MISSOULA — We checked in with the Humane Society of Western Montana as the "Betty White Challenge” — which encourages people to donate to animal-related organizations — is set for Monday, Jan. 17.
“I hope it will drive some contributions. We're going to be open Monday. We're not typically open on Monday's but in honor of her -- and because it's a holiday -- we're going to be open,” said Humane Society of Western Montana executive director Marta Pierpont. “We have a couple of litters of puppies that are going to be available, so I'm hoping it leads to awareness, contributions and adoptions.”
"Anytime someone who is such a beloved character, anytime someone like that raises awareness, it helps,” Pierpont pointed out. “It is aside for her passing, but it is such a nice way to remember her and honor something that she was interested in.”
The Humane Society of Western Montana was a busy place over the holidays.
"It's been a busy time for us. We've had a couple of situations in which animals with upper respiratory and serious illness have come to the shelter,” Pierpont said. “It happened right around the holidays. We were busy with adoptions, but we also had a lot of veterinary challenges this year, and boy our medical team was really busy -- which is a little unusual.”
Those issues — along with the COVID-19 pandemic — are continuing to hit the bottom line at the Humane Society of Western Montana. But they are not alone.
“I think the pandemic has hurt a lot of nonprofits, the Humane Society of Western Montana included. In some ways because we haven't been able to have events. We do raise a considerable amount of money through our events,” Pierpont observed.
“I will say that people were very generous over the holidays. Our year-end campaign hit a mark that is pretty typical but it still left us down for the year, quite frankly because we can't have those events,” she continued.
Pierpont is hoping the current surge in COVID-19 cases – along with the omicron variant – will begin to drop in Western Montana.
“I'm definitely crossing my fingers. With the surge right now, we're being very cautious. But I did read an article that it is starting to wane right now in New York City and other eastern cities. Fingers crossed that by spring when we typically have an event it will be in person, and it will be quite a celebration.”
People who would like to donate or volunteer at the Humane Society of Western Montana can click here for additional information.