Episode 084

Lake Norman Humane

Meet Executive Director Jason Hayes

by | Dec 9, 2021

Show Notes:

In this episode, we’re featuring a conversation with one of our favorite non-profit organizations – Lake Norman Humane. 

Lake Norman Humane rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes companion animals. Their vision is of a community where pets are safe and healthy in loving homes. Lake Norman Humane works to keep families and their beloved pets together whenever possible through an array of programs and services. They facilitate the adoption of nearly 800 pets every year into loving, forever homes. To help reduce the pet overpopulation problem, they partner with clinics and area veterinarians to offer affordable and accessible spay/neuter services.

The Executive Director for Lake Norman Humane, Jason Hayes, joins me for this episode. Jason shares the story of how he became involved with animal welfare organizations after the adoption of a puppy some years ago. That adoption and a volunteering experience that followed would set Jason’s career on a totally new path working with nonprofits whose missions are to make sure healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are given the chance to live meaningful lives with loving families.

Jason and I both recognize several friends of Lake Norman Humane during this conversation. Stay with us until the end of the episode where I’ll summarize for you those friends and local businesses that are helping Lake Norman Humane and providing much-needed support for the work they’re doing there.

For now, lean in and get to know Jason Hayes, Executive Director at Lake Norman Humane.

Lake Norman Humane
2106 Charlotte Hwy.
Mooresville, NC 28117
704-663-3330

Lake Norman Humane – Amazon Wishlist

Local businesses recognized in this episode:

Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM
(meet owner Robin Smith Salzman in Episode 55 of the podcast)
Hoptown Brewing
Lake Norman Transportation
Mooresville Ford
On Tap Pub – Mooresville

Thanks to our sponsor:

Blumengärten

Transcript:

Narrator  

Welcome to The Best of LKN, a podcast featuring the best small businesses and the most influential professionals around Lake Norman, North Carolina. Each week, we spotlight those businesses and individuals that are making a positive impact here in the Lake Norman area. Thanks for joining us, enjoy the show.

 

Jeff  

Hello, friends and welcome to Episode 84 of The Best of LKN podcast. In this episode, we’re featuring a conversation with one of our favorite nonprofit organizations, Lake Norman Humane. Lake Norman Humane rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes companion animals. Their vision is of a community where pets are safe and healthy in loving homes. Lake Norman Humane works to keep families and their beloved pets together whenever possible through an array of programs and services. They facilitate the adoption of nearly 800 pets every year into loving, forever homes. To help reduce the pet overpopulation problem, they partner with clinics and area veterinarians to offer affordable and accessible spay/neuter services. The executive director for Lake Norman Humane, Jason Hayes, joins me for this episode. Jason shares the story of how he became involved with animal welfare organizations after the adoption of a puppy some years ago. That adoption and a volunteering experience that followed would set Jason’s career on a totally new path, working with nonprofits whose missions are to make sure healthy, adoptable dogs and cats are given the chance to live meaningful lives with loving families. Jason and I both recognize several friends of Lake Norman Humane during our conversation. Stay with us until the end of the episode where I’ll summarize for you those friends and local businesses that are helping Lake Norman Humane and providing much needed support for the work they’re doing there. I’ll also have all the links in the show notes for this episode on our website at www.thebestoflkn.com. For now, lean in and get to know Jason Hayes, Executive Director at Lake Norman Humane.

 

Jeff  

 Jason, welcome to the podcast.

 

Jason  

Thank you very much. Pleasure to join you today, Jeff.

 

Jeff  

I’ve really been looking forward to featuring Lake Norman Humane on the podcast. We do love to feature thoughtful, conscientious nonprofits that are based here locally in the Lake Norman area. Lake Norman Humane is one that’s near and dear to our hearts. And so, we’ve really been looking forward to this conversation and sharing a little bit of the story and everything that the team there at Lake Norman Humane does for the community with our listeners. Jason, before we get into details about that, share a little bit with the listeners about, a little background on you, a little bio on your career and how you landed with Lake Norman Humane?

