The Humane Society of Harlingen is looking forward to its annual Wine & Whiskers event – and this year’s event will hold special meaning.
The March 30 fundraiser will honor the Humane Society’s founders – Marilyn White, Susan McCarthy, Laverne Hill and Dr. Marguerite DeWitt. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the TSTC Cultural Arts Center. It’s a sellout, a credit, in part, to the flurry of activity initiated by Lilia Castillo Jones, the new executive director of the Human Society, and the honoring of its founders.
“It’s going to be very special to have them here,” Jones said of the four founders, who started the Humane Society of Harlingen 30 years ago. “They’re trailblazing women and they’re the reason we have a place to save and place so many beautiful pets.”
Jones, a former newspaper publisher and Gannett executive, took the helm in late October. She ticks off a list of goals and actions taken over the last five months. Her focus is on raising “the save rate” of dogs and cats brought to the shelter. Jones and her staff and volunteers are seeking to get to a 50 percent save rate by year’s end In other words, they want to place half of the shelter’s pets before facing euthanization.
“That’s my mission,” Jones said.
Getting there means building up the organization’s base of volunteers. Animals also need to be “vetted” with all of the needed immunizations to position them for quick adoption. There is also the importance of raising the organization’s profile in the community. Jones is working closely with the local PetsMart to have adoption events at the store on Dixieland Road every other Saturday.
“We’re going to be doing more of those kinds of events to get our name out there,” she said.
Saturday’s sold-out fundraiser is another step in that direction.