Tails wag and noses sniff every day at the City of Gillette Animal Shelter while they patiently wait for their forever family to find them. Animals of all ages arrive at the shelter, and just like people, they need different levels of specialty care, depending on their age and current health conditions, before being able to be put up for adoption.
But, care is not cheap and can range from the hundreds to even thousands of dollars to properly nurse the sick animals back to health.
“My goal is to make sure the animals get taken care of,” said upcoming fundraising coordinator Jennifer Scott, who is also a shelter volunteer. She began fostering animals 15 months ago with help from her husband Gary, children Will and Arianna, and family friend Ashe.
Jennifer spoke of fostering one specific litter of kittens that briefly became a part of her family. Six of the babies had feline distemper and only one ultimately survived, which according to her, is not a typical fostering situation.
“We wouldn’t have her if we had taken the group to be euthanized,” Jennifer said of Aly, the only surviving kitten, who is a now one of Jennifer’s forever family members and helps take care of the other fosters that come through. “She becomes their surrogate mother. She likes to squish them and give them baths.”
Another fur baby, Olaf, was brought into the shelter with sores all through his mouth after his owner abandoned him, Jennifer said. It turned out he had stomatitis and was allergic to his own teeth. He spent two weeks with the Scotts while getting healthy enough for surgery, and another two weeks after during his recovery. Within one week of being put up for adoption at the shelter, Olaf went to his forever home.
“Fostering has been a wonderful thing for our family. It was my children who decided to keep that batch of sick kittens,” Jennifer said.
In addition to the Scott family fostering up to 34 cats and kittens, plus five dogs (so far), Jennifer and her daughter Arianna also began volunteering at the shelter this summer. Arianna is a sophomore in high school who, according to her mom, dreams of becoming a veterinarian one day.
As animals are near and dear to Jennifer’s heart, she spearheaded this fundraiser, with help from shelter assistant Karen Johnson. Johnson originally initiated the event, which is supported by the Friends of Gillette Animal Shelter along with numerous community partners.
The Warm Hearts and Wet Noses Black Friday fundraiser will be held this Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. outside of Walmart near the middle entrance. They will be offering hot chocolate, holiday wassail, and baked goods available by donation, and all funds will directly support the injured and neglected dogs and cats in the community, allowing them to provide additional extended and emergency care options.
Additionally, everyone is invited to drop off any extra Thanksgiving baked goods at the Walmart fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.
Donations are also being accepted on the Friends of the Gillette Animal Shelter’s website.
Many local businesses have joined in to make the upcoming fundraiser possible: Big Horn Dental Clinic, City Brew, Gillette College, Gourmet Lamb of Wyoming, Ice Cream Café, Jimmy John’s, K’s Koffee and Deli, The Main Bagel, Meyer Dana Orthodontics, My Junk Your Trunk, Office Depot, Pop Art, Powder River Playhouse, Sweet Cakes, Walmart, and Wyoming Water Solutions.