 

Jason  

Sure, absolutely. I’ll try to keep it to the Cliffs Notes version of it, but I’ve been in the animal welfare field, it’s pretty much been my life for the last decade. Prior to making this leap, I had a background in operations and management primarily in real estate development and things like that. But, you know, I was at the point in my life and career where, you know, a sense of purpose and something to go home and feel proud and fulfilled in doing just was more important and felt urgent, as opposed to you know, a life focused on dollars and cents and things like that. I was fortunate to grow up in a household and a childhood surrounded by animals and animals are always very much a part of my life. But, you know, it might sound a little bit corny, but really it was, you know, at that point in my life, the real lightbulb moment was when I was in a position to finally, in my family to adopt and it really was a tremendous learning experience. At the time I was living in New York and adopted a wonderful little dog named Angel who at nine weeks old, found herself in high-kill shelter in Tennessee. And you know, just thanks to so many different people and so many links in the chain, she was rescued there and given life-saving treatment and then transported to New York, where I was living at the time and you know, to sound cliche she changed my life and what she brought to my life in so many ways probably saved my life in more ways than I could cover now. But you know, I had always wanted to volunteer at the local animal welfare organization and you know, once she came into my life and I couldn’t help but just think of all the links in the chain and so many that made it possible for her to find her way from a high kill-shelter in Tennessee where euthanasia is a reality, even for adorable puppies to, all the folks that foster, the foster that brought her up and especially the volunteers that took time out of their Saturday to bring her to adoption clinic. And now it’s the Hollywood cliche, but I saw her across the room and knew it was over. And you know, that really just lit a fire under me that the time was now, and I’ve put off making this step into volunteering for long enough. And you know, it really, I was in the next orientation class, and I really just wanted to be a part of helping other animals find that new beginning and helping people as well find a new beginning and I spent a year volunteering, but really, I don’t even think I was through the orientation session, I was like, this is where I belong, this is what’s been missing. And I spent the year volunteering there with Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. And after a year an opportunity opened up and it was an entry-level position, and at the time, a temporary position at that, but I was ready to make the leap and then essentially start over. And it was sort of just a natural fit, you know, with the background that I had in operations and personnel management, and I just availed myself to everything and anything I could learn there and slowly grew into operations and really just acted like a sponge trying to absorb anything and everything I could. And it was just such a wonderful opportunity and I learned from so many amazing folks that were working there, and they’re volunteers. And you know, it all kind of started happening very quickly, within a few years, I became the director of the county facility, and that was a tremendous growth and learning opportunity, and really having that opportunity to be involved in every aspect and best practices on things, and it was tremendous. But you know, after several years of the bureaucracy and politics and things that come with, you know, the municipal world, I was just longing to be back in the nonprofit world. You know, where animal welfare and lifesaving are the primary focus, objective, and I was fortunate to be selected one of two candidates nationally to join the leadership team in Charleston Animal Society, through the Executive Leadership Program, you know, I’m sure many do but for those that don’t Charleston Animal Society is really just a vanguard of life saving and what they have accomplished through a myriad of programs and services and realizing the first no-kill community in the southeast, first no-kill Charleston and no-kill South Carolina, and it was just life changing. And to have a year there working alongside Joe Elmore really is, I can’t say enough. He’s a visionary, compelling, effective leader that, you know, respected on a national level, and frankly, probably an international level. And to just be a part of what they’ve created over there in the last 10 years is nothing short of astronomical and just to, as they say, see how the sausage is made and really get an insight into those inner workings was an experience, beyond value, just beyond measure. So, as my time there was drawing to a close, I learned of Lake Norman Humane and got a chance to meet with the board on a few occasions and it was just an easy decision. An organization in a community that is, even from an outside perspective, just so wonderfully engaged and supportive and involved and definitely animal centric, and a board that really shared the vision of staying ahead of really the changing