Whether big or small, Knox County Humane Society is proving that all dogs just want to be comfortable.
Knox County Humane Society (KCHS) has been experiencing a small flash of fame after an article by The Dodo, an online publisher focused on animal rights, featured several pictures of KCHS’ dogs lounging in armchairs. The article and video went viral on the internet and the shelter now finds itself swimming in donated armchairs of all shapes, colors and sizes.
“We asked some individuals for chairs and then we had some employees here [who] had chairs too, so that’s how we started out … one woman brought us 11 chairs. She went and bought them from Goodwill. Now the words out though, we’ve been getting lots of chairs,” KCHS volunteer coordinator Erin Buckmaster said. “[There have been] a lot more adoptions since it’s gone viral. People are calling from as far away as Tennessee wanting to bring us chairs and other states wanting to bring us chairs. I always tell them we got plenty here but ask their own shelters if they’d be interested.”
Buckmaster said that it all started with Buster Brown, the shelter’s furriest front desk worker. Anyone who has visited KCHS has seen Buster Brown’s large, worn red armchair that sits behind the front desk and the large pitbull that happily perches on it.
“He just loves his chair up here [at the front desk] and we didn’t want to give up our chairs so we got him his own chair. In the meantime, all the other dogs needed chairs so we decided to try it out and ask people for chairs and since then it’s gone viral,” Buckmaster said.
Buckmaster saw how happy and comfortable Buster was in his chair and knew that the other dogs would benefit from having plush perches of their own to help with the lonely and sometimes long process of waiting to be adopted.
She said that she has already seen a change in the shelter’s environment with the new chairs — the kennels aren’t as messy and the dogs are less noisy, probably because they are getting some nice naps in on their new furniture.
The community’s ongoing donations are generous if not a bit overwhelming. Buckmaster said that they were worried about ending up with more chairs than they have animals.
“With our storage it might become a problem, but so far we’ve been good because we give the dogs up front chairs and some cats,” she said. “We always wait until they’ve been current on all their shots and everything to makes sure everybody’s well in the back, but they still have nice beds to lay in in the back.”
KCHS has been a part of the Galesburg community since 1994 after renovating the old Animal Disease Lab into a no-kill shelter.
The Humane Society had been around since 1950, but with Animal Control being run by the City of Galesburg at the time, they euthanized most animals. Buckmaster has been with KCHS since they bought the building in 1994 and celebrated with them when they were able to take over Animal Control in 1995.
Now, KCHS has a contract with the City of Galesburg and takes all animals that Animal Control finds within city limits, making sure they are being treated properly and most importantly, not being euthanized.
“We don’t euthanize here at all unless there’s a vicious or really sick animal, or a really old animal comes in and we can’t adopt them out. Sometimes it’s kinder so they don’t suffer, like cats that are hit by cars, but we try to save them all. So our mission is to try to save them all, basically. That’s our goal. We don’t like to put down any pets at all because they’re here and hopefully they’ll all find homes, some take longer to adopt out than others … Big dogs take a lot longer to get adopted while small dogs can be in and out in a week. We just try to make them as comfortable as possible while they’re here,” Buckmaster said.
They are upholding their promise to make the animals as comfortable as possible by not only providing excellent care, but by treating them as though they matter.
Thanks to Buster Brown, many dogs and cats are being treated to the comfiest kennels possible as they wait to find their forever homes.