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One week left in holiday adoption program

Julie Sutor
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkMickey dons a Santa hat hoping to attract new owners.
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SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Animal Shelter has one week left in its annual Home for the Holidays Pet Adoptathon, and shelter officials are hoping for a strong finish.

“We’re getting an excellent response,” said shelter director Nancy Ring.

Since Nov. 21, when the adoptathon began, the shelter has placed 13 dogs, 16 cats, two ferrets and one rabbit. That’s about 50 percent higher than the shelter’s usual adoption rate.

Nevertheless, the shelter is still jam-packed with animals, and the adoptathon continues through Jan. 3, as officials work overtime to find good homes.

“If people have rooms in their homes and in their hearts, a shelter is the best place to find a new animal friend, particularly at this time of year,” Ring said.

“People are, in fact, saving a life and not promoting the breeding which causes overpopulation and animal deaths in the long run. There just aren’t enough homes out there.”

The shelter has about 20 animals available.

Shelter staff work closely with prospective new owners to find exactly the right match.

“One of the big things we try to do before an animal goes home is to make sure the placement will be as successful as possible, in terms of the people and the other pets in the home,” Ring said.

“There was a woman who was just here who was interested in a cat that’s very physical – things like swatting and nipping. The woman has a lot of visitors of preschool age, and she had to reconsider whether it was fair to the cat and to her visitors.

“It just goes to show that it’s best to put time and effort into picking an animal – not just doing it on a whim,” Ring added.

Shelter officials work closely with new owners and with the animals themselves to assure the perfect fit.

They monitor the animals’ behavioral traits, such as fearfulness, eating habits and prey instincts to determine whether animals should be around children or other pets.

“I used to use my own children when we were at the old shelter, but today there are some defined assessment methods to find out what situation a dog will fit best into,” Ring said.

One advantage to adopting a pet from a shelter is that it is less likely to have the genetic defects associated with purebreds.

Dogs with little genetic diversity often experience a variety of maladies, including hip dysplasia and eye, heart and skin problems.

According to Ring, adopting a shelter animal may make life easier on a new owner than buying a new puppy or kitten.

“Shelter animals often take longer to find homes than the cute little puppy in the pet store window does, but people’s lifestyles are often better matched to an older pet as opposed to kitten or puppy,” Ring said.

“Even though puppies and kittens are cute, if you’re not home to shape them, they’re going to shape themselves. And they might even shape your shoe into a nice little toy.

“The busier we are, the better an idea it is to adopt an adult pet,” Ring added.

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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