Alpine Humane Society’s ‘KONG-a-palooza’

ALPINE – Alpine Humane Society received word of a donation: The KONG Company, a pet toy maker would be making a donation of dog toys to the society’s thrift store. But what happened next surprised the employees.

“We knew they were donating some, but didn’t know how many,” said Jeanine Bishop, the executive director for AHS. Outside the thrift store, an 18-wheeler arrived, unloading 600 boxes of toys before all was said and done. It was almost $22,000 in suggested retail value, though the society plans to sell the toys more affordably.

Each KONG box contains about five toys designed for either small or medium dogs and carries a suggested retail value of $35 to $40. The thrift store will be selling the boxes for $25 each. The boxes have a combination of chew toys, squeaky toys and soft toys to delight any pet.

Since coronavirus threats forced the thrift store to close, Bishop says revenue from the thrift shop has been down, a tough reality for the organization, which relies heavily on that income to support its mission.

“We closed the store from March 20 to May 24. That was really tough, but if that had been the end of it that would’ve been great,” Bishop said. “We picked right back up in thrift store sales in June and were on the right track and then Alpine and Brewster county had so many cases.”

Since then, sales have “really really really been down and that’s one of our major needs, having income to support our mission.” The slowdown has caused the organization to temporarily cut some services, including the trap, neuter, release program for feral cat colonies.

But the group is still helping people from Presidio County as well as Brewster County in getting spay/neuter services, and are hoping to get back to normal again in mid-August.

In the meantime, “people have been donating pretty generously, individuals, which was a little unexpected and certainly welcome that people are still continuing to donate,” she said. “They are certainly smaller donations, but they are still coming in and the store is doing okay. We just don’t have any extra right now.”

“This is a great time to do some Christmas shopping in August,” said Bishop. “These boxes are perfect gifts for your own dogs, your granddogs, or anyone who has dogs in their family.”

KONG-a-Palooza begins today, July 30 and continues as long as the supply lasts. Revenue generated by the Alpine Humane Society Thrift Store, located at 706 N. 5th Street in Alpine, supports the Humane Society’s mission of improving the lives of cats and dogs in the tri-county communities. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.