surrendering pets they believed to be untrainable, turning them into ideal companions.
“So many people are grateful that they didn’t give up on their animals,” Maguet said.
“She has seen it all at the shelter!”