Wanted: Forever homes for forever friends

  • Published
  • By Frank McIntyre
  • Public Affairs
Could now be the right time?
The move to Vance is complete or summer vacation's over and schedules are back to a more familiar routine. This may be the right time to add a dog to the household.
From breeders to mall pet stores to crates in a parking lot, there are many sources that can provide a canine companion. One source often overlooked when seeking a furry family member is animal shelters.
On its Web site, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates between eight and 12 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Unfortunately, they also estimate five to nine million of those are euthanized each year and that five out of 10 dogs in shelters are put down simply because there is no one to adopt them.
Enid has two agencies to consider when adopting a pet -- Enid Animal Control and Enid Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Enid Animal Control is a city-operated agency tasked with controlling the local animal population. Animals brought to their facility on S.10th Street usually must be put down after five days unless the owner has been located or they are adopted. Animals the staff identifies as exceptional candidates for adoption are given an extended stay, according to Rick West, Enid police chief, whose department is responsible for animal control.
"We're excited about our new facility that's scheduled to open next month," said Enid Police Capt. Jim Nivison, who is in charge of the shelter project. "It will provide a much better atmosphere and hopefully the public will be more encouraged to come out to see the pets we have available for adoption." For more information about Enid Animal Control, visit their Web site www.enid.org/departments/animal_shelter.htm or call 249-4910.
Construction will also soon be underway at Enid SPCA shelter at 1116 Overland Trail with groundbreaking for phase two of their "dream in a making" project.
"The first phase of the project features a health clinic and surgical facility, as well as feline rooms," said Vickie Fox, Enid SPCA director. "We also set up a small outside exercise area for our dogs until we build a canine facility, which is phase two" For more information about Enid SPCA, visit www.enidspca.org or call 233-1325
Where Enid animal control is funded by the city, the Enid SPCA is a non-profit agency that receives no municipal, state or federal funding and relies on donations. What both facilities can use, however, is volunteer support.
"Our volunteers provide much needed services, from general office work to socializing animals in our care," said Ramona Voelzke, SPCA kennel supervisor. "It could be especially inviting to someone, such as a student or dorm resident, whose current situation doesn't allow them to have their own pet. Working with our pets would provide them the animal connection they miss."
There are many other sources available to unite abandoned animals with a forever home. A lot of the sources can be found on Petfinder, a site providing a homeless pet data base that can be searched by specific breed, age and location. The Web site, www.petfinder.com, also has classifieds ads of pets looking for new homes. Both Enid facilities, as do most other shelters, list available pets on Petfinders.
There are many shelters within an easy drive of Vance offering more pets for consideration, and a list of those shelters is available on Petfinders. One of these, Pets and People Humane Society in Yukon, Okla., www.petsandpeople.com, will often be found in Petfinder search results because of the numbers of pets they shelter. Volunteers of that agency rescue adoptable dogs from 21 municipal Animal Control facilities across the State of Oklahoma on the day they are to be euthanized and provide a safe harbor until the animal is adopted to a responsible, loving home.
One program the Pets and People shelter is involved with is a rather unique pen-pal program. The pen in this program is the Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Okla., and the pals are the inmates and shelter dogs. Inmates train the dogs that are then returned to the shelter for placement. More information on this program is available at www.adoptatraineddog.com.
Finding the right pet actually means acquiring a member of the family that should be there for the rest of their life. Most of the links in this article provide advice on finding the right pet for each situation. One reason there are homeless pets is enough thought wasn't given to acquiring a pet to meet the owner's needs. Anyone considering a pet should spend some time assuring the decision made will place a pet in a forever home and not among the homeless.
(Author's note: If this article hadn't focused on dogs, I would have faced severe consequences answering to my five canines. All of the sites listed also provide information for those considering adopting cats. Petfinders can even provide souces of other adoptable pets such as reptiles and birds.)