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New director leads the way to the new animal shelter

the old year winds down and a new one is just around the corner, the Friends of Animals Humane Society is saying goodby to Executive Director Cynthia Haglin and welcoming Kimberly Parmeter.

the old year winds down and a new one is just around the corner, the Friends of Animals Humane Society is saying goodby to Executive Director Cynthia Haglin and welcoming Kimberly Parmeter.

Parmeter officially began Nov. 1 and has been training with Haglin to lead the organization in its fundraising and operational efforts as the humane society transitions to its new building on Avenue B.

“It’s great!” Parmeter said enthusiastically. “There are a lot of moving pieces (in being a director).”

Haglin, a retired nurse, plans to head back into retirement to spend time with her retired husband, family and volunteering.

“I will miss the opportunity to witness a lost pet safely returned home. There is so much joy on the part of both the owner and the pet. Those reunions are heart warming,” said Haglin, who was FOA director for three years. “I will also miss watching as a prospective adopter interacts with a prospective pet and that ‘magical perfect match’ is made. It can be a ‘love at first sight’ experience.”

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While she has many memories of her years with the shelter, one of the most profound is Kobe’s story.

“Kobe was a young husky who had been caught in a body-grip trap and nearly died before coming to FOA. We cared for him for months and nursed him back to health until he was ultimately adopted by the animal control officer who picked him up, Mick Johnson,” Haglin said. “The experience taught me much about safe trapping and even afforded me the opportunity to testify at the Minnesota State Capitol, working with a group attempting to make trapping safer for dogs. Most of all, though, I was able to watch thIs severely wounded animal fight for life, patiently endure months of procedures and treatments, and finally go into a loving home.”  

Haglin feels Parmeter is a great fit for FOA and will keep things moving forward, starting with the move to the new shelter.

Parmeter is looking forward to moving the animals into the new building. Work on the outside of the building has already begun in the back where they are building a retaining wall to create outdoor space for the dogs, a top priority.

“This is a fun introduction to my job,” Parmeter mused, “ - to be able to dream about what to do in the new building.”

While the outside will not look much different to passersby, there will be dramatic changes inside, according to Parmeter. The organization is preparing to hire an architect to help make the dreams into a reality.

“The new shelter will be wonderful for animals and the staff,” Parmeter said. “It will be a place the community will be proud to have.”

Parmeter is also excited for a new fundraiser, the Holiday Ornament Sponsor.

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Ornaments are for sale for $20, which is the average cost for boarding one animal for one day at the shelter. People can write their pet’s name on the ornament, or have it in memory of a past pet or pet lover.

All donations are tax deductible and used for day-to-day care of animals at shelter.

“Help decorate the shelter for the holidays,” Parmeter said.

Parmeter has a masters degree in business administration from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Most recently she worked for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities as the executive director of the Foundation and Alumni Association at Lake Superior College in Duluth and has more than 10 years of fundraising experience in northern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin.

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FOA Facts

The mission of Friends of Animals is to save, secure and enrich the lives of lost, neglected, abused and abandoned animals in Carlton County through compassion and understanding care in a safe haven until a permanent and loving home can be found for them.

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By the numbers in 2015:

  • 815 animals were brought to FOA

  • 273 were surrendered

  • 542 were strays

  • 184 were returned to owners

  • 614 animals were placed in their forever home

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