Tom Connors is greeted by barking and wagging tails when he goes to work.
The former Weatherly mayor is director of the Carbon County Animal Shelter.
The dogs call the shelter home until they find their forever home.
The shelter, at 63 Broad St., Nesquehoning, provides food, shelter, grooming, veterinary care, walks and playtime for the dogs.
Carbon County Commissioner Rocky Ahner, a supporter of the shelter, announced this month that Jim Thorpe’s Debra and Robert Reis have donated $500 to the shelter.
Debra Reis said they made the donation in memory of their black lab, Dido, who passed away on Aug. 20 at age 15.
It was not the couple’s first donation.
“I donated $500 when they did a yard sale as a fundraiser,” she said.
Connors “does such a great job. He’s such a kind soul,” Reis said. “We try to donate as much as we can.”
Trinity Lutheran Church, Lehighton, has been donating $1,000 to the dog and cat shelter, Carbon County Friends of Animals for years.
The donations come from a bequest from the late Mary and Melvin Moyer, longtime parishioners, said church treasurer Kay Becker.
The bequest named Trinity and the shelters, among other entities, she said.
“We make sure we give them money every year, usually about $1,000,” Becker said.
Rose Reese, of Jim Thorpe, donated $75 from a recent book sale of “Tia’s Journey to Faith.”
The book details the efforts to find Tia, Reese’s dachshund who went missing two years ago.
Connors, who has worked at the shelter for nine years, is grateful for the help.
“We are very blessed here in Carbon County,” Connors said. “Those kindnesses keep you going. On a bad day it really lifts you up.”
The province, which operates the shelter, manages the funding well.
Last year there was $57,384.04 in donations; $127,758.28 from the K9 Trust Fund and $6,630 from K9 service fees, County Controller Mark A. Sverchek said.
“The dog shelter is not just a facility to adopt abused or stray dogs, it also provides a service to the city’s police forces,” Ahner said.
Ahner said municipalities contribute a total of about $8,700 per year.
Ahner said the county has made upgrades to the shelter, including blacktop, lighting and blinds. He said a new HVAC system is planned.
“This is not only for the dogs, but also for the health of the staff. We hope to have the system installed before the end of the year,” he said.
Five miles away, the Carbon County Friends of Animals shelters and cares for homeless cats.
The non-profit organization started in 1998. It offers low-cost spaying and neutering and educational outreach.
Although it is called Carbon County Friends of Animals, unlike the dog shelter, it is not a government agency in the county.
It relies on fundraising and donations.
Last year, the county donated $1,000, Sverchek said.
“We are grateful for all donations, whether it be a cash donation or some garbage bags or wet food or dry food,” said Shelter Manager Dana Dunbar.
“Our shelter is cage-free, so it’s an open concept where the cats have cat towers and lots of toys to play with,” she said. “It’s also easier for people to pick and choose their eternal cat or kitten.”
Dunbar said the shelter currently has just over 200 cats and kittens.
“We currently have a waiting list to get cats and kittens into the shelter at this time,” she said.
Ahner praised the shelter’s hard work.
“The cat shelter has many wonderful workers and volunteers. Can you imagine how many cats would be roaming the streets if we didn’t dedicate these individuals to the furry felines of the county?
Tom Connors, director of Carbon County Animal Shelter, plays with one of the many dogs he cares for at the shelter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Carbon County Friends of Animals employee Lynn Hontz comforts Mollie. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO