Hey folks: Welcome to Update-a-Rama!!

We now have a flag pole…and if Karl has his way, we’ll have 3 by the end of the week. I’ve been insisting he not work in thunderstorms and as you should know, we’re supposed to get soaked today & tomorrow! Which is a great thing for all the new plants that have been donated and seeking homes on the grounds as well as for those who have been newly planted. If you see Sue, be sure to thank her for rescuing the pansies by the bird feeder- they desperately needed to be re-located to a “partial sun” area.

Speaking of, soon you’ll be seeing double by the bird feeder as well- yes, another feeder has been donated- and Karl has promised to pick up more seed for the blue jay that’s been nearly fearless in hanging around last Saturday keeping Sue & I company on that humid morning. Not only are we helping dogs, cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs, we’re also supporting local wildlife! So bring your camera next time you come!

What? You can’t see the new pictures? Sadly, neither can I. My laptop crashed and while I have the pictures on my external hard drive (well worth the investment, by the way!!!), the laptop is still being too tempermental to be useful. But check this weekend as I’m having a technology handy friend over this week- thank goodness for tech people!

Or, even better, stop by the Humane Society- like Sue, I’m sure you’ve forgotten to fill out your time card a few times and you could always stroll through the Adoption Office and check on the ongoing progress there. Don’t forget to peek in on the Adoption kennel process- Karl had a little “oops” and you’ll notice the paint is peeling but that should be fixed by Wednesday as long as everything cures properly in this humididty.

There’s a rumor going around a big-wig is stopping in to peruse the grounds this week so when you stop by if you see something un-tidy, please take a moment to make it right. We all appreciate it, even when its just us volunteers!!!

The progress we’ve made is wonderful but don’t forget there’s always more to do! Yes, always! But don’t be intimidated by our goals, everyday it just takes a few steps towards the bigger picture and we’ll get there sooner than you think : ) 

I’ll do my best to get everything updated soon, please check back with us again after the weekend for fresh pictures and updates from Sue & Karl!!


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Pictures Coming Soon!

Sorry, between vacation & Saturday’s offsite events, I’ve been exhausted. Sue Roberts has been away and Karl was MIA when I stopped by Friday to grab new volunteer shirts (I couldn’t get the sap out of the old one!). But “Wow!” is the perfect word to describe it all when I arrived and whipped out my camera. The Adoption Office mural is amazing, the agility course and dog park fences have moved, the volunteer meeting room in the Admin building is yellow, and the pine tree trimmings were gone.

All this thanks to you great volunteers!!! Pat yourselves on the back and let’s get back to work then : )

I need to get back to my original “To Do List” to even catch up honestly! The flag pole set-up in front of the cat house has already been outlined and our gardens have been outlined with ties too. We need more mulch and I need to get measurements to fix our gravel parking lot too. I have to harrass Zoning & Planning for signs. And there’s so much more- including the Serenity Garden- coming soon!

I’d like to say a special thanks to the Dog Enrichment team & helpers that took time to help Karl with the fence moving. That’s been a big goal of his and now it will be much more convenient for visitors to miss the giant mud puddles by the Agility Course & Rebel’s Park! And also thanks again to the Boy Scouts who helped Sue with the side fo the Admin Building & helping to move the pine tree trimmings. All of your hard work does not go by unnoticed- I have visitors tell me all the time how wonderful the grounds look! So great job and I look forward to working with everyone in the future!!

I hope to have pictures up tonight but they’ll be up on our Flickr first so be patient with me!


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Saturday- The Boy Scouts Rock.

So you have noticed the bird feeder has been moved from the Cat House to under the bird feeder by the Admin Building- we have Sue & a group of wiley Boy Scouts to thank for that! Plus, I borrowed Alec to help me drag down the pine branches up by Rebel’s Parks so that’s thinned out a bit. Remind me to tell Karl, I can only curl about 30 pounds on a good day- cut the branches smaller!! Speaking of, anyone have some tricks as to how to get sap out of clothes??? That will be the second shirt down.

Hey, did anyone go to McShane’s? You might have noticed I wasn’t there. Yeah, I thought it was Saturday. I’m not sure how I got it in my head that it was Saturday but it stuck. Sorry. But I did stop off at the new PetSmart by Regal Cinemas & see the gorgeous Cat Adoption Center Luna’s House is sponsored with. I’m not sure how they keep it clean though- it looks like it’s carpeted. The bigger one is better though- they didn’t have many toys just food mostly (which is good to know if you need it!). Oh & their chinchilla is wicked cute!! You have to stop by just to see the set-up they have in some of the animal cages.

Email me with any reviews about McShane’s or pictures to be posted to Flickr!


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Finally, some organization to the Chaos…

Or at least a plan to use the rest of the mulch and more! I caught up to Karl last night to run some ideas by him and see what the next “plan-of-attack” is. I got more than I bargained for since he had charts- yes, renderings of ideas which I’ve forced him to take pictures of and will post when I get them. Seems like there’s a lot to do but now I feel more comfortable knowing what “it” is.

Our first surprise is we may be getting free outliners for the gardens so we don’t have to use the wooden ties. Secondly, I’m waiting to hear back from the owner of a tree clearing company to see if they can help us with the 2 big trees that do present a danger. Thirdly, Karl has a new cat companion in his office! The poor beautiful fellow was abused so he’s terribly shy but so gorgeous when he crawls out of his little hutch. Be sure to ask Karl to see him.

On my assignment list is a call to the Planning & Zoning Division for signs. I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either but if we want signs that rival Annie’s Park, that’s who we have to speak to. I’m calling in a favor to get some of our gutter issues fixed and hopefully can find someone to fix the half of the Tech Building roof that needs to be redone (desperately!). Also, we need fill dirt- where does one find dirt?

