Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: Midcoast Humane

70 Years of Providing Care & Second Chances to Animals
By Susan Spisak | Sep 01, 2020

Coastal Humane Society and Lincoln County Animal Shelter merged in 2016 and were renamed Midcoast Humane in 2018. But the nonprofits’ roots go back to 1950, making this their 70th year. They are one of the biggest shelters in the state with two animal sheltering campuses, an administrative office, and a thrift shop.

Their mission is to make life better for the animals and people in the communities they serve. They do this by providing care for almost 4,000 animals every year and assisting thousands more through programming. But with COVID-19, those numbers are down. Abby Malone, Interim Shelter Manager, said only 54 dogs have been adopted since mid-March. Their intakes decreased as out-of-state transports were on hold until recently - they received pups from a partner shelter. Owner relinquishments are also down - Malone attributes this to people being home more and tweaking pet issues themselves.

Their doors remain closed to the public due to the pandemic, but adoptions are happening with safe procedures. A potential adopter fills out a survey and application, then a staffer contacts them to schedule an outdoor meet and greet with the dog he or she is interested in. If they mutually blend, an adoption happens.

Exciting news for Midcoast Humane is that Christine Calder, D.V.M, DACVB, the state’s only veterinary behaviorist (and only one in the tri-state area), came on board as Director of Behavior Services in February. “The majority of dogs who come here have behavior problems,” said Dr. Calder. By having an expert on-site, these dogs have a real chance at making a turn and finding a home that’s compatible with their needs.

Dr. Calder takes on in-house and privately-owned dogs for behavioral consultation and training on a one-on-one basis. And vets and local trainers may refer pets to her for anxiety, separation anxiety, and aggression. Her expertise is not limited to dogs – cats and small animals are welcome too.

Dr. Calder’s team is formulating new operating protocols. Pat Koven, LVT, KPA-CTP, is the Training and Wellness Manager, and she’s been teaching the staff clicker training and body language. Certified dog trainer Jessica Greenleaf, ABCDT, has been holding online Zoom training classes with clients. Additionally, all staffers are being certified in “Fear Free,” a tool to reduce or prevent pet’s fear, anxiety, and stress. “We want our animals to have a nice stay here,” said Dr. Calder.

Their Foster Care Program is important, especially for dogs with behavioral issues. A treatment plan is written and they place the animal with a dog-savvy foster – pets respond better in a home environment. Dr. Calder would like to have more knowledgeable fosters who are willing to take on dogs with behavioral problems. If you’d like to foster, contact Laurice DuCharme, Foster and Placement Coordinator at lducharme@midcoasthumane.

Monetary donations, bleach, and cleaning supplies are needed. Shop their Creature Comforts Thrift Shop at 153 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. Participate in their Selfie Scavenger Hunt on August 15 for fun and prizes - $20 entrance fee. For all info on scavenger hunt, training, campus addresses and phone, visit