Boosters for animals provided a boost to the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society.

Boosters for animals provided a boost to the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society.

The humane society was recently awarded a grant that provided nearly six-months worth of canine vaccines, an illustration of the crucial role grant dollars play in the operation of the county’s lone animal shelter.

The grant came courtesy of and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. in partnership with The Animal Resuce Site.

Melody Townsend, director of the humane society’s shelter operations, said the grant provided roughly $2,200 worth of vaccines for dogs.

“That will probably carry us for about six months,” Townsend said.

A vaccine typically costs $4-$5 per dose; younger animals will require multiple inoculations.

And the humane society goes through plenty of doses.

“We vaccinate every animal that comes in,” Townsend said. “We have to before they can be introduced into our population because every one of our animals is vaccinated.

“Vaccines can get pretty costly.”

Townsend learned of the grant through a series of educational webinars hosted by and BIVI, a maker of veterinary medicines.

The series, presented by well-known veterinariansin the shelter space, provides general information, fast facts and answers to common questions that shelter vets ands staff experience, according to a press release.

“Animal rescue organizations like St. Joseph Bay Humane Society are charged with the daunting task of keeping the animals in their care healthy and happy until they find forever homes,” said Albrecht Kissel, president and CEO of BIVI. “We hope that by sharing our expertise and providing financial support to these organizations, they are better able to fulfill their missions.”

BIVI is a leader in the animal health industry with a portfolio of vaccine and medications for the prevention and treatment of disease within the swine, cattle, horse and pet markets.

By attending the webinars, Townsend and other participants are provided access to a special vaccine grant application.

You must attend the webinar to have the chance and the application includes questions pertaining to the material covered in the webinar. awards vaccines each month as part of the program.

The charity works with other charitable organizations to administer programs worldwide that address hunger, illness, promote education and literacy, protect wildlife and the environment and feed and care for rescued animals in shelters or sanctuaries.

“Partnering with BIVI on this program means that we are able to provide groups like St. Joseph Bay Humane Society with the tools needed to succeed,” said Liz Baker, executive director “We look forward to seeing the impact the program will have on the lives of local shelter pets in Port St. Joe.”

Logging onto the such offerings as the webinar series is simply part of the job description for Townsend.

“Each month they discuss a different medicine,” Towsend said. “This is the second grant that we have gotten from them. The first one, six or eight months ago, was cat vaccines.

“It is pretty time-consuming. But it helps us. In particular, we have seen medication and vet costs going up. This grant helps us offset that by using some money we would use on vaccines for other medications.”

And for an agency which receives less than one-quarter of its needed funding from public sources – the Board of County Commissioners and cities of Port St. Joe and Wewahitchka – any grant funding is essential funding for the humane society.

The recent Bow Wow Bash is the major fundraiser, but as board president Sandi Christy put it a few weeks ago, “We have to rely on the Bow Wow Bash, monetary donations, in-kind donations and grants.”

So Townsend digs.

She is working on applications for grants from two local charitable organizations, the Tapper and Holland Ware Foundations, and searching for potential grant applications pertaining to a major big ticket item.

“What we are in desperate need for is we need to have our (air conditioning) air handler replaced,” Townsend said.

The shelter’s air conditioning unit is industrial in size. The estimate for replacement is $50,000-$60,000, or roughly one-third the shelter’s annual operational budget.

“The weather has cooled off so for now we are okay but we are trying to be proactive,” Townsend said. “We have a lot of animals and everybody knows what kind of heat we will be getting in the summer.”

Further, the humane society’s smaller van, one donated to Carolyn Lee when she was shelter director some 12 years ago, is “on its last legs.”

So, as an animal to a treat, when Townsend sees a grant opportunity, she has learned to pounce.