COLDWATER, Mich. — The Humane Society of Branch County hasn’t put on the Freezing Fur a Reason event in years.
During last year’s arctic blast in late January and early February, Cheryl Hawver drove around the state of Michigan helping any dog she saw.
It was then that Hawver was convinced they needed to do it again.
“When we met as a committee I just brought it up and they’re like ‘are you sure?’” Hawver recalled them asking. She responded “We need to do this. We need to this. We need to raise awareness.”
Saturday evening, they will put on the event again at the First Presbyterian Church’s parking lot on Church Street.
“Tomorrow we are spending the night in dog houses,” said Hawver, chairperson of the Humane Society. “We are bringing awareness to dogs that are forced to sleep outside in brutal conditions.”
Hawver said 14 volunteers with the Humane Society will sleep in dog houses in the parking lot from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.
“It’s not just dogs and cats,” said Laura Martinson, who does public relations for the Humane Society. “But we also have a lot of horses and goats in this community. And, it’s just it’s gets so cold here.”
The temperatures Saturday night are expected to be in the low 20s and possibly teens.
Martinson said she’s not a fan of the cold but neither are animals during this time of year.
“There’s a saying ‘if it’s dangerous for you, it’s dangerous for them,’” Hawver said. “They go through stages like we do. They start shivering. They start getting hunched over. If you see dogs lifting their paws up off the ground, that means they’re freezing cold.”
Hawver said in some cases animals have died in extreme temperatures.
Martinson added that if it’s 20 degrees or below no dog or cat should be outdoors. And if it’s 40 degrees or below, all kittens and puppies should be inside too.
And, never give stray animals hay, she said.
“Straw is the best option,” Martinson said. “Hay is not good. It retains moisture. And blankets are even worse because once they get wet, they freeze. So really they need to have straw. It’s the best insulation.”
Besides the volunteers in the dog houses, other people will be supporting them at the event throughout the night, Hawver said. The society will be giving away 23 dog houses and they’ll accept donations of cash, pet food and kitty litter, while delivering their message of animal welfare.
“It’s in our heart,” Hawver said. “Definitely it’s in our heart and we wish we could save them all but you know we do our best.”