face of animal welfare and moving more towards breaking down the barriers to adoption and going beyond simply rehoming. The Animal Welfare has changed so much over the last few years and continues to do so, and it just was an immediate connection in terms of a shared vision of a proactive approach to animal welfare, as opposed to a reactive and the need for more community-based programs and different programs and services that really kind of get out there and address the needs long before those four paws hit the door. Whether it’s through the food bank program that we offer, which was particularly a big undertaking with COVID and everything, which was certainly an interesting time to join an organization during the sea of that, the challenges and uncharted waters that came with that. But it just was an easy decision. There was so much potential here, it’s such an amazing facility, and an exceptional core group of volunteers. It was just an easy fit and I wanted nothing else than to join this organization and be a part of growing from an effective but more rescue structure and business model to growing into a broader, more community centric animal welfare organization, and instituting those programs and services that are out into the community, whether it’s again with the food bank or humane education, or really focusing on best practices within the shelter, and, you know, enrichment and things that are unfortunately overlooked so often in under-resourced and overcrowded shelters. And it’s certainly been challenging. You know, the main thing as a nonprofit that doesn’t have any national affiliation or ongoing federal state or local funding, we’re entirely community driven through our business partners and our donors. And in spite of all that there was a lot of creative thinking and a staff that comparatively is small, but along with just a tremendous group of volunteers, the will was there and finding the way and in spite of it, we’ve grown our capacity for care in the last year and a half, since I’ve been here and the team that we’ve assembled and really going out there and trying to be the organization that says yes, whenever possible, particularly at a time where so many organizations within a stone’s throw of us are at code red status and have been for several months, and wonderful organizations and for no fault of their own, resources are limited, space is limited, and as we see so many organizations finding themselves in positions, they have to make decisions that no agent of animal welfare ever wants to make in terms of space and things like that. So, that’s one area in particular we really put a lot of focus, especially over the last six or seven months. As this code red situation continues to drag on. We’ve worked with a lot of municipal shelters and rescues in the area but also as far as Memphis, as far as Florida, particularly during some of the disaster response and things like that. And, you know, again, through no one’s fault, but it’s our opinion that the euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals is cruelty. And part of our mission and our work is to combat cruelty. So, probably nearly half of the animals we have taken in, particularly over the last six to eight months, have come from those situations and those organizations. The rest, little more than half, coming from elders and families in the community that are no longer able to provide for their care, for a number of different reasons and a lot of stray, unwanted, and abandoned animals. Again, we’re not a county facility, but we do support the county facility in taking strays and providing care for them and things like that. And, you know, one of the ways that animal welfare has changed so much is just in terms of the shifting populations and things that we see in shelters and really needing to go beyond the adoption model. Obviously, adoptions are important, and it saves lives, but you know, the community with Facebook and social media and different websites, so many of the healthy adoptable animals that once filled the halls of adoption supercenter, things are being absorbed by the community through those channels. So, a lot of the times, you know, we’ll see populations that are shifting to animals that might have medical issues, they might have behavioral modifications needed and things like that. And we’ve really just worked to increase our capacity for care and being able to stay within the best practice and the five freedoms and take those animals in. This year, the past year we have treated more Parvo cases than ever before, which is completely avoidable, and completely preventable, but it’s devastating and it is incredibly expensive. Same with heartworm treatment, we’ve treated more animals, more dogs with heartworm this year than ever before and we continue to grow that with each year as we grow. And that really was another factor in coming here is just so much potential from the literal space of the organization to the will and the vision of the board and sort of realizing, you know, the creation and development of the programs and services that can make that happen and really truly take our realization of our mission to the utmost levels. It’s definitely been challenging, but the what’s to come is exciting.

