WAHOO – The feeling of giving is in the air. That feeling is made even better when the giving you are doing is good for animals that are in desperate need for the kindness of people.

Because the season of giving applies to more than just presents, Deb Wilcox, Saunders County Lost Pets Shelter (SCLP) founder and board president believes now is the perfect time to give from your heart to the local shelter.

SCLP began in 2005 in Wilcox’s garage. Since it first opened its doors, SCLP has helped place over 1,000 dogs and cats in forever homes. An all-volunteer run organization they rely solely on the generosity of donations and volunteers.

Wilcox said there are many ideas on how to help the fur babies who need your kindness this holiday season.

Volunteering is one area where there is a constant need, Wilcox said.

“Elementary school students come after school to help out,” she said. “We always find a spot for anyone who wants to help. The younger kids have to be able to walk a dog on their own and be able to work independently Volunteers under 18 must have a parent sign a waiver.”

Another way is to donate items directly to the shelter. Items in need include paper towels, bath towels, trash bags, bleach, vinegar, laundry soap, dishwasher detergent, scoopable cat litter, Purina cat/dog chow and Post-It notes. Additional ways to help are to like SCLP on Facebook, share adoptable pet bios, exercise the dogs and cats, clean the kennels and the facility, foster a pet, help with laundry and dishes and facility maintenance. Available chore times (every day) are 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Wilcox encourages others not just during the holidays, but any time a person is considering adding a fur baby to their family, adopting from the shelter as opposed to buying at a store.

“You’re helping an animal who is homeless,” she said. “Adopting an animal is a process so it helps when you know what kind of dog you are looking for before coming in.”

SCLP currently shelters 10 dogs and 30 cats. To keep their doors open they rely on fundraising. Future fundraisers include an Oscar party and a wine tasting which will help fund the future dog park.

According to Wilcox the dog park will be located on the corner of Hackberry and 15th streets.

“It will cater to both large and small dogs, feature shaded seating, and a dog wash station,” she said. “Construction on Phase 1 will begin as soon as we reach our goal of $75,000.”

Wilcox said fundraising is an important piece of the SCLP success and provides an opportunity for both animal lovers and non-animal lovers to support a local cause/ social issue.

“Funding is used for vetting of all animals within the shelter and locally for feral cats and the Trap Neuter Release (TNR) programs.”

Wilcox also said funding supports outreach and educational opportunities.

“It also supports the daily functions and costs associated with having a shelter, fundraising gets people involved,” she said.

Looking back over the countless adoptions she’s been a part of, Wilcox said one of the sweetest adoption stories involved a 10 year old yellow lab.

“This sweet dog was having problem messing in his kennel,” she said. “These people came all the way from Minnesota for that guy and he lived the rest of his life in their house with them loving him and never having an accident. He just needed just a little more love. We’ve had people come from as far as Oregon and Oklahoma. I really love the adoption stories where people come from a long way, to me that’s just amazing.”

Despite the needs of the shelter, Wilcox’s advice to the community is simple.

“Let’s get them all home for the holidays,” she said.

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