SPRINGFIELD — Hundreds of animals in Springfield will be helped by a $124,000 grant from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation to Dakin Humane Society.

Leslie Harris, chair of the trustees of the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, said in a press release, “The foundation trustees are delighted to invest in organizations like Dakin Humane Society whose impact on the people and animals in their community is profound. We have long admired Dakin’s innovative programming, commitment to sustaining the human-animal bond, and solid organizational governance.”

Meg Talbert, executive director of Dakin Human Society said, “We have immense gratitude to the foundation. We have an incredible community of donors, both foundations and individuals.” She explained that $2 million of the nonprofit organization’s $5.7 million budget is funded through philanthropy.

In the press release, Talbert said, “This grant will support Dakin’s sustainability and help us to continue to have a meaningful and positive impact on pets and their families for years to come.”

Dakin has had what Talbert described as “a long-term philanthropic relationship” with the Weiderhold Foundation. The society previously received $250 from the foundation to fund its Pet Health Center, a non-emergency clinic that provides medical care to cats and dogs with payment options for pet owners.
The $124,000 grant will be used toward three initiatives.

One item that will be funded is equipment for the Pet Health Center and establish an internship program. Talbert said there is a significant shortage in people entering the veterinary field, whether as veterinarians or veterinarian technicians. Talbert said, “We want to make sure Dakin can provide a great place to learn but also encourage people to enter into veterinary medicine.”

Dakin has not updated its master plan since 2018. A portion of the grant funding will pay for a consulting firm to help create a new three-year master plan to set priorities and directions for the next three years.

Finally, the funds will pay for spay and neuter services for cats and kittens. “This will be aimed at the most vulnerable in our community who may be overwhelmed by the number of animals in their home,” Talbert said. Such situations can sometimes even lead to eviction and homelessness for people and their pets.

Dakin, which helps over 20,000 pets each year, has experienced a dramatic increase in pet intakes from the local community — 44% in the fiscal year that ended in April. At the same time, when possible, the humane society also accepts animals from overwhelmed shelters in other parts of the country.

“We never consider Dakin full,” Talbert said. “We’re able to take all these animals because of our fantastic network of fosters.” Meanwhile, Dakin facilitated 2,800 adoptions last year. Two-thirds, or 68% of those adopted pets spent time with foster families.

“We really have like people to think of Dakin when they’re looking at getting a pet,” Talbert said.
For more information about the Dakin Humane Society, adoption, fostering or donations, visit dakinhumane.org.

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