 

Jeff  

You mentioned that sense of purpose, having a shift and you know, motivation when it came to your career, to have having a sense of purpose in your work and that topic comes up a lot in my conversations with really successful entrepreneurs and small business owners and it makes a lot of sense in the nonprofit sector as well. Obviously, the work at Lake Norman Humane, it must be extremely difficult but super rewarding at times as well. A little bit off topic, you mentioned that the chain of the path that your first adoption took from was it Tennessee to New York?

 

Jason  

Tennessee to upstate New York.

 

Jeff  

Upstate New York? And a little off topic, I’ll digress for just a second, have you ever heard of an organization called Pilots N Paws?

 

Jason  

Absolutely.

 

Jeff  

Yeah, so I’m a huge aviation nerd and fanatic. And they’re one of the nonprofits that I love to follow, it’s really cool. I’ll have a link in the show notes for listeners that aren’t familiar with that. But basically, they help transport via private aircraft, dogs and cats and sometimes other animals as well, but mostly dogs, from one area of the country to another to their new home. So, but yeah, that’s cool. And a lot of the rescues that I follow on social media as well, I have noticed over the last year or so do report a lot of, they have a real need for treating heartworm cases, there seems to be, and you brought that up as well and it rang a bell when you said that, because I’ve noticed that there has been a pretty big need for heartworm treatment among rescues lately.

 

Jason  

Yeah, and it’s frustrating and it’s sad because it is preventable. It’s with modest expense, you know, generally, you know, historically it’s been a monthly preventative or things like that, but now there are even shots, that are good for six months or 12 months and things like that. But, you know, and it varies by region. And back up east where I began, the issues are more tick borne and Lyme disease and things like that. But you know, in coming to the south, and particularly in Charleston, and here, it’s almost a given. So many of the animals that enter rescues and shelters are heartworm positive, and untreated it’s a devastating disease. And because of the lack of resources and space in so many places, it’s sad to say, but that can create a death sentence. It’s a time-consuming process over the course of six to nine months, where animals need minimal activity as they’re going through it and the treatment itself. But you know, if we can’t treat that, we’re just not hitting the bar. And that’s one of the areas where we’ve really tried to increase our capacity for care. And sometimes that involves utilizing foster homes and things like that. But we have some wonderful veterinary partners that we work with in seeing those treatments through. And that’s been one of the greatest things to watch, that capacity increase over the last year and a half. I mean, I think I can safely say that over the last year and a half we’ve successfully treated more heartworm cases than we’ve probably had in a handful of years leading up to this incarnation of Lake Norman Humane. Our focus, our goal really is that any healthy, adoptable animal needs to find a home, that euthanasia is not an option. And I know, again, that’s glossing over a lot of realities and challenges that other organizations face. And I think that’s one of the main reasons we’ve been so proactive in partnering with so many different organizations that just aren’t equipped to undertake those lengthy treatments and things like that.

 

Jeff  

The Lake Norman Humane, so to clarify for listeners who may not be aware, Lake Norman Humane is not government funded. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that is funded 100% by corporate partners and individual donors, private donors?

 

Jason  

Exactly.

 

Jeff  

Yeah, I think that’s worth mentioning that, you know, the work that Lake Norman Humane does is a result of funding from community partners, corporate partners, and individual donors. And you don’t have a blank check, right?

 

Jason  

I certainly wish we did but no. It really is, you know, I say it often that Lake Norman Humane is your community animal welfare organization. The work that we do, the realization of our mission could not happen without our community, and that comes in a lot of forms. Whether it’s our volunteer folks that are just tirelessly giving themselves, the regular monetary donations from folks, folks that donate to our food bank program to support families in need and things like that, that can help keep families in homes when they’re struggling, particularly during the pandemic, where I think we distributed thousands of pounds of cat and dog food over that time. And it’s really cliche about that but it really does take a village, and in addition to just so many wonderful members of our community, we’re really fortunate to have some really terrific corporate partners that are always there to answer the call and they understand what we’re trying to do and the obstacles we face, particularly as we did the better part of year and a half without any major in-person fundraising. This last October, we were able to have our first gala in two years, which was much needed and wonderful and just to be able to have folks together in our outdoor pavilion where we could safely social distance and everything like that was a sigh of relief and just you know, it was an emotional night to just look out and see so many folks that were here for one reason, one shared goal and you know, organizations like Lake Norman Transportation, Lake Norman Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, Mooresville Ford, Hoptown Brewery which we have a very exciting partnership and promotion going on right now I’m gonna touch upon that later, and On Tap over there on Main Street. There’s just so many organizations of varying size whether they’re hosting fundraiser events or different things like that we are very blessed in the community we find ourselves in.

