Kentucky Humane Society: The Model Blueprint for Non-Profit Shelters

The Kentucky Humane Society was founded in 1884, making it over 130 years old with one mission in mind: to reduce the overpopulation of dogs and cats through adoption. In 2013 alone, KHS was able to aid nearly 6,500 pets in finding a home—their biggest adoption year in their outstanding history. KHS suggests these numbers were made possible by their efforts to spay and neuter pets, the training programs offered to all animals, and the thousands of volunteers/fosters that keep the organization going.

The Kentucky Humane Society has two major facilities where they can rehabilitate and train animals. The main campus (their largest facility) is open seven days a week for adoption and admissions while the east campus is open Monday through Friday. In addition to their two campuses, KHS also works out of several Feeder Supplies stores, where they have had the most success at adoptions occurring. In total, there are nine locations in the Louisville area that grant access to pet adoption. Addresses and hours may be found on their website at www.kyhumane.org/aboutus/locations. Often times KHS offers specials for pet adoption, such as one in the month of May which had larger dog’s adoption cost reduced by 50%, and all adult cats adoption costa lowered to only $20.

As mentioned above, KHS suggests a part of their success stems from their endless efforts to spay and neuter the animals so overpopulation decreases. Each year, more than 11,000 animals are “fixed,” and many through the KHS run program, S.N.I.P. (Spay/Neuter Incentive Program). Since opening in 2007, more than 60,000 animals have been spayed or neutered. They even offer special payment plans, including those for college students. In addition to this clinic, KHS supports T-N-R, or trap and release spaying/neutering, especially to impact the growing population of cats, who, because of litter size, have a higher stray population than dogs. KHS also offers free service to neuter or spay pit-bulls, or pit-mixes that are second to cats in the over-population category.

While reducing the number of animals in the streets, KHS also takes in dogs or cats so that they can be both emotionally and physically rehabilitated. Sometimes strays or abandoned animals have suffered trauma, illness, or lack of contact with people. In these situations KHS, through their extensive training and fostering programs, many pets are able to be placed for adoption upon completion of one of the programs. Fostering is a volunteer service in which a person takes on temporary ownership of an animal that is deemed particularly “needy.” This can be a kitten or puppy that still needs to be bottle-fed, a pet that is skittish of human contact, or those in need of special care after surgery. Once rehabilitated, the pet is able to be put up for adoption in order to find a permanent home.

Besides fostering, there are many other ways KHS finds homes for animals that do not come into the shelter adoption-ready. P.R.O.U.D. which stands for Prisoner Rehabilitation for Untrained Dogs, allows canines with behavioral issues to be placed with an inmate for 30 days and taught basic instructions to be better ready for adoption. This rigorous program has a high success rate, with over 250 dogs taking part in it every year. As for cats, when one is unable to be assimilated into indoor life, often times they are adopted as “working cats,” where they are placed in locations such as barns, warehouses, and the like to keep pest control down, but the cat still has a caregiver to look after it.

To run these programs, and the organization as a whole, the Kentucky Humane Society has a high need for volunteers. Thankfully, KHS is comprised mostly of those who volunteer their time and efforts in order to help animals in need. Orientation is held every Saturday so members of the community can be trained to work with the animals, but the volunteers can do much more than feed or walk the animals. Volunteers also take photographs of the pets (for the website), sit with those who are coming out of surgery so they are less frightened, and many other unique tasks that most would not consider immediately when thinking of volunteering with KHS.

After the over one hundred years of excellence, the Kentucky Humane Society has become a model non-profit blueprint for aspiring organizations to follow. Standing up for one’s beliefs and keeping true to the mission has been a formula for this organization’s success.

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The 4 groups you see at a Renaissance Faire

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It is getting that time of year again, Renaissance Faire season…

Ah RenFaires, a place for people of all ages to enjoy a bastardized and confused version of everyones favorite time period.

I am no stranger to RenFaires, having been to quite a few in the past few years I find them extremely enjoyable. It does take a certain person to go to these though because you do have to encounter some interesting people.

