What started out as a dream many years ago, Heart of Idaho Animal Sanctuary opened their facility 1.5 years ago in Challis, Idaho.Now that dream has become a reality and Tirzah Stuart, Founder/CEO/Shelter Manager, says, “we are faced with many changes and circumstances that are both tragic and inspiring. We hope to build on our ideas every year as we strive to give the best life possible to our furry residents.”
In the short time they have been open, they have been able to expand their services. One of the most important practices of the Heart of Idaho Animal Sanctuary is ensuring that all animals are spayed/neutered before being placed in permanent homes, has become easier to do for animals at an earlier age, thanks to their veterinarian. Now the athey are able to advance their mission of population control and adopt pets out more quickly, both benefiting every facet of their organization.
Collaborating with other community institutions is very helpful for their operations and expands their reach. Partnering with the Senior Center in Challis allows them to “gather donations and make contacts in that demographic of the community.” Their robust volunteer network utilizes folks from the high school and the court system.
“We network with other animal shelters and rescues by transferring in animals that may be slated for euthanasia due to a lack of space or very treatable illnesses… Collaborating with other nonprofits helps us to utilize resources we wouldn't know about otherwise.” says Stuart.
“You cannot please everyone.” Stuart responded when asked what was learned on the job that they wished they knew before. “You have to accept that sometimes decisions that are made may be controversial or even upsetting to members of the board, clients, other shelters, or the public. But if you keep the animal's best interest above all else, and stick to your goals, integrity, and mission, you're still doing the right thing.”
Moving forward, Stuart and their volunteer working board are working hard on their annual banquet while looking to diversify their funding sources. With that, they hope to hire full time staff to truly benefit the Sanctuary and those they serve.
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