 

Jeff  

You have some really amazing partners and one that I want to just give a quick shout out to and recognize is Robin Smith Salzman at Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. She has been a guest on this podcast and the topic was animal rescue and adoption and she helped me connect with you, so big thanks to her and of course, all the other amazing corporate partners that Lake Norman Humane has as well.

 

Jason  

Yeah, I hope she doesn’t mind me saying so, but Robin really is an angel on Earth. She’s a blessing and she supports so many animal welfare organizations and other philanthropic endeavors. But she has been instrumental, I can safely say that the Lake Norman community would not be where we are today.

 

Jeff  

Well, big thanks to her for sure and of course, to all the corporate sponsors as well. But Robin has not only been a great friend to Lake Norman Humane, but she’s also been really helpful to us here at The Best of LKN with connecting with folks like yourself, Jason, so we really appreciate that. Jason, one of the topics that I wanted to cover was, and I know we could probably speak for hours on this subject, but just very briefly, what are some current needs that Lake Norman Humane has in terms of, mainly in terms of volunteer or staffing, but also any other needs as far as resources go? Aside from financial contributions, what are some current needs the organization has and what are some ways that members of the community can get involved if they’d like to?

 

Jason  

Absolutely. Like you said monetary donations are always welcome and the most easily mainline into the operation to get that immediate support. But there really are so many ways, I’m certainly not the first to coin the phrase but donate, wonderful. Whether it’s monetary, supplies, our wish lists on Chewy and Amazon as well as on our website. But you know, as the saying goes if you can donate, wonderful. If you can’t donate, consider adoption. Consider opening your home to one more because that’s another animal that we can then bring in and save. And if you can’t adopt perhaps consider a foster. Fostering saves lives, particularly during our kitten season where our intake dramatically increases well beyond anything that the most shelters, ours included, could house in-house so we have an extensive foster network that helps us take that on and this particular kitten season whether it’s you know, for different theories, whether it’s the limitations and shutdowns of some spay/neuter, low-cost, spay and neuter clinics throughout the year. But I’ve never seen a kitten season like this. And it’s frankly still going, we actually just had a litter born in the shelter a few weeks back, but whether it be orphaned and bottle babies, nursing moms, pregnant moms, it’s been beyond the scope of anything we’ve ever experienced. And if you can’t foster, consider volunteering. There’s just so many ways to become involved. And a lot of that information, probably the best bet would be on our website, lakenormanhumane.org. There’s more information on volunteering and fostering and some of the higher priority needs that we have. But there’s also resources for folks that may be finding themselves in difficult situations. And, again, sort of circling back to that that notion of getting out there and addressing needs before the four paws end up on the front door. And that’s really something that we’ve tried very hard to do. And a lot of that is community driven, the food bank program really kind of operates under a pay it forward type thing. Folks donate food and we’re able to sort of become the staging area and the middle person folks need. You know, there’s no means testing, there’s no blood work or blood type, or who’s your firstborn, if you come to us, and you have a need, you’re here, and we will provide food and whatever support we can. So, that’s been that program in particular, again, has just been wonderful to see the volume of food and help and support and you know, it’s modest in its intention, but it really is a wonderful way of helping folks that are struggling, that do love their animals, that do not want to rehome them that might be going through some hard times, especially during the pandemic.

 

Jeff  

That actually reminds me of someone else I need to thank and give a shout out to and that’s Shelley Moore, the CEO and President down at the Humane Society of Charlotte, who also helped me connect with you. So, a big thanks to her as well. And the topic of being a little heavy on cats during certain times of the year came up as well. And the volunteer, so the Amazon and Chewy wish lists, I wasn’t familiar with. I’ll have extra links for those in the show notes as well. Of course, I’ll have lakenormanhumane.org in the show notes and great ways to help adopt an animal, give it a loving home, foster if you can’t adopt, consider fostering, consider volunteering. And again, listeners should, I’ll just direct them of course to lakenormanhumane.org. And if you can’t do any of those, donate. Make a small, even if it’s a small financial contribution, every little bit helps for sure.

