This year, Hamilton County Tourism decided to pause the "holiday crazy" to honor the people for whom giving is not only an act, but a lifestyle in Hamilton County. Learn more about Tourism Gives here.
The population in Hamilton County is continuing to boom - the homeless pet population, that is. Around 4,000 animals enter the Hamilton County Humane Society every year. That's enough to fill every seat in the Palladium with a dog or cat - two and a half times! Taking care of so many animals is no easy task. Dogs are especially in need of attention, since exercise and time outside is essential to their overall health.
Russ Mulholland and Nancy Thomas are a dynamic dog-walking duo that dedicate hours each week to giving the shelter dogs leash time, regardless of the weather. Despite having some physical limitations, Russ and Nancy have walked dogs in rain, sleet and snow, because the dogs need exercise regardless of the forecast. Together, Russ and Nancy have logged 412 hours walking dogs over the last four years.
Rebecca Stevens, Hamilton County Humane Society executive director, believes that Russ and Nancy have a special gift when it comes to working with the animals.
"Some of the most frightened dogs who don't behave well towards men respond to Russ," Rebecca said. "The animals somehow know they're safe with the two of them."
Despite the dedication of stellar volunteers like Russ and Nancy, the Hamilton County Humane Society can always use help to make sure thousands of dogs and cats receive the best care before finding permanent homes. As one of the only open-admission, truly no-kill shelters in the country, the Humane Society relies on individual contributions, adoption/service fees, events, corporate sponsorship, membership and grants to fund 77 percent of their operations each year.
Maybe you don't have the time or energy to walk dogs for as many hours as Russ and Nancy have, but don't let that stop you from lending a "paw" to help animals in need.
Here are four ways you too can give to the Hamilton County Humane Society:
1. Make a one-time or monthly donation by clicking here. If you choose to become a monthly donor, consider becoming a member, as well.
2. Donate "wish list" items. Click here to view the Hamilton County Humane Society's Amazon wish list. Ordering online is super easy and you can have the item shipped directly to the facility (1721 Pleasant St., Noblesville, IN 46060).
3. Volunteer. Check out the volunteer requirements to see if you qualify, and then fill out the online form to get started.
4. Adopt. If you have the resources to add a furry member to your family, consider adopting or fostering an animal. Click here to view the adoption process guidelines and take the first step to giving an animal a permanent home.
Thank you for your tireless giving to Hamilton County, Russ and Nancy!
For long-term support of Hamilton County charitable organizations through the Legacy Fund, click here.
Also, enter to win this week's "get one, give one" prize! Each week there will be give away for a pair of prizes so you can enjoy one prize and give the other away to someone special.