Dee Allison talks about adopting shelter pets and the work of the Humane Society of Houston County. October has been Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.
Q: Why should people adopt shelter dogs or cats?
A: These are great dogs coming from circumstances beyond their control. They have a lot to give — a lot of love and a lot of companionship. Some were abandoned, mistreated and some were going to be put down but we saved them from that. We’re a no-kill facility and here to care for them and find them good homes.
Q: Other benefits?
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A: An animal coming from us is fully vetted and had vaccines, been tested and treated for health issues like heartworm and distemper and generally you get to know a lot more about them than if they were from other places. You even get to know more about their little quirks and temperament because we spend time with them and those adopting get to spend time with them first.
Q: What does it take to adopt a pet from you?
A: We have an application process and not everyone is approved. You fill out an application, usually online, and it’s approved or disapproved. Our adoption counselor reaches out based on that, then there’s a meet and greet to see how they get on together; see if they’re a good fit with the person or family’s lifestyle. Our dogs and cats can’t pick up the phone and say, “Hey, we want to come back,” so we do what we can to make sure they’re going into good situations.
Q: What’s the cost?
A: The fee for dogs 8 and under is $200 and over 8 it’s $150. Cats are $95. It doesn’t matter what we’ve spent on health care or surgeries, the fees remain the same. We may have spent $1,000 but it doesn’t matter, the fee is the same and you know as far as anyone can you’re getting a healthy, cared-for pet.
Q: Is the local society funded by the county, municipalities or through a larger humane society?
A: No, no, no. We’re strictly funded through adoption fees and the goodness of the community through regular and single donations and fundraising events. Donations are monetary and by giving food and other items. We’re an all-volunteer organization — there are no paid positions. There are a lot of people with big hearts here who not only donate time but often they donate out of their own pockets as well. We are a nonprofit so donations are tax deductible.
Q: What are your current needs? Volunteer and otherwise?
A: Top would be money to run the organization and pay for food and animal care but it would also be great to have more volunteers to help keep things clean and feed and care of animals. Third would be people to make repairs and help make steps toward making a building never meant to be a shelter a little more user-friendly. Kennel repair and that type of thing would be great.
Q: How many animals are typically at the shelter?
A: This year has been a rough one. Usually, we run about 25 dogs in-house and at one point we had 22 cats. There are also cats and dogs off-site in foster situations.
Q: How many do you receive and how many are adopted each month?
A: That’s a hard question because it varies so much. We got six in one day last week then two dogs surrendered to us over the weekend. That made eight in that short time. We have a waiting list and I don’t even want to tell you about the ones we have to turn down. It’s heartbreaking. On the other hand, we did seven adoptions on a recent Saturday. On a good day, we might do 15 adoptions, on a bad day maybe four. There’s no crystal ball to figure it all out. We’re open to the public for adoptions Wednesdays and Saturdays and also do them by appointment.
Q: And to be clear, you’re not animal control, you don’t pick up animals as animal control would?
A: Right. We’re not animal control.
Q: How long have you been involved with the society?
A: I’ve been president for three years and involved for nine.
Q: How can people contact you?
A: We’re the Humane Society of Houston County at 810 Carl Vinson Parkway in Centerville. We’re open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Phone is (478) 599-0211 and website www.humanesocietyhoco.org. You can find us on Facebook, too, and see stories about our animals. I guess the biggest thing is we’d like people to be responsible for their animals. If they’d do that we wouldn’t have to do most of what we do. People should remember they have a responsibility and pets are family members for a lifetime.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.