The Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society: Improving the Lives of People and Pets

Posted by Mariah Davis on Aug 8, 2019 Mariah Davis

At Mascoma Bank, one of our most important goals is to be a force for positive change. No less an authority than Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” If that’s true, the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society is making us all look good. 

cat looking through a chain link fence

Picture the world more than 100 years ago. In 1915, World War I was raging across the ocean, American women weren’t allowed to vote, home ownership was a rarity, and the average life expectancy for men was 52 and for women, 56.

Life was hard. In Woodstock, Vermont, local businessman Frank Mackenzie noticed that some were suffering more than others—animals and children, to be exact. In honor of his recently deceased wife, Lucy Mackenzie, who was known as an active humanitarian quietly caring for those less fortunate, he established the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society in an effort to help care for “abused (and neglected) children as well as animals including horses.”

Today, more than 100 years later, the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society is still thriving and doing work that is crucial to the continued functioning of our society. A staff of six plus more than 300 volunteers carry on the tradition of improving the lives of people and pets in the communities surrounding West Windsor. One thing that’s changed? Children are no longer specifically part of the mission, as child welfare organizations have taken on that important role! However, kids can still be found in the halls, caring for animals and learning what it means to be a part of a solution. Lucy Mac, as it is affectionately known, serves more than 300 dogs and cats every year, plus the occasional rabbit or horse.  

One function Lucy Mackenzie performs is rehoming pets. Many of the animals that come to the Humane Society have been surrendered by their original owner. Unfortunate circumstances such as financial hardship or the need to move can sometimes make it impossible for families to keep their pets, and the staff at Lucy Mackenzie put enormous effort into pairing animals with new owners. How much space is available? Will there be other pets present in the home? Are there children in the family to be considered? Lucy Mackenzie staff want to make sure the situation will be as ideal for the pet as it is for the adoptive owner.

Not only is Lucy Mackenzie making the world a better place for hundreds of dogs and cats every year, they are supporting the next generation of animal lovers. This summer, the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society reintroduced their Kids Camp program, which ended in 2015 due to staffing and funding constraints. “We were sad to have to eliminate it,” says Acting Executive Director Jackie Stanley, “and we’re excited to be able to offer it again this summer.” The one-week sessions go from 9 a.m. to noon—this is a chance for kids to learn the basics of different kinds of animals, as well as spend time doing hands-on practical care.

Running any nonprofit is an exercise in constant fundraising. Coming up on September 6, Lucy Mac will present an evening with Tom Ryan, author of Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship, at the Woodstock Town Hall Theater. Immediately following is an intimate Meet the Author dinner at Heart Rock Kitchen.

 The staff of Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society is currently in the midst of planning their annual Lucy Mac 5K9, a dog-friendly trail walk/run and the organization’s second largest fundraiser of the year. The event will be held at the Ascutney Trails in Brownsville, Vermont, on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

Donations are crucial to the Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society. Offers of pet food and supplies as well as financial support make it possible for the Society to continue to provide a necessary service to the people and animals of West Windsor. The hope is for the organization to continue for another 100 years! The annual Paws for the Cause Auction and Dinner is always a hit fundraiser, and sponsorships from Mascoma mean that money raised through this evening of fun and dining go directly to support Lucy Mackenzie. And this year, in honor of their 120th Anniversary, Mascoma Bank awarded the shelter with a gift directly for the care of the animals.

At Mascoma Bank, we are thrilled to support the good work of local nonprofit organizations and invite you to join us in supporting groups that make our communities healthier and happier. Visit the Lucy Mackenzie donations page for more information.

Topics: Community, volunteering