Sleeping cat

No gift is too small for the Watauga Humane Society.

BOONE — As North Carolina eases into new phases of reopening, Watauga Humane Society is taking steps to become more accessible. Although it remains closed to the general public, the organization is continuing to schedule fosters, adoptions and surrenders by appointment.

Ashlee Yepez, director of operations, said, “Our focus is to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our staff, volunteers, animals and visitors. With our present method of operating, we find that we are able to monitor the number of people in our building at any one time while also providing proper sanitization in between visitors.”

Watauga Humane Society’s Arko Dog Park reopened for members on May 31. Its current hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A full list of rules and restrictions can be found on the WHS website under “News.”

Charlie Duke, WHS president, said, “We are very pleased with how members have accepted the restrictions, and it is a real pleasure to see both dogs and people back in the park enjoying themselves.”

The Watauga Humane Society’s Bare Bones Boutique thrift shop has also reopened for business Thursday-Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.

Because of the configuration of the building, manager Judy Clarke is asking that all customers be prepared to wear masks while in the shop and to understand that the number of customers in the shop at one time will have to be limited.

Proceeds from the dog park memberships and the thrift shop help support the shelter’s daily operations while its regular fundraising events are on hold.

“While we aren’t able to hold our traditional events such as our rummage sale, we are still working diligently to bring in much needed funds to continue our mission. We just have to be a little more creative right now,” WHS Treasurer Monique Eckerd said. “For example, this year’s annual Hound Ears Fashion Show was changed to a ‘No-Show Fashion Show’ by chairperson Brenda Puck.”

“Through Brenda’s hard work and dedication to the animals, more than $26,000 was raised,” said Eckerd. “This is especially important as we all navigate the new normal with in-person fundraising still in question. We invite everyone to be a part of ensuring we remain financially stable with all paws on the ground. No gift is too small.”

“We have had terrific support from the community. Since March 15, we have had 167 adoptions and 80 fosters. The community has been very understanding as we adjust to this new, but temporary, ‘normal.’ Opening our doors fully to the public will be a slow and cautious approach and very much dependent upon our ability to do so safely for everyone,” WHS President Charlie Duke said.

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