I like to put these people into 4 groups:

The Crazies:

These are the people who live their lives to go to Renaissance Festivals, usually the ones who spend their free time watching anime and playing World of Warcraft and other games of the like. Nice people, just a bit… out there. 

The Scholars:

Believe it or not quite a few visitors to RenFaires are History Majors or Professors. Certainly not because of the “historical accuracy” that RenFaires provide, but because it is a rather enjoyable experience. Especially when you can have a beer and listen to Irish drinking songs at the pub.

Families:

Yeah you know. The parents who have 5 kids who are running everywhere. One in a stroller, one on a leash, one screaming for something, and the other two in some other state of annoyance. RenFaires provide an alternative to the expensive vacations to places like Disney World, and also make the SuperMoms feel like they have accomplished something.  

And finally…Rich People.

I am not kidding! RenFaires have plenty of cool shops that fit all price ranges. Some of the more interesting are the ones that hand make things such as clothing, jewelry, and arms/armor. You can purchase things like handmade kilts from Scotland (for a price) and get handmade leather work done. Some of this can come at a steep price, but you are paying for quality. RenFaires are a haven for those who can afford to be a bit more loose with their money. Something I hope to one day be able to do.

So where do I fit in? I certainly hope it is not the first one! I’m just an average history major who likes to drink a beer while watching jousting. Is that too much to ask?!?!

Enjoy your RenFaire season!

//Dakota

Visiting Old Airdrie

“Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the Green River
 To the abandoned old prison down by A’drie Hill…”
– John Prine: “Paradise” 

The lyric above is from a song released by folk musician John Prine in 1971. The song describes the old mining town of Paradise located in Muhlenberg County. Growing up in one of the neighboring counties the song was something I heard on many of occasions.

The lyric above mentions an “Abandoned old prison down by A’drie hill.” Having grown up listening to this song (and singing it in a talent show in primary school) I had often heard about this said “prison,” my parents had been there before and talked about it but we never got around to going to it.

I had all but forgotten about this little piece of history laying on the banks of the Green River until I  saw a picture on facebook about a year ago. Immediately I knew what it was, and it spurred my interest in the building once again.

Airdrie Front

I began to do more research on the property and found out that it actually wasn’t a prison but an old iron foundry built by Scottish stone masons who had immigrated from a small town located in Scotland called “Airdrie” in the 1850’s. After two failed attempts at firing the dense Kentucky ore the foundry and neighboring mines were shut down and the town of Airdrie (named after the town in Scotland) began to wither away.

In the 1880’s the stone house (originally used as a machine shop) that sets beside the foundry was used as a makeshift prison for a couple of weeks while inmates quarried stone for construction of the Kentucky State Prison in Eddyville. It is in these short weeks that the old iron foundry became known as the “old prison.”

This past November while I was home for thanksgiving, I told my parents that I wanted to go. I had found out how to get there and was going to go regardless if they went or not, thankfully they did!

Getting to the foundry is not the easiest walk by any means. To get to it requires about a 3/4 mile walk through the woods. When you arrive at the foundry you then have to go down a steep hill (or the 150+ year old stone staircase) to get to it.

Airdrie 1

It is an extremely beautiful place to see, and the craftsmanship of the stone house is phenomenal. The Scottish stone masons had modeled it after castles back home and the building has stood the test of time. It is extremely peaceful there and leaving it was almost sad. This hidden gem on the banks of the Green River sees more drunken trespassers than anything else.

Airdrie Pano

Getting there was half the fun, seeing the place as it is and how nature has reclaimed the land around it is a beautiful thing. I would recommend that anyone in the area should check it out but it is on private property and we were trespassers ourselves. But if you go remember this: Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

Airdrie Me

//Dakota

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Waverly Hills

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Ah, the mystical allure of Waverly Hills, the former sanatorium turned tourist attraction for its reports of being haunted…

It would be safe to say that when I first heard of the building I experienced a mixture of fear and interest. The simple thought of there being a building in Kentucky labeled as “One of the Scariest Places on Earth” is rather unsettling. As I got a bit older and began to research the building and its history I realized rather quickly that it had some sort of allure to it. I am the first to admit that the thought of going scared the hell out of me because I was honestly afraid that I would have a panic attack as soon as I stepped foot inside the building.

