Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: Kennebec Valley Humane Society

Placing Animals in Caring Forever Homes
By Susan Spisak | Mar 01, 2021

Hillary Roberts, Executive Director of Kennebec Valley Humane Society, KVHS, exudes friendliness and positivity. Even with the pandemic, she’s remained optimistic. “I would say there have been some moments of silver linings for us as an organization.” With folks being home more and desiring companionship, the quality of adopters and level of interest in their dogs (and cats) increased. And their all-important foster program flourished.

KVHS has a rescue partner in Georgia who identify at-risk dogs and coordinate southern fostering. While the pandemic halted transports last spring, the KVHS staff advocated to get the program operational by the end of May. “We knew we could do it safely,” said Roberts. As southern fosters needed a respite after housing pets for months, 60 animals arrived on the initial transport, 30 arrived on the next. (They were non-stop legs, except for fuel fills, on routes avoiding COVID-19 hot spots.)

Roberts said the popular Georgia dogs are adopted quickly…as in days. Local animals come to them as strays (they reunite 50% with their owners) and accept surrenders. “We pride ourselves on not being judgmental, so people bring their dogs to us if they can’t keep them.” Even during 2020, they had 291 local dogs and 168 transport dogs, and overall, KVHS has an admirable 97% placement rate.

KVHS staffers are committed to not giving up on any animal. When you rescue, you’re going to be exposed to all kinds of dogs, from “easy-peasy” puppies, to “damaged goods,” Roberts explained. While you must hold them accountable for their negative behavior, you must judge each individually, and give each one the tools to be the best version of itself.

A favorite example is one-time stray Georgia boy, Henry. “He had a pretty significant rap sheet,” Roberts said of the resource guarding Shih Tzu-Terrier. “We saw the good, the bad, and the in-between from our friend, Henry.” Canine Education and Behavior Manager Anna Henderson, their certified trainer, worked with him for well over a year. “She’s a remarkable warrior advocate who goes the extra mile.” Henry was adopted on Christmas Eve of 2020. “It was such a bad year, but that was a gift to us all, and we were grateful for it.” He and his owner still train with Henderson, so he’s as successful as possible. “We’re willing to put the time and energy in, so they can have a happy ending.”

Roberts is hopeful for a speedy happy ending for bonded pair Sasha and Axel. “There’s something special about them,” she shared of these seniors. They are smaller dogs – Sasha is a Miniature Pinscher/Mix, Axel is a Terrier mix. They’ve spent their entire lives together and rely on each other for support. If there’s children in the home, they must be over 15, and they must have no other pets in the family. For more info on adopting them, see the Adoption page.

They welcome monetary donations, adopters, fosters, volunteers, canned dog and cat food, clean old towels, and blankets. Adoptions are appointment only, visit for more.