On Karl’s To-Do List- which is significantly longer but far more exciting- is redesigning and improving Rebel’s Park & the Agility Course. He’s meeting with the Dog Enirchment Team on the 20th to discuss ideas. The he’s back to the Adopt-A-Kennel Project as well as getting materials for many more ongoing smaller tasks.

Sue (aka Our Fearless Leader!) will continue beautifying our area now that we’ve outlined the next zone to be cleaned up- the side of the Admin Building. She’ll guide our volunteers to mulch around the tree bases and ring the mulch with donated flowers (which we need more of by the way!). Then there’s going to be a mulched area for benches by the gate for volunteers to rest & recouperate. It doesn’t sound like much, but trust me when you’re hauling mulch in a wheelbarrow, it can be exhausting work.

We’ll be taking on the Tech Building as the next zone after the Admin Building. It needs a new half of a roof, the door really needs to be re-painted and the cages need to be cleaned up and organized! While we’re at it we need to re-seal the wooden steps (and the Cat House wooden steps!) and tidy the overgrowth in the area.

I’m looking into paint/sealer for the peeling cement all over the buildings as well. But that will be a ton of work in itself to sand and re-do entire sides so I’m holding off on that! Plus there are cracks in the cement wall by the Maintenance Office so I need to speak to a professional about how to fix those. Anyone know a cement/mortar professional? Hmm, wonder where I can get a power washer too….

Have I forgotten anything? Probably. But as always, feel free to email us suggestions or post them on the Yahoo Board!!!


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You get the basics, right? Now let’s break it down!

Currently, we’re working on a few things simultaneously and it gets confusing, even for me! Not to mention I found out about some other great projects going on as well so my mind is officially boggled. So let’s break it all down and Karl can scold me for forgetting things later. When you’re reviewing these, please think of ideas and how you may be able to help or supplies you can donate. Thanks ahead of time from all of us on the team!

Projects Now:

The Cat House (Meow- wink, wink.)

We’ve torn down the overgrown stuff in front of the cat house. We’ve put in the gardens, some mulch, and are adding the wooden ties to outline everything as often as Karl can drag them in from the fields.

What’s next: We obviously need to scrub the side wall of the adoption office (it’s green.) and clean up the stumps sticking out of the ground. We’ll fix the small garden on the side by the gravel lots with mulch and trimming. We’re going to get some sod or grass seed to fill in the gaps. We’re going to cut down the massive tree- WHAT?!?!- yes, cut down the dying giant tree, it needs to be done. Then, we’ll fix the brick walkway to the cat house, fence in the “front yard”. Add the 3 flag poles I mentioned previously and tidy as needed.

The Goal:Then we will have successfully created a “Meet & Greet” area for visitors introducing current pets to potential adoptees!

The Serenity Garden

We took down the two giant shrubs by the entrance to the small dog park entrance (yeah, you can see it now!) in order to clear the area for the garden. Karl is in the process of taking down 2 large trees that are in danger of tearing up the fencing of the dog parks.

What’s Next: We have the marble bench in honor of our founder which we will place 2 dogwoods by (they’ve already been donated). Then we’ll add a new & improved “wishing well” fountain and add some benches and hopefully a sign that briefly lists the importance of the area.

The Goal: To honor our past and inspire our future. This is definitely Karl’s pet project and I think it will bring a lot of people in from the public and become a meeting place for volunteers and visitors.

Adoption Doggie Door

We’ve currently moved the donation box and tore down the old wishing well to clear the area.

What’s next:Hopefully this weekend, with the help of some Boy Scout volunteers working on a Community Service badge, we’ll move the Japanese Maple & shrubbery to replant them elsewhere on the grounds. We’ll take out the stepping stones and be able to use them (probably in the Serenity Garden) again. Then, Karl has to assemble some fencing and cut a hole in the adoption office to insert the doggie door frame.

The Goal: To allow the dogs in the front office to be able to go out and use nature’s restroom or take a break when it gets loud and busy in the adoption area.

Adopt-A-Kennel Program- The 1st Kennel

Karl’s almost through with the first kennel. It’s been painted, the new window and lighting system are all in along with the new doggie door. Have you seen it? WOW!!

What’s next: The cement needs to be sealed up, the window needs some framing and the thermal flap to the outside needs to be put in. Then we need someone to adopt it!

The Goal: To redesign all the kennels in a way that saves time for the staff, improves comfort for the dogs, and looks a lot better to all of us!

Anything Else?

Yes, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something. And there are always new plans in the works- like the mural in the Adoptions Office. But I’ve covered the basics for now. Have a little dream for a place on the grounds? Please let us know! We need to put these lovely donated bird feeders somewhere.

Oh and a heads up, we’ll be needing fencing soon- once we complete all this we’re redesigning Rebel’s Park! It’s going to be awesome- you might want to volunteer for the team now and beat the rush 🙂

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Welcome Team Members!

What a difference a day can make!

The cat house is looking fine- meow. Thanks to everyone who donated/dropped off plants and especially to the Highway Department & the Composting folks for helping us get our hands on some beautiful mulch! A staff member even dropped off 2 bird houses to add to our growing menagerie of goodies- did you see the bird bath?!?

We are lucky to have some Boy Scouts coming in the next few weeks to help as well. They’re working on a community service badge and we’re very much looking forward to putting them to work!

Can you lend a hand or donate some supplies? Please contact our fearless leader, Sue Roberts through the Yahoo Community Board or Karl Hickerson, our Grounds Maintenance Hero (karl@harfordshelter.org)! Don’t forget to stop by and see our progress too….


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