Business brisk at humane society’s yard sale

Posted May 23, 2009, at 1:11 p.m.

BANGOR — Heidi Kennedy and Robert Dowling of Hampden recently bought a sweet, blond dog they named Widget. Considering that the Hampden couple enjoys spending time on the water, Kennedy and Dowling were pleased with their purchase Saturday morning at the fifth annual Memorial Day yard sale at the Bangor Humane Society’s Animal Care and Adoption Center.

“We found a lifejacket for her,” Kennedy said as Widget, a 1-year-old Pekingese-Maltese, stood near her owner’s feet.

In true yard sale fashion, by 9 a.m. Saturday dozens of bargain hunters had pawed through tables of donated items. Dani Arbour, the shelter’s volunteer and events coordinator, said business was brisk all morning and the volunteers already had pulled in around $1,000.

Saturday tends to be the yard sale’s biggest day, Arbour said, although the event continued from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and will have the same hours Monday.

“It’s been so busy,” Arbour said. “It’s been slowly rising over the years. Last year we brought in about $3,000 and the year before that was just around $2,000.”

The yard sale is hosted by the shelter’s volunteer group, Arbour said, and the money raised at the yard sale goes to the shelter’s approximately 75 volunteers. A portion of the funds is set aside for a volunteer recognition night, but most of the money makes its way to the shelter through some sort of donated item.

“We identify the need that’s the greatest but is not in the budget, and we try and purchase it for the shelter,” she said.

Last year, Arbour said, the volunteers purchased stainless-steel litter boxes to replace the old plastic boxes. Stainless steel cuts down on the transmission of diseases, she added. The volunteers also bought ergonomically correct stainless-steel buckets for dog kennels.

It costs $75,000 a month to run the shelter, which Arbour said does not take public funds. The shelter relies on private funds and donations, which have slowed lately because of the recession.

“If we don’t need it, we don’t get it,” she said. “As long as we’re meeting the needs of the animals, it’s fine, but we’re cutting back on a lot of little things.”

Arbour said the shelter now has about 80 cats in its facility, with some kittens in foster care returning next week to the shelter for adoption. There were just a few dogs Saturday.

Kennedy and Dowling bought Widget at a pet shop, but they’ve become frequent visitors to the shelter.

“We come here often to look around,” Kennedy said while Widget paced nearby. “We’re looking for a little brother for her.”

The Bangor Humane Society is located at 693 Mount Hope Ave. For more information, go to www.bangorhumane.org.

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