 

Jason  

No contribution is too small. Yeah, everything goes right into the care of the animals. And we’ve seen some exceptional cases, particularly in this last year with some major cruelty issues and major orthopedic surgeries and interventions and things that we’ve been fortunate because of the community that supports us that we’ve been able to say yes when so many of those organizations said no. Whether it was here, a pregnant pit bull was so colloquially referred to in a municipal shelter with very little options. And we didn’t have a foster home. But we created one, and we set aside a quiet space in the shelter and did as much as we could to make it a home-like situation and she birth all 10 of those puppies here with us. And thanks to volunteers and staff and folks taking shifts overnight and regularly 10 puppies is certainly a lot to see to and make sure whether it’s bottle feedings and supplemental feedings, but it really was one of the most heartening things that I had experience in animal welfare to see how everyone came together and saw Kiera through that and all 10 of her puppies healthy, happy, now in their loving homes. I mean that’s just one story but that’s the type of spirit of folks that we have here and Lake Norman Humane and that willingness to think outside the box and get creative and find a way and you know some recent troubling you know, cruelty and abandonment cases, some of which you can learn more about on our Facebook, Lake Norman Humane, and our blog on our website as well. It’s definitely been a challenging year but we’re not one to shy away. Even if we don’t have exactly how we’re going to do it, we’re going to figure it out. We do it and that’s really a testament, obviously I’m biased, but the team that we have assembled here is small but mighty, small number but overflowing in heart and passion and dedication and you know, I don’t have a scientific formula to explain how they do it, they just do it. They find a way and it’s really; we find some of the finest folks that I’ve worked with in this industry or in my prior life. And they really do make miracles happen. And sometimes I can’t even explain how they do it, but they do it.

 

Jeff  

I love that story about Kiera and her puppies and a happy ending for the puppies. That’s amazing, I love that. Yeah, thanks for sharing that. You had mentioned earlier, local veterinarian partners. And would you, could you mention them at all, or let us know who those partners are?

 

Jason  

I mean, primarily and historically we’ve been very grateful for our relationship with Brawley Animal Hospital. They’ve been an exceptional asset and supporter of us. And have been very generous with their services and understanding that we are a nonprofit, and you know, the resources aren’t boundless. Though we’ve really broadened that network as well as we’ve taken on some of these more difficult cases that require a specialist whether it be cardiology or one case, ophthalmology, orthopedics of course, we’ve had some really dramatic cases. So, we’ve been fortunate to work with Denver Animal Hospital a lot lately, Troutman Animal Hospital, as well as you know, CBS down in Charlotte and Huntersville and some of those organizations. It really is a network; it really is a network of folks that obviously share our passion for animals and welfare and have been tremendously generous and gracious in helping us save these lives.

 

Jeff  

I appreciate that. Thanks for giving them shout outs, and I’ll have links to those organizations and businesses in the show notes as well. But yeah, it’s one of my favorite parts of these conversations is to give local partners and cheerleaders you know, recognition and shout outs in these episodes, so thank you very much for that.

 

Jason  

That’s awesome.

 

Jeff  

Before we close, Jason, wondered if there’s, you know, anything else you’d like to share? Is there a message you’d like to share with the community or anything else you’d like to share before we call it a day?

 

