HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The Northeast Missouri Humane Society has been at its current location on Warren Barrett Drive for about 40 years. Soon, that will change.
Mary Bell Gentry of Monroe City died in December 2015, and upon her death, she donated her estate to the Humane Society, providing it with enough money to build a new shelter. She also set up a trust to take care of the building once it is built.
Because of her donation, the Humane Society is in the beginning stages of finding a suitable location to build the new facility and is searching for innovative shelter designs.
"Her generosity is amazing, and we are so excited to begin a new chapter at the shelter," NEMO Humane Society Board President Elise Blue said. "This new facility will be far superior to our current shelter, and it will better accommodate our growing needs and help ensure our furry friends receive the care they deserve."
Those who volunteer at the shelter and support the animals that live there expressed excitement, as well.
"We are over the moon. This is a huge step toward a brighter future for the animals," 2 Besties Biscuits co-founder Angela Brown said.
The Hannibal business raises money for the Humane Society year-round through its dog biscuit sales.
"These companion dogs and cats deserve to be comfortable while they wait to find their forever homes with loving families. This new building will be just that: a place for them to feel safe and secure until people adopt them," Brown said. "It also will allow shelter staff to continue to develop the awesome programs they have either already put in place or those they have been wanting so badly to execute but were unable in the current building."
The Humane Society will launch a capital campaign to raise additional funds for the new building June 16, and will begin the fundraising process that day through two pet-related events in downtown Hannibal.
The capital campaign kickoff will take start at 10 a.m. in the 200 block of Main Street between Center and Bird streets.
Afterward, the inaugural Dog's Day Downtown event, sponsored by the Humane Society and 2 Besties Biscuits, will begin. It will be accompanied by the return of HydroDog on the Bathe to Save national tour.
Both events will continue until 3 p.m., and proceeds from both will go toward the new shelter.
"If this event is well attended, there is a chance we could raise thousands of dollars just in those few short hours," Brown said.
DOG'S DAY DOWNTOWN & BATHE TO SAVE
During Dog's Day Downtown, visitors can expect to see dog- and pet-related vendors, a human/canine look-alike contest, caricatures with your dog and items from the downtown businesses. Vendors will contribute a portion of proceeds to the Humane Society, and Finn's Food and Spirits and Java Jive will donate a percentage of their special drink sales. In addition, Java Jive is allowing well-behaved dogs in its building that day.
HydroDog, a fiberglass grooming salon in the shape of a blue dog, is the face of the Bathe to Save national tour, which came to Hannibal for the first time in 2017. During this year's event, crews will wash dogs for a donation determined by the size of the dog.
"We were not sure Bathe to Save would revisit a location it had already been, so we feel honored to have it returning," Brown said.
She said that Bathe to Save told 2 Besties Biscuits it washed a record-breaking 82 dogs in Hannibal last year, and to date, that number has not been exceeded by even the U.S. metropolitan areas the tour has visited.
"It's going to be a day that can be whatever you want it to be. I think that's what I love most about it," Brown said. "You can come down early in the morning and just chill with your pup, have some coffee or breakfast at Java Jive. Or you can drop by with your family for a fun-filled day that includes your pup. There will be things to do for all ages and even for people who don't have dogs."
"It's a fun day for families and pets alike," she said.
For more information, visit 2BestiesBiscuits.com, NEMOHumane.com, or BatheToSave.com.
2018 Operation: Feed the Furballs results:
From late January through April 30, all proceeds from 2 Besties Biscuits' sale of pink dog biscuit packages were collected to buy meals for the dogs at the Northeast Missouri Humane Society as part of the second annual Operation: Feed the Furballs. During the rest of the year, 20 percent of all biscuit proceeds go to the Humane Society.
New this year during Operation: Feed the Furballs was that Sunrise Transport based in New London donated 20 percent of proceeds from each package sold so that the felines could be fed, as well.
Through this year's campaign, 2 Besties Biscuits is able to deliver 4,278 meals to dogs and cats at the shelter. Last year, 4,832 meals were delivered for dogs only. The number of meals, which consists of dry and wet food, was determined by the size and number of dogs at the Humane Society.
"We had hoped to meet or beat last year's number, but this year's numbers weren't too shabby," Brown said. "Every pound of food is a step forward. We feel like we owe a hug to everyone who participated and made purchases."