ELKHART — The Ruthmere Museum and 820 Antiques presented a check to the Humane Society for $1,000 on Monday following the results of the Christmas By Design contest hosted by the museum.
“I’m thoroughly convinced that the reason (they) won is because (they) were the only designer that connected their design to the charity and that made all the difference,” museum director Bill Firstenberger said.
Throughout the room, depictions of dogs and cats in various forms could be found. A statue of a cat lay on Elizabeth Beardsley’s bed, and a poodle sat by her chaise longue.
The Christmas tree in the room boasted dozens of furry friend ornaments, and the rest of the room hid many more.
“The more you look at this room, the more you see (animals) coming out,” Firstenberger said, complementing the work of the designers.
The 820 Antiques’ design team included Sally Billings, Becky Stanley, Amanda Quarandillo and Joanie Smith.
“Right away we knew we wanted to incorporate animals. Elizabeth Beardsley was a big dog lover, (...) and we’re all animal lovers,” Billings said of their decision to sponsor the Humane Society in the competition. “We’ve had a lot of animals from there and we just thought it would be a great charity for the money to go (to).”
At the Humane Society of Elkhart County, the money is expected to go toward spay and neutering.
By November, 6,900 animals came through the shelter in 2019. Each one is spayed, neutered and treated for disease. The humane society also spayed and neutered 2,300 cats and 870 dogs for the community last year thanks to the new veterinarian on staff.
“I think people need to go there and realize that they have a really hard job, taking in all these animals and figuring out what to do with them,” Billings added.
Humane Society Executive Director Rob LaRoy said he hopes the money from the check won by 820 Antiques on behalf of the humane society will help to fund a pilot program with Timberbrook Mobile Home Park, which resides across the street from the humane society in Bristol.
“It’s a transient population there for the most part, and a lot of time their pets stay behind,” LaRoy explained.
“People also come here at night and the doors are closed and drop the cats off and leave, and the cats go across the street to Timberbrook so some of them are probably our fault.”
LaRoy said they anticipate nearly 700 cats inhabit the 120-property mobile home community.
Although not everyone voted, the Ruthmere counted 570 votes and 820 Antique’s design won 24 percent of the vote.
Firstenberger estimated that more than 1,000 visited between field trips, young children and general traffic.
“We had a tremendous response even early in the month,” Firstenberger said. “It was our best holiday tour season in probably six or seven years.”