Waverly Floor 4

And then my parents decided to go on an overnight tour…

When they got back from the 8-hour tour they seemed to have this rather odd obsession with the place. Talking about how beautiful it is, and how awesome it was to walk through the halls on a quiet night. Obviously there was plenty of stories that they had to tell about “seeing” things that they couldn’t really explain. (one involved rolling an inflatable ball around and it being rolled back.)

One of the (many) balls around the facility, supposedly the spirits of the children like to play with these.
One of the (many) balls around the facility, supposedly the spirits of the children like to play with these.

They went on the tour back in 2010, and ever since, they kept trying to get me to go. I however, was not about to do that! I mean, who in their right mind would want to go to a building that has seen so much death, pain, and hurt. You throw the possibility that this place could be haunted and you have the perfect cocktail for pissing something off! For four years I kept putting it off, saying I didn’t wan’t to go, because frankly, the thought of seeing something outside of the realm of our normal existence caused me to get a bit anxious.

Waverly Floor 5

*Note: My personal beliefs in the paranormal are a bit strange. I am very much a skeptic when it comes to this, I’ll believe it when I see it. But! I do not want to be put into a position where I will run the risk of seeing something.

I was bound and determined not to step foot into the facility until I recieved some unsettling news…

http://www.whas11.com/news/local/Metro-Council-clears-the-way-for-Waverly-Hills-to-become-hotel-247837171.html

I have always had my opinions about “restoring” a building for the sake of tourism, to me it usually leads to the stripping away of the magic of the place. It becomes commercialized and artificial.

The thought of Waverly Hills being  gutted and turned into a “Haunted Hotel” seems like a crime. It was with that sad piece of news that I decided that I needed to go to this place.

The date was set, my parents my girlfriend and I were to go to Waverly Hills. Our tour was an overnight 8 hour event.

Traveling up the winding hill to the facility, the trees part and it comes into view, a large gothic building with a foreboding allure, but almost welcoming you in.

Waverly-Hills-Sanatorium-1

They broke the group of visitors (about 30) into smaller groups. The four of us were in a group with an older couple who had been to Waverly before. Every group was put on a floor and allowed free run of it for about an hour and a half before changing to another floor. There was no lighting in the facility so we were limited to what our eyes could see. We could use flashlights but they would inhibit our night vision as well as lower the possibility of “paranormal activity” around you.

Our tour started on the 4th floor, usually considered the most “active” and the entire time we were there I felt uneasy. I didn’t see anything I couldn’t reason out but I still felt eerie.

One of the many Gargoyles mounted around the facility
One of the many Gargoyles mounted around the facility

The 5th floor was extremely peaceful, I snapped a picture that I can not explain however. Looking toward the fabled “Room 502” I took a picture and when I looked at my phone I saw the shadow of a person. There was no one there when I took the picture.

Look through the doorway in the back and you can make out a figure.
Look through the doorway in the back and you can make out a figure.
"Room 502"
“Room 502”

The 1-3rd floors were rather inactive as far as “paranormal activity” goes but the majesty of the facility is something to behold.

Interestingly one of the saddest sights at Waverly, a gargoyle with a broken wing...
Interestingly I considered this to be one of the saddest sights at Waverly, a gargoyle with a broken wing…

The “Death Tunnel” or “Body Chute” was something to see as well, only a handful of people made the decent down the 500+ ft tunnel.

A cross set above the door to the "Death Tunnel"
A cross set above the door to the “Death Tunnel”
The gated door at the end of the "Death Tunnel"
The gated door at the end of the “Death Tunnel”

Overall the facility was a lot more interesting than I figured it would be, dare I say that i feel drawn to it now. Almost as if a piece of me is still there, I want to go back in the future before they destroy it by turning it into a hotel. To see the beauty of this building is something to behold.

