Ever heard of a temporary home for lost dogs or kittens or other animals? Well I know one and it is the Androscoggin Humane Society – a nonprofit organization that started in February 25th 1885. Their first main goal was to protect children and horses against abuse. Volunteers carried out this mission until 1912 but sadly due to lack of money to buy the land needed for the shelter of stray animals; they continue to function primarily as an advocate for animal rights and welfare. Housing animals in need at volunteer’s homes and boarding facilities. Back in the early 1970’s, the organization was granted a “generous donation”. That allowed them to a land and in 1972 the first shelter was built in Auburn. It is initially intended to accommodate just over 1000 animals per year. Animal numbers continued to grow through the years and renovations has been done to accommodate the growth in 1998. At the summer of the same year, they have announced a search for a land where they can build a new animal shelter to augment their Auburn facility.
In 2000, the land in Strawberry Avenue was purchased and the facility began its construction in April 2006. On January 25th a total of 51 animals were transferred from Auburn to Lewiston – the current facility. Over the years, Androscoggin Humane Society has dedicated its time and efforts into helping and protecting unwanted or strayed animals. They accept lost, stray and privately owned animals. They serve as full service shelter – that means taking many types of animals although their goal is to adopt cats/kittens and dogs/puppies only. The shelter provides adoption counseling to those who are interested adopting animals. For them, it is very important to match the animal to the needs of the household. They also give discount spay certificates to individuals who bring litters or kittens to the shelter if they have the mother. In 1998, over 300 animals were reunited with their owners by using the computer database and investigation procedures done by the said organization. Through their classroom programs they encourage and educate the next generation of being responsible owners.
Through their program working with the Developmentally Disabled/Disadvantaged, clients are brought to the facility for socialization and interaction with animals to improve their social skills. They come to the shelter to help walk the dogs, animal socialization and other activities to gain confidence, develop social skills and being part of the experience. Currently, nearly 125 volunteers support the staff from animal socialization to fundraising to caring for foster litters in the shelter. Their Animal Enrichment program has variety of components such as aromatherapy, videos for visual stimulation and music to help keep animals comfortable and happy. In their effort to ensure that every dog and cat is placed in an appropriate home environment, a comprehensive behavioral evaluation is being done. Hopefully organizations like this will continue to expand and reach out so that dogs, cats and other animals can be man’s best friend. It can be yours too!