By JESSICA WELSHANS
Cleaning, feeding and training are just some of the daily tasks at the Lycoming County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 2805 Reach Road.
Many of these tasks use items off the shelter's wish list.
On the list are pet foods, paper, cleaning supplies, office supplies and even gas cards for the shelter's rescue vehicles.
The wish list is available throughout the year, but during the holidays the SPCA tries to increase awareness for those furry friends in need. Donated items help off-set costs and can funnel fundraising money into other needs at the shelter.
"It helps so we don't have to use funds we have collected through fundraising," said Vickie Stryker, executive director of the SPCA.
At this point, the SPCA has 5 percent fewer animals that have come in than this time last year, but adoptions this year have been down and animals have been staying longer.
"The animals are staying longer and coming in sicker, having physical problems and sometimes behavior problems, which can take longer for them to get adopted," she said.
At times, the shelter has been completely full and for a longer period of time then ever before, Stryker said.
Since there are no time limit for an animal's stay, donations - whether monetary or off the wish list - is very important.
During the holidays, boxes are placed throughout businesses in the community to encourage shoppers to buy something off the wish list.
Eric Grimes is a volunteer running the project and has done this for sometime with his family's help, Stryker said.
Stryker said it's been a little difficult this year to get businesses to participate.
"We love to see our donors. They can see where their donation goes and what it is doing," Stryker said. "And you never know, they might want to adopt."
Stryker said it is a real highlight when donors come in because she likes to thank them in person.
The wish list items that are most needed are used daily, she added.
"We never get enough kitty litter," she said, adding that the shelter needs the non-scooping kind, mostly clay litter.
Food and treats are daily items used by the shelter, but they don't find them on the wish list too often.
"Sometimes we get too many dog and cat treats," Stryker said.
Puppy and kitten foods are on the wish list, along with treat items like pigs ears and peanut butter. Toys like vinyl squeakers and Kongs also are there. Bleach and laundry detergent are big donor items, too. Bedding, towels and even toys are washed daily to ensure a clean environment for the animals.
Other daily items that are overlooked, but still needed in daily operation, are white copy paper and stamps.
The shelter also is seeking funds for other items that are not on the wish list.
"One thing we really need is a stainless steel portable kennel for our cat intake," Stryker said. "The one we have now is laminate and it is falling apart."
Stryker said that item is expected to cost about $3,300.
"People are generous around the holidays and I love when they come in," she said.
"It's always nice to see people be generous and help the animals," she added. "If they can't take them home, they can help care for them."
The shelter is Lycoming County's only locally run, full-service shelter operating entirely on the support of donors.
Those interested in donating wish list items can do so through participating local businesses or at the shelter.
Anyone interested in putting a box up for the Lycoming County SPCA can contact the shelter at 322-4646. More information available at www.lycoming spca.org.