This Gargoyle greets you on your arrival at Waverly Hills, it is also the last thing you pass on the way to your vehicle. Gargoyles are used all throughout the facility as they were seen as protectors from evil.
This Gargoyle greets you on your arrival at Waverly Hills, it is also the last thing you pass on the way to your vehicle.
Gargoyles are used all throughout the facility as they were seen as protectors from evil.

I highly recommend if you’re in the Louisville area to check this out.

//Dakota

*All pictures were taken by me with the exception of the first picture and the third. We arrived shortly before midnight so I couldn’t get a good picture of the outside of the facility.

Be Careful What You Wish For

Last week I wrote a blog about my first vehicle, a ’98 Camaro, in that post I made the comment that sometimes around this time of the year I wish I still had a car.

Well ladies and gentlemen, sometimes you just need to watch what you ask for. In Thursday nights blog post I talked about how my truck had gotten broken into. After driving the 100+ mile trip home without a window (and through rain) I found out that my new window wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday.

Leaving my truck at the body shop I drove one of my parents vehicles throughout the busy weekend. The vehicle is a Dodge Charger (2008?) and while I have drove it before, I’ve never spent this much time behind the wheel of it. Obviously I needed a vehicle to drive back to Louisville for the week so my parents let me take the car.

I now know why my dad hates this vehicle.

Like my father, I am very much a “truck person,” in my opinion it is rather hard to see out if the car and setting so low makes it harder to ride for long trips. Don’t get me wrong, the car is really nice, rides well, handles well, and doesn’t use as much gas as my truck. However I do miss my truck.

So, I talked about wanting a car this time of year, and now I’ve got one for the next week or so, be careful what you wish for my friends.

//Dakota

Bachelor Party?

I’m writing this while I still can…

A last minute bachelor party has officially been planned. I am sitting in the back of a vehicle loaded down with six dudes headed out for a night of God knows what.

Not to worry, one of us is under 21, and he’s a saint for doing this.

The groom is getting married tomorrow morning so one can only hope that tonight does not end up with one of getting left on the roof of a building.

If this night does end up like an excerpt from the hangover I can only hope that Bradley Cooper will play my roll in the movie.

Have fun and be safe this weekend.

//Dakota

The Pitfalls of Living in Louisville

Forgive me if this post is a bit… Angry.

So I was having a usual night at UPS (which includes tremendous amounts of self loathing and need for the drink) with the exception of the pouring down rain.

As I was about to leave I got a text followed by phone call from a coworker who parks near me. She told me that someone had broke into my vehicle.

Nobody ever wants to see this!
Nobody ever wants to see this!

Experiencing a mixture of feelings (mostly anger and anxiety) I was dreading the 1/2 mile walk back to my vehicle. (In the pouring rain mind you.) Fortunately one of the supervisors drove me out so I could assess the damage.

This was an absolute bitch to clean up!
This was an absolute bitch to clean up!

When I got to my truck the rain was still pouring down, somebody had busted my window with a rock (I call BS on this because a rock that small couldn’t have  busted a window so easily) and it was laying in the floorboard. They didn’t take my radio, didn’t take my knife (laying out in the open), didn’t take my other weapon (which I have a license for mind you), they did however, take my iPod. Of all things, they took that, which I was under the impression that they wouldn’t be able to see it underneath my console.

See how out in the open my knife was!
See how out in the open my knife was!

The stolen iPod is no big deal, I hope whoever stole it likes classic rock/ hair metal. The thing that pissed me off the most was that they hurt my truck.

This was the rock I found in the floorboard, I highly doubt that it alone caused the damage.
This was the rock I found in the floorboard, I highly doubt that it alone caused the damage.

I called security and metro police to file a report. I have some wonderful coworkers, they stayed with me until it was all taken care of.

I’m rather angry about it, mostly because I find theft to be extremely petty and lazy. One side of me says that if I ever find out who did it, I’d beat them with the rock they busted my window with. The other side? I’m not entirely sure, part of me just wants to say “$hit happens” and get on with my life.

Have a good day and don’t let the bastards get you down!

//Dakota