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A weekly series focused on Bloomington-Normal's arts community and other major events.

Happy Tails to spark the start of a fundraising month for the Humane Society

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The Humane Society of Central Illinois (HSCI) will host a monthlong fundraising event in May called Happy Tails.

Happy Tails will raise money to support animals at HSCI as they wait for adoption.

“Our mission is to find loving, forever homes for the unwanted pets in the community,” shelter manager Jane Kahman said. “Doing these different events out in the community ... helps raise awareness to our program, and we also in turn get to adopt out some wonderful animals.”

To start off, there will be a family-friendly drag show and pet fashion contest at Station Saloon in Bloomington. It will go from 5-7 p.m. on April 30. An adults-only drag show will take place from 9-11 p.m. Tickets are $10, and up to 20 pets can be registered to participate.

Other events during the three-week fundraising campaign include an auction, community scavenger hunt, bake sale, pet meet and greet, and an open house at the shelter. That’s in lieu of the HSCI’s traditional one-night only gala with an auction.

According to Kahman, private fundraising is how the shelter pays its bills, salaries, building costs, and food for the animals.

“We also know and appreciate that some of our donors want their dollars to go to very specific things and we want to honor that,” committee chair Meg Barnet said. “So, there are opportunities for donors to channel their funds to specific needs ... we try our best to always honor the desires of our donors.”

Barnet said the idea for Happy Tails came from past events that sparked an emotional and aspirational vision that helped community members feel good and identify with the campaigns hosted by the Humane Society.

“Happy Tails ... is what we aspire to: We want happy tails,” Barnet said. “T-A-I-L-S, we want our animals happy and their forever homes and T-A-L-E-S, we want the stories around those adoptions to be happy and forever.”

HSCI plans on continuing Happy Tails for years to come, in hopes that it becomes something donors and community supporters start to identify with.

“One of the biggest challenges is being able to help more animals each and every year and that does equate into money,” Kahman said.

With fundraising comes the ability to provide animals with food, shelter, training and the socialization they need before they go into forever homes. HSCI relies on donors and does not receive government funding.

Not only are these fundraising events in May a way to raise money, but those looking for a loving animal to adopt can get that opportunity as well.

“Nothing beats the look on families’ faces when they take that animal home,” Barnet said. “They are so excited, and we know that we had a huge part in that.”

HSCI will post Happy Tails updates on its Facebook and Instagram. More information can also be found on its website.

“We really want community participation. We have so many fun things coming up in May for Happy Tails,” Barnet said.

Marissa Harvey is a reporting intern at WGLT. She joined in the spring semester of 2022.