In the beautiful 1979 movie “Being There,” Peter Sellers portrays a gentle and illiterate gardener who implausibly becomes a national sensation in a world gone wrong amid deep recession and winter malaise. A talk show host asks him for his outlook on the nation’s economic future. He pauses for a moment and says, “In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”
Spring is coming. Amid worldwide havoc, and thanks to the generosity of the good people of Otsego County, there are reasons to be cheerful. Look no further than the outpouring of local support for the people of Ukraine.
The Rusty Bison ran out of spaghetti and meatballs at its March 23 pay-what-you-will event and raised more than $5,000 to send directly to Poland to help Ukrainian refugees with clothes, food, shelter, and finding jobs; the restaurant owners look to raise more on April 1 at 6 p.m. with an Open Mic and Dance Party at The Telegraph School in Cherry Valley.
Students in Edmeston Central School raided their piggy banks to raise nearly $4,000 to partner with the Village’s Rotary Club to support Ukraine.
The Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raised more than $10,000 – double its goal – on behalf of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a group with “boots on the ground” in Ukraine and Poland. SQSPCA’a indefatigable Stacie Haynes said “people are risking their lives right now to ensure animals left in shelters are cared for and pets are transported with families to safety.” So important.
Ukraine’s flag flies over Village Hall in Cooperstown and the Village welcomed Aliona Yezhova and her son to raise awareness; Ms. Yezhova continues her efforts to raise donations of money and goods to send home to help her fellow Ukrainians.
Your generosity goes beyond help for Ukraine, of course — we note, for example, the students at Milford Central also emptied their pockets in a change challenge to raise money for Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans; the Leatherstocking Credit Union waived its coin-counter fees to the Milford and Edmeston schools to maximize the students’ contributions. Lenten food drives. The Lions’ Club teaming up with Otsego 2000 to help connect people to fresh food at the Farmers’ Market in Cooperstown.
The danger inherent to publishing a list like that is that we’re bound to omit the good works of other people and groups who are working just as fervently, so — we apologize in advance for not naming all of you but are just as grateful for your ongoing selflessness.
Otsego County’s traditions of local, regional, and international philanthropy take root in Edward Clark’s deep devotion to the region that continues today through the Scriven and Clark foundations. We’re rooted, too, in our own devotion to the fundamental threads that make every village, town, and city unique yet united.
Spring is coming. Major League Baseball ended its lockout and Opening Day is here. The covers are just about to come off the parking meters. Pretty soon, we’ll all be sweeping the pollen off our windshields instead of scraping off the ice.
In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.
Susquehanna SPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes takes on another role this year as Board President for the New York State Animal Protection Federation, a statewide organization formed in 2010 to safeguard the well-being of all animals through legislative and policy initiatives in the state.
Ms. Haynes has served on the Federation’s board since 2019. The group is the voice of New York’s animal shelters, humane societies, and animal welfare organizations, and a trade/educational resource for its member organizations working to maintain high standards in animal welfare and care.
“When I started at Susquehanna in 2015, there were no opportunities to network, no playbook for best practices for shelters,” she said. “The Animal Protection Federation has grown a lot in the past few years to become what we are now, and what excites me the most is that we can do some great work for shelters all around the state.”
By Kevin Limiti
It was organized chaos at the Susquehanna SPCA (SQSPCA) animal shelter on Sunday as children came to read Christmas stories to the dogs in the kennels.
Children hung stockings and ornaments on the dog homes as the excitable canines vied for their attention. The kids excitedly bounced around from dog to dog, all as part of an effort to socialize the furry friends while simultaneously helping the children with their reading skills.
Three young boys climbed right inside the kennels with the dogs to read the stories. Amber the bulldog cuddled up next to Vincent Moscatello, 9, as he read “All the Colors of Christmas” to her. Matteo Basile, 9, read “One Starry Night” to Petunia, a heavyset bulldog, while Declan Artale, 9, sat inside the kennel to pet her. The bulldogs seemed to relax and settle into the stories.
“This campaign greatly boosts our year-end totals and helps us improve and expand our services,” Stacie Haynes, SQSPCA executive director, said. “We are so grateful to Staffworks for this opportunity once again to leverage donor contributions into additional funds,” Ms. Haynes said. “Community donations help us keep the shelter running.”
To help in this fundraising effort, go to www.sqspca.org.
By PATRICK DEWEY • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Groups from around the world joined in 2012’s inaugural “Giving Tuesday” on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, encouraging people to step outside the more commerce-driven post-holiday “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” and give back to do good in their communities and in the world.
Now an annual event, “Giving Tuesday” takes place this year on November 30.
STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The New Leash on Life thrift shop at the Susquehanna SPCA will have a pop-up fashion show and sale at the Blue Mingo Grill on Thursday, Oct. 7.
“Folks can enjoy lunch or drinks on the shores of Otsego Lake while watching the impromptu runway show and then browse at their leisure,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director, in a media release. “Our thrift shop is a treasure trove of high-quality donated items. This pop-up show is intended to raise awareness not only of what the thrift shop has to offer consumers, but also its importance to the shelter’s annual operating budget.”
STAFF REPORT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
As the season changes from summer to fall, the Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is asking the public to help raise consumer awareness and push for changes that will lead to the eventual “fall” of puppy mills.
“September is National Puppy Mill Awareness Month, and there is no better time to remind folks that there are hundreds of thousands of dogs living in cruel and inhumane conditions all across the United States, including right here in our own backyard,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
A year ago, knowing there were several such businesses operating in and around Otsego County, the SQSPCA launched its “PAWS Before You Pay” initiative. PAWS stands for Puppy Mill Awareness With Shelters.
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Is “thrift shop” the right term?
