Downeast Dog News

Rescue of the Month: Somerset Humane Society

“Providing Care for Stray and Abandoned Animals”
By Susan Spisak | Feb 01, 2019

When I rang up Somerset Humane Society (SHS) in Skowhegan to learn more about this animal shelter, the friendly Chelsea Braley answered. Since she works the front desk, is a kennel tech, and an animal care specialist, she was happy to talk about the organization that was founded in 1978 and became an official non-profit in 1984.

SHS is committed to providing care and temporary housing for the stray and abandoned animals that they take in from the 27 towns and 82 unorganized townships that they serve. They make every attempt to reunite all lost animals with their families. SHS also takes in owner surrendered animals as space allows.

In 2017 alone, Chelsea said they took in over 850 animals--dogs, cats, and small animals--and spent over $25k just in medical costs. As a non-profit, they rely on their many town and township contracts to function, as well as community donations.

There is a list of needs posted on their website, but they do have items that are used regularly. Good quality cat and kitten food such as Purina One, Purina Gentle, Rachael Ray Nutrish, laundry detergent, dish soap, 30-gallon garbage bags, bathroom and kitchen cleaning supplies, office supplies, gently used and clean blankets, sheets, quilts, towels, and pet clothing. (The community supports the shelter; over the 2018 year-end holidays, many donations added to their stockpile, and they are grateful.)

Remember the adage, "A tired dog is a happy dog?” The shelter needs a working treadmill to help them exercise their dogs in the winter months. Chelsea added that Lewis, an owner relinquishment who had little training, will especially benefit from it. The sweet boy has lots of energy. Between the shelter’s training program and jogging, they know it'll keep him focused.

Regardless if a dog is a stray or owner relinquishment, they're dedicated to finding the perfect home for all animals needing new homes. Because of that dedication, they have an adoption process that starts with an online application--it's not a "walk in and pick out a dog" type of thing. Expect a vet check if you have a current animal and a call will be made to your landlord if you're a renter. Know that filling out the form doesn’t guarantee adoption approval.

If they receive multiple applications on the same dog, it is their policy to choose the approved adopter that is best suited for the pet’s needs and personality. It is recommended that if you see a dog online that piques your interest, get to the shelter to meet the dog and start the application process.

SHS also has a Barn Cat program. Working spayed/neutered/vetted cats are free for barn, brewery, stable, nursery owners, etc. You are to provide lifelong vet care, year-round shelter, and daily food and water.

Stop by SHS at 123 Middle Rd., Skowhegan. For volunteering details, hours and more info, visit their website at