Jason  

I mean, I think, if anything, to reiterate what I said before, Lake Norman Humane really is our community’s animal welfare organization, we serve this community, we are able to serve because of this community. And not that our work doesn’t take us beyond the community very often, but there’s so much need within a stone’s throw of here. And we’re very fortunate to be where we are, and to have the capacity to help those organizations that may be out of options. And again, just the fact that we are not funded on any national level, state, federal otherwise, or any ongoing funding, it really is community driven, whether it’s our again, our corporate partnerships, or the individuals, whether it’s a $5 check or a $500 check, it warms the heart in the same way that folks can give a donation that’s meaningful to them, whatever that amount might be. In terms of, you know, the immediacy coming up, we are definitely at that time of the year, nearing the end of our budget cycle and things like that. And we have a couple of cool promotions going on right now. Earlier I mentioned Hoptown Brewing and we have a very cool partnership going with them called the Lake Norman Humane 2021 Brew Spokespet. And it is a donation driven photo contest and the winning pet, that’ll end on the 17th, so we still have some time for folks to vote and basically, the animal that receives the most votes will be named the 2022 Lake Norman main Brew Spokespet, they will have a custom Crowler designed by the awesome team over at Hoptown featuring them, but to go a step further they will also have a dedicated brew created by their brewmaster and inspired by that animal featuring their name and likeness and it’ll be on tap for a run at Hoptown and they also have a just an amazing program called Sip It Forward, where we were fortunate to be one of four nonprofit organizations selected and they had this special brew which without bias to say is delicious but it’s called Sip It Forward and each person that buys a Sip It Forward beverage receives a token and on the wall they have slots for each of the organizations, and folks can choose whichever organization they would like to support with that, and at the end of the year, they donate to the four organizations $1 for each token that they received. So, there’s so many cool things that they’re doing to kind of help get the message out there for us and other organizations like us from a different array of fields in the nonprofit world. And, lastly, we are in really one of the most important fundraising times of the year for us, and it’s our Hope for the Holidays campaign that we started last year, and that will actually will have kicked off on the second of December. So, at this point, we’re sort of midway through there, but we feature a lot of the special stories and cases, and it’s sort of in a lot of ways, not only is it a fundraiser, but it’s an opportunity to just really share with the community and allow them to share in celebrating those victories and the impact that they made, and the lives that they saved. As many animals as we deal with, every one of those animals is more than a number to us. They’re a name, they’re a story, and they are one way or another, every one of them has irrevocably made an impact on our hearts. And it’s just a fun way to really put a highlight on that and share with folks who they are helping and the faces to the names and beyond numbers and statistics and annual reports and things like that. You know, every animal is a story, every animal is a living thing, and it’s just a really great time for us to share those stories. They can get lost in the mix of the overwhelming flow of social media and information that’s out there. So, it’s a great campaign. It’s fun, we look forward to them throughout the month, we’ll be featuring different stories and things like that, and just reminding folks where their money goes and the lives that they’re saving and the impact they’re creating. So, we’re definitely really excited to kick that off. And it’s one of the most, again, without the ability to have a lot of in-person fundraising things and this and that, it’s just a great opportunity to raise much-needed funds, and to really allow people the opportunity to celebrate the impacts that they’ve had and the lives that they’ve helped to save. So, we’re excited about that as well.

 

Jeff  

Every animal is a story. I love that, that’s well said. Hoptown Brewing, get a brew named after your dog, I love that concept too.

 

Jason  

How cool is that?

 

Jeff  

Yeah, absolutely. So, enter your dog to be the brew, or is it others, is it cats too or just dogs:

 

Jason  

Cats and dogs.

 

Jeff  

Cats and dogs, enter your cat or dog to be the Brew Spokespet. 

 

Jason  

Yeah, so I think next year we will probably have a separate feline and canine spokespet. But this being the first year, at this point, we’re now in the voting stage, the entry period closed at the end of November and now there’s the voting period that’ll end on the 17th. But it’s exciting and you know, obviously, there’s a lot of our alumni in there. And it’s just awesome to see so many animals entered. And it’s hard not to root for every single one of them and we have a lot of great animals in there. And it’s still very early yet, and a lot can change. So, we’re really excited to see how that plays out and see who gets to be our 2022 Spokespet. We’re looking forward to once it’s all said and done and launched and the brew is created, and the Growlers are in we’ll be having a great event over at Hoptown to sort of celebrate that and unveil and congratulate our spokespet and perhaps tip a few back as well.

 

Jeff  

Yeah, I love it. Great initiative, great cause, really creative idea. Very, very cool. I’ll jump on social and we’ll share that. And we’ll get that out in the email newsletter. So that folks are aware and there will be a little bit of time left once we air this episode and get that out in the newsletter. So, wish you a lot of success there.

 

Jason  

Thank you so much.

 

Jeff  

Jason, one more time. Before we close, how can listeners learn more about Lake Norman Humane and where are you located?

