Preserving the legacy; Mower County Humane Society volunteers continue the work of Ruth Wunderlich

Published 7:35 am Monday, November 6, 2017

The Mower County Humane Society recently lost a long time volunteer in Ruth Wunderlich. Wunderlich, who passed away on Aug. 3, 2017, was there every day helping with the daily work.

Ruth Wunderlich

“Ruth was here five days a week, literally 52 weeks of the year,” said volunteer Kelly Rush, who met Wunderlich 20 years ago. “She didn’t miss it. Even when she couldn’t drive, she would get a ride here one way or the other.”

Like Wunderlich, the volunteers at the Mower County Humane Society take time out of their day to do the less-than glamorous work that needs to be done for the animals.

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“Our main duties when we come here are to clean the kennels and feed the cats,” Rush said. “When we’re done, we’ll do some entertaining with the cats, like petting them and working with them.”

Other duties performed by the volunteers include cleaning the litter boxes and washing the laundry.

As far as taking care of the cats, volunteers make sure they spend enough times in and out of their kennels.

“The cats are out most of the day,” Rush said. “What we do depends on the cat. If they have a stop sign on their kennel, that means they don’t get along with the other cats, so they go in a room by themselves. They’re probably in there four to five hours a day, then they go back in their kennel. We like the cats to be in their own kennel for some period of time so that we know that they’re eating and what the box looks like. If they have an issue with either, we can pinpoint which cat is sick, so that’s why we do the kenneling.”

The late Ruth Wunderlich contributed to the purchase of the solar panels at the Mower County Humane Society.

Rush said the old MCHS building was all kennels, while the new building has 11 rooms for the cats to play, including an all kitten room.

“We like the open rooms better because it’s healthier for them, psychologically and physically,” she said.

Volunteers also assist with the biweekly adoption events at the Humane Society.

“At that time we have all of the cats in their kennels to make it easier for the public to see them,” Rush said. “We basically invite people to come in and take a look and when they see one they’re interested in, or more than one, we put them in a ‘meet and greet’ room and do an introduction with the cat.”

When adopting dogs, people can look at pictures of the dogs posted on the wall and choose which one they’re interested in. A volunteer will then bring the dog to the ‘meet and greet’ room for introductions.

Mower County Humane Society volunteer Jane Roden sits with Pango. Roden has been volunteering with the MCHS for 27 years. Michael Stoll/

Volunteers also assist in the MCHS fundraising events. The MCHS raises money through an annual walk-a-thon, a silent and live auction pasta dinner, and a summer rummage sale.

Although they receive no compensation for their services, the volunteers still come regularly to take care of the animals. And they can’t stop singing the praises of Ruth Wunderlich.

“She bought the land that we are located on,” said 27-year volunteer Jane Roden. “It’s called the Wunderlich edition. She donated it to us for the site of our new building. She also helped contribute to the purchase of solar panels that are outside and in her will she left us quite a bit. She didn’t just specialize in animals. She worked with the Mower County Historical Society, the Nature Center, and the Theatre. Those were her main things, but she was very generous.”

Wunderlich was also active in the Mower County Humane Society fundraising events.

“Without her we never would have made it,” Roden said.