For instance, Lladro porcelain art figurines, imported from Spain since 1953 for adoring U.S. fans, can bring several hundred dollars, according to Sara Lucas, manager of SQSPCA’s “New Leash On Life” Thrift Shop.
For a relative song, you can pick up almost mint Gucci and Coach handbags – and Jimmy Choo’s, which new can retail for more than $2,000.
And from time to time, knock-out paintings are available and snapped up. But that’s not the whole story.
The thrift shop, which temporarily closed its doors last Friday, April 2, also has everyday clothes, pots, pans, glassware, suitcases, desks … you name it.
Temporarily, for two reasons: One, Lucas will shortly be launching a virtual thrift shop using Facebook Marketplace. Check the SQSPCA’s web site, and keep on shopping.
Two, when the SQSPCA’s new Susquehanna Animal Shelter opens in late spring or early summer on Route 28 at Index, a half-mile north of the current shelter, a larger and more streamlined thrift shop will open in the building next door.
SQSPCA SWITCHES ROLES
Max, top photo, awaits a snack from Susquehanna Animal Shelter staffer Allison Hungerford this afternoon as, duded up with a tie, he relaxed in SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes’ office at the Hartwick Seminar facility. Meanwhile, to dramatize Max’s plight, Haynes, inset right, spent the day in Max’s cage. He’s been in the shelter 444 days, the longest of any of the residents there. Today, the 5-year-old pit bull spent 444 minutes – 7 hours and 24 minutes – in the executive director’s office, and she in his kennel. The shelter has been focused on getting its charges adopted as soon as possible. While Max received treats, Stacie read a book and tried to ignore her barking neighbors. To adopt a dog or cat, click here. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – From now until the end of the year, when you get a good deal at the Susquehanna SPCA Thrift Store, you’ll be helping the shelter reach their $100,000 goal in the annual “Save a Life” campaign.
“You can donate $50, or you can go shopping with it,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director. “It’s a really exciting way to donate.”
The annual Staffworks campaign, which raises funds for regional shelters and animal care facilities, offers to match the first $10,000, then $1,000 for every additional $5,000, with an extra $2,000 when a shelter reaches $100,000.
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – At the Susquehanna SPCA’s new shelter, not only will you be able to see the difference, you’ll be able to smell it too.
“Dogs communicate through smell,” said Andrew Schuster, principal architect with Ashley McGraw, Syracuse. “To keep stress levels down, every dog will have a separately ‘exhausted’ kennel to ensure odor privacy, so that you don’t have a lot of barking.”
The new shelter is rapidly rising on the new campus on Route 28, across from Kevin’s Royal Ford.
“When I walked in there, I almost cried,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director. “To be able to see something tangible after all these efforts and all their support – in some ways, it’s hard to believe!”
Ground-breaking was in August 2019, and completion is on track for late April.
“There have been some delays on the supply side due to COVID,” said Haynes. “But where they can’t work on one project, they work on another.”
Walls have been put up and trusses have been placed on both the shelter and the thrift store; the elaborate plumbing network was installed before the slab was poured. Each pen has its own drainage system for easy cleaning and waste removal. Drains are also in place
for surgical sinks, laundry and bathrooms.
“It’s a challenge to approach this building in designing it for animals,” said Schuster. “Most building codes are designed for people, so trying to determine, for instance, where to place toilet fixtures, is a bit of a challenge!”
Schuster, whose firm specializes in sustainable buildings, said he paid special attention to insulation and air tightness to minimize mold and prioritize air circulation and quality.
“Normally, HVAC is a third of the cost of a project,” said Rick Bliss, project manager for William H. Lane Construction’s Cooperstown office. “But with this building, it’s half our cost.”
“It will be a very healthy place to visit,” said Haynes. “Especially during a pandemic.”
In addition to the reduction in odor, the pens will also be two-part, separated by a “doggie door.”
“This gives dogs an opportunity to relieve themselves someplace other than their living space,” said Haynes.
In the event that the shelter takes in multiple animals at a time – for instance, Haynes says, a dog hoarding case – the doors can be closed, dividing the kennel in two.
The room will also have windows to let in natural light, with the lower sill high enough so dogs can’t see any squirrels that may go running past.
“That will also cut down on barking,” said Schuster.
The SQSPCA set a $5 million goal in its “Shelter Us” campaign, and so far, has raised $4.6 million towards the goal.
“The idea is to enter our new building without debt so that we have more resources to put towards our animals,” said Haynes. “Having a mortgage and having to allocate some of our budget: That is Plan B.”
The closure of the thrift store at the height of the pandemic put a strain on the budget, but Haynes said she was touched by the ongoing contributions to their fundraising efforts.
In Thanks, All Adoptions $23
COOPERSTOWN – With the support of a “generous” anonymous donor and community supper, the Susquehanna SPCA has surpassed the $100,000 dollar-for-dollar matching challenge, bringing the shelter $223,000 closer to the new shelter’s $5 million price tag.
An anonymous donor funded the challenge to help the Shelter Us campaign meet its goal.
“Thanks to the generosity of this anonymous donor – and to an incredibly supportive community that continues to amaze us – we are now only about $600,000 from the $5 million mark,” said SQSPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes.
Two More Spared Euthanasia In Georgia Shelter
COOPERSTOWN – The Susquehanna Animal Shelter has once again opened its doors to dogs from Beirut, Lebanon, where the 13 animals faced violence, torture and starvation.
“We first partnered with Animals Lebanon in the winter of 2019, when LVT Sara Haddad and I traveled overseas – all expenses paid by Animals Lebanon – to bring traumatized dogs home to Otsego County,” said Stacie Haynes, executive director.
“These dogs are suffering horribly, and the circumstances are right for us to take them in and find them loving homes.”