Woodley still helps animals

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Gerald Woodley, the new fundraising coordinator for Mending Spirits Animal Rescue and former chair of the Board of Directors of the Brown County Humane Society, holds his almost 8-year-old blind chihuahua Rino.

ANKATO — The former chair of the Board of Directors of the Brown County Humane Society (BCHS) is now organizing fundraisers for a different type of pet rescue.

Gerald Woodley is now the fundraising organizer for Mankato-based Mending Spirits Animal Rescue (MSAR) after retiring from the BCHS at the end of last year.

While the nonprofit’s official address is in Mankato, it does not maintain much of a physical location. Instead, Mending Spirits uses a foster system where surrendered and rescued animals live in foster homes with volunteers.

Woodley learned about Mending Spirits from New Ulm native Deb Roiger after retiring from BCHS.

A foster system has two main advantages over a shelter-based program. First, a foster system is cheaper without the need for a building.

“Obviously with that physical building come other expenses,” Woodley said. “Heat, electricity, utilities, those kinds of things. So one of the big differences really is the fact that there is no building.”

Mending Spirits’ major expenses are veterinary care for animals, including special-needs and disabled pets. The other is the food and supplies for the fostered animals.

The other advantage is fostered animals will generally get more individualized attention. As most foster-owners will only have one or two pets, they can pay more attention to how each pet interacts with other animals and kids.

The biggest tradeoff comes in during the adoption process. A shelter allows for potential owners to meet multiple animals at once.

“It might be easier for someone who is looking, say, to adopt a cat,” Woodley said. “They can come to the Brown County Humane Society and generally all of the cats are there. So they can look at all of the cats, they can learn a little bit about their history and they can see the cat right there.”

For a foster system, appointments have to be made to go to each foster-owner’s home to meet whichever animal they are fostering.

Woodley plans on organizing a series of small fundraisers in the near future. They are as much to raise awareness as to gather donations, he said.

“We want to make people aware that humane societies, whether they be foster-based or shelter-based, do an invaluable service rescuing animals,” Woodley said. “So part of what I am doing is getting our word out.”

Mending Spirits serves a diffuse area, including New Ulm. The nonprofit is constantly looking for fosters and other volunteers.

This year MSAR has rescued over 100 animals, according to its first-quarter newsletter. Of those, 43 percent had special needs, which incurs costs quadruple the amount of their adoption fees.

Adoption fees make up 89 percent of revenue.

To apply for a volunteer position or adopt an animal go to mendingspirits.org.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.