Welcome to Harbor Humane Society’s new BLOG!

Our team is excited to have the chance to share more of our animal welfare passions, highlights, and stories with you! To kick things off, we want to celebrate Harbor’s many accomplishments from this past year by diving in deeper to our 2019 Annual Report!


Volunteers and fosters are truly an extension of our team. On a daily basis, volunteers help keep up with laundry so our animals can have clean and dry places to rest (blankets are usually swapped out 2 – 3 times a day, so you can imagine the amount of laundry!). Volunteers walk dogs and take them for day trips to get away from kennel stress, and socialize our kitty cats.  They assist with offsite adoption events nearly every weekend, which ensures that even though we have a small staff, we can still maintain our presence in the community and expand our outreach to people that may be unaware of our shelter and the opportunity to adopt.

Fosters increase our capacity to care for animals by opening up their hearts and homes to house and care for the animals who need it most. Feline fosters are critical in keeping kittens thriving, especially during our busy spring and summer (kitten) season. Keeping them in a safe and germ-free environment, bottle feeding at all hours of the day and night to ensure their nutrition, swapping bedding, socializing, and more all play a part in the crucial animal care that ensures their futures.

84 active foster families helped us save 789 cats and kittens, whether it was one overnight stay, or up to several weeks of care!

Canine fosters are critical in ensuring our puppies (that usually come from a transfer) are quarantined in a safe environment where they can be socialized as we monitor their health status and ensure they’re old enough to be spayed or neutered. Canine fosters are also so important in giving our most stressed dogs a break from the shelter, ensuring their mental well-being is upkept. Some dogs can sustain a shelter environment for longer periods of time and not be affected, while others struggle and deteriorate over time. When a dog goes into a foster home and can destress, it allows us to see their true personality shine through, helping us learn what home environment will be the best fit for their success!

89 canine foster families helped care for 244 dogs and puppies!

Our community pet food pantry launched in August 2019! With a great team of volunteers, our pantry is held at a Holland warehouse and serves many families on a monthly basis to subsidize their pet food supply while going through tough times. Our low income vaccine clinic is also held on a monthly basis onsite at Harbor – we took a hiatus for a few months last year as we were in between vets, but we’ve been back up hosting monthly clinics and are reaching so many families and pets! We have big plans in place to expand our reach of our low income vaccine clinics in 2020 to be accessible for families that cannot make it down to our shelter – be sure and stay tuned for those updates as they’re announced!

Programming income includes any income from dog training courses and youth educational programs that take place onsite at the shelter. Our youth programs were able to reach hundreds of students in the West Michigan area through SPARK Camps, bite prevention classroom visits, Pet PJ Parties, Reading with Fido, and more! A core piece of our mission is connecting to children through hands-on programming that inspires them to care about humane and respectful treatment of all beings, or even take an interest in a future animal welfare career. Youth programs are offered year-round, with SPARK Camps for kiddos are offered between spring, summer, and winter breaks.

There are so many benefits to experiencing a training course with your pup! Obedience courses provide a controlled environment and skilled coaching to help you and your dog work on basic manners, reactivity, and advanced skills including specialized courses like agility, scent work, AKC Trick Dog, and AKC Good Citizen. All courses are an opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Classes are held on site, in our Bissell Community & Training Center.


As time and space allow, we do all we can to help other shelters who may need assistance due to overcrowding. In doing so, we are able to save the lives of animals who may otherwise be facing euthanasia, to make more space available for the homeless pets in that community. We work closely with shelters within Michigan, along with Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida and more. In 2019, over 700 animals were brought to Harbor for their second chance at life and love – see who we worked with on page 3 of our annual report!


Harbor Humane has an operating budget of nearly $1.2 million. We take pride in our diversified revenue sources to sustain our organization. Shelter services income includes adoption fees, public and agency spay and neuter fees, microchips or vaccines fees, animal surrender fees and euthanasia fees. Every dollar donated, fee for service, or sponsorship from a partner, helps us increase our mission’s work just a little further in caring for the many homeless animals.

Harbor Humane is contracted with Ottawa County to hold and care for all strays in the area. In 2019, 2,040 dogs and cats that are brought in as strays by animal control or the public. This contract accounts for only 18% of the income necessary to operate annually, but allows us a small portion of guaranteed funding for the animals that need our help.

Harbor Humane Resale Store (previously known as “Shelby’s Place”) provides a critical revenue stream to care for the homeless pets and help keep our facility running. Last year, over $210,000 of our income came from the resale shop! We rely on gently used or new items that are donated by the community, from furniture to clothing, housewares, books, games, and more! Please consider dropping your items at Harbor Humane Resale during your next spring clean! 12360 Felch St, Holland, MI 49423 – next to Hobby Lobby!

As we’ve launched 2020 with such momentum from 2019, our team is eager to continue expanding different initiatives to serve our community and give more second chances for homeless pets. If you have any questions regarding our annual report, or you’d like to learn more about a program listed, please contact us at community@harborhumane.org!