 

Jason  

Absolutely. We are located at 2106 Charlotte Highway here in Mooresville. Our website lakenormanhumane.org is definitely a great place to start. There’s a wealth of information not only on our programs and services, but also resources for folks that may be in need of assistance. We’re also pretty active on social media, our Facebook is a great resource for information or just keeping up with some of the stories and things that we have going on. Our website as well as also our blog, the latest from LKNH and we try to feature some of those special stories and events and things that are going on. So, there’s really a lot of different options. And really beyond that, particularly if you’re even considering bringing a new member into the family, we encourage you to just come down, come down and see us. We love to meet new folks and give them tours, let them see the work we’re doing here and meet some of the awesome animals that we have for adoption. Sometimes, you know, can’t always capture that moment in a photo on a website, or a bio, or this thing. You know, those connections often happen, come in and meet them. Much like when I adopted my girl, Angel, we locked eyes across the room, and it was over before it began, I knew she was my dog. And folks will come in with a particular animal in mind, and just completely unexpectedly, someone else just steals their heart. So, we’re always happy to have folks come on down and see us, we’re open Tuesday through Saturday during the week. We’re here from 12-6, generally Wednesday is our primary food bank day for folks that may need some assistance. And then Saturday, we’re here 12-4, and that’s really our biggest, biggest adoption day. But also, again, if you’re looking for a dog, our website is definitely the best place to go because it is real time. As an animal becomes available it’s immediately on the website. When they’ve been adopted, they’re immediately off the website. So, that really is the best resource. But again, we always encourage folks to come on in and meet us and see what we’re doing here.

 

Jeff  

Absolutely, yeah, it’s great advice, go take some time and visit, Lake Norman Humane and visit the dogs and the animals and see the work that you and your team are doing there. That’s really good advice. I’ll have the links, of course in the show notes and Jason Hayes, Executive Director Lake Norman Humane. Jason, thanks again for joining the podcast. This is a real honor. Appreciate it.

 

Jason  

My absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Jeff. It was wonderful to chat with you.

 

Jeff  

Big thanks to Jason Hayes for joining the podcast and for sharing his story and the story of Lake Norman Humane. Listeners, you can learn more about Lake Norman Humane at www.lakenormanhumane.org. Follow them on Facebook at Lake Norman Humane and on Instagram and Twitter at LKN_Humane. When you visit their website, be sure to vote for this year’s Brew Spokespet. But I think Jason said we have until December 17th to vote. I’ll have those links as well as the links to the local businesses that we’ve mentioned during our conversation in the show notes for this episode. As always, you can find the complete show notes for all of our episodes at the home for Lake Norman’s number one small business podcast, www.thebestoflkn.com. We’ll also have a complete transcript for this episode in the show notes. Thanks to our sponsors for making it possible to provide full transcripts for many of our episodes. The transcriptions make these audio episodes accessible for everyone, including the hearing impaired. The transcript for this episode should be available in just a few days. I want to thank you for joining us for this special episode. We do love to feature nonprofits on The Best of LKN. If there’s a nonprofit that serves the Lake Norman area that you’d like to see featured on the podcast, please reach out to us and we’ll do everything we can to make it happen. Just go to the contact form on our website, thebestoflkn.com Thanks to Hoptown Brewing for their Sip It Forward campaign to support local charities. Stop by Hoptown when you’re in Mooresville and buy a Sip It Forward pint to support one of four local charities including Lake Norman Humane. Link to Hoptown Brewing in the show notes. Okay, friends, that will do it for Episode 84 of The Best of LKN podcast. I’ll close this one by encouraging you to visit Lake Norman Humane soon, consider volunteering, or at least consider making a donation or purchasing some items on their Amazon Wish List. I’ll have those links in the show notes too. We’ll be back next week with another episode. So until then, cheers Lake Norman. Bye for now.

 

Narrator  

We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Best of LKN. For more information about this podcast, show notes, video episodes, and links to our featured businesses, please visit www.thebestoflkn.com. We publish episodes weekly, so be sure to subscribe and stay up to date. Until next time, cheers Lake Norman.