Helping Works

Idaho Humane Society update: Dogs on the road, cats behind bars

Bad Rap is a California nonprofit devoted to rescuing pit bulls, helping them find homes and dispelling unfortunate myths about the breed. Recently, Bad Rap took in some canine survivors of a California animal cruelty case. The man whose dogs were taken away had a long history and reputation for trying to steal his seized dogs from protective care. The Bad Rap folks needed to get the seized dogs out of town fast. What to do? According to a recent post on Bad Rap’s Facebook page, the Idaho Humane Society stepped in to help get three rescued pit bulls to safety with the Prairie Pit Bull Rescue in Canada.

The Idaho Humane Society provided temporary housing for the seized dogs and, in addition, made room for five other California dogs who were not from the cruelty case but were homeless, plus a pit bull “youngster.”

Bad Rap thanked IHS and the other groups that helped, “for being there for the dogs and for reminding us that the number of heroes in our world will always outnumber the bad seeds.”

Helping out was “pretty simple,” said Allison Maier, a spokeswoman for the IHS.

“We housed the three sweet pit bulls for two nights at our shelter, and then one of our amazing volunteers drove them (by herself!) to Burley to hand them off to a volunteer from Prairie Pit Bull Rescue, who took them the rest of the way to Canada.”

The pit bull pup who was part of the transport has already found an Idaho home. The five small dogs are up for adoption at the shelter.

“We have a really wonderful relationship with Bad Rap. In addition to being an amazing resource for advice, they have brought us small dogs and puppies from overcrowded shelters in their area before. We love working with them,” said Maier.

On a related note, the new Women Inmate Social Kitty Retreat (WISKR) program lets inmates at the South Boise Women’s Correctional Center act as “foster mothers” for sick cats and young kittens from the Idaho Humane Society to help ready them for adoption. The program, supported by a $12,500 grant from Best Friends Animal Society, a national animal welfare organization based in Kanab, Utah, is a feline counterpart to the popular and successful Inmate Dog Alliance Program of Idaho, known as IDAPI.

Since the program launched at the end of January, close to 150 cats and kittens have gone through the program and most have already found homes, said Maier. One tier at the correctional center is equipped to take in cats. The IHS staffers take five or six new cats to the prison each week. Inmates have provided a range of services, including tending cats with upper respiratory infections and caring for very young kittens.

Maier said she has spoken with prison staffers who say having cats around has helped create a calm and quiet atmosphere for the inmates. Caring for the animals has fostered feelings of collaboration among inmates.

The Idaho Humane Society has a relationship with several other correctional facilities in the state because of the Inmate Dog Alliance Project of Idaho program, through which inmates train and care for shelter dogs that need help with behavioral issues.

“We’ve had successful dog-training programs in our prisons for years. But cats are something new,” said Idaho Department of Correction Director Kevin Kempf.

Latest from the Idaho Veterans Garden

We first wrote about the Idaho Veterans Garden back in April. It’s a place for veterans and their families to find solace, either on their own or by spending time and trading stories with other veterans, or planting memorial gardens. Dan Pugmire, one of the founders of the garden, is the recipient of recent awards, including a Hometown Hero Award for his work at the garden, as well as an award from the Caldwell Police Department for helping save a veteran who tried to take his life. Pugmire said he appreciates the awards, but he is mostly eager to continue his work with the garden and the outreach opportunities it provides. Later in July, he will travel to Washington, D.C., in support of a fallen soldier ride.

The garden is at 305 W. Belmont St. in Caldwell. It’s open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Find how you can get involved with the project online at

Community says goodbye to the historic Gibson Funeral Home building

Preservation Idaho hosts “Goodbye Gibson: Celebrating Funeral Home Architecture and the History of Undertaking,” a talk and tour at noon on Sunday, July 24, at the Gibson Funeral Home, 507 Idaho St. in Boise. The talk, by death historian Amy Pence-Brown, will be followed by tours of the building from 1 to 4 p.m.

Suggested donation is $5 at the door, first come, first served. Call Pence-Brown at 208-409-8282 or email for more details, or check the event’s Facebook page.

After being vacant and on the market for many years, and despite hopes in the preservation community that the building would be adapted for a new use, it’s slated for demolition later this year. A group of developers plans to build a new live/work space on the site.

Pence-Brown will be, she said, “hosting the very last funeral there for the building itself.”

The Gibson Funeral Home opened in 1940 as the Boise Funeral Home, designed by Hans Hulbe of the Payette Lumber Company. It, along with Summers Funeral Home on Bannock Street, are the two remaining historic funeral homes in Downtown Boise.

The home’s former owner, Tim Gibson, who also owned Cloverdale for several years, is among the partners who will build the new live/work space.

Archaeological dig needs volunteers

As it has done for many years, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at University of Idaho is leading a summer urban archaeology dig in the heart of Boise. This year, the focus will again be the grounds of the Boise VA Medical Center, formerly Fort Boise. Last year’s dig explored the former surgeon’s quarters. This year’s dig will excavate the former parade grounds.

Organizers welcome volunteers to help out in a variety of ways. The dig began this week and will continue through Aug. 5.

For additional information on the Fort Boise archaeology project or to sign-up to volunteer, contact Mark Warner at 208-885-5954 or 208-892-4501 or email

Blood donations needed now

The American Red Cross has announced a critical shortage of blood donations, so if you’ve been meaning to donate, this is the time. Schedule your donation online at

Interfaith Sanctuary needs food donations

Interfaith, which provides shelter for up to 164 men, women and children each night, has put out a call for food, specifically, stuff to make sandwiches. On the wish list: whole grain bread, deli meats and cheeses, peanut butter and jelly.

Drop items at the Interfaith Sanctuary development office at 3350 W. Americana Terrace, Ste. 320 in Boise, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or at the shelter itself at 1620 W. River Street in Boise, between 6 and 8 p.m. each evening. Ask for the shift manager on duty. For more information, or to donate on the weekend, contact Jodi Peterson at