FHS emergency adopt-a-thon Oct. 9

Published 7:44 pm Thursday, October 6, 2011

Beatrice is one of the many dogs available for adoption at the Foothills Humane Society. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Beatrice lies in her corner quiet and reserved while her roommates yip at incoming visitors. They want to prance around and play with a ball, but Beatrice, a mature 12-year-old hound mix, simply wants a soft bed again.
Beatrice grew out of her puppy phase a long time ago at home with her owner. But when her owner passed away recently, there was nowhere for her to go but the Foothills Humane Society (FHS) shelter.
FHS Board President Ruth Kellick-Grubbs said this summer the shelter has been burdened with large numbers of surrendered or stray animals.
“As the county grows, the animal population grows,” Kellick-Grubbs said. “So, every day it’s a full-on effort to find the animals homes.”
Beatrice will be one of the more than 150 animals available for adoption this Sunday, Oct. 9 at the FHS Emergency Adopt-A-Thon.
FHS board member Bertie Phayer said the board decided to host the adopt-a-thon out of necessity and the heartbreak of seeing such an influx of animals waiting for homes.
“Tiny little kittens come in that people find in paper sacks… I don’t know how our volunteers handle it every day,” Phayer said with a hint of tears in her eyes. “This is not normal. We had a late puppy and kitten season and are just at the peak of that and need to find homes for these precious animals.”
The shelter currently has 170 animals awaiting new homes and more coming in every day; 17 came in a single day this summer. The shelter is allowed by the state to house a maximum of 75 cats and 55 dogs. FHS remains in compliance because of the kindness of many community members who serve as foster homes, Phayer said.
“The foster program is really a critical piece of the shelter program. If we’ve got fosters and we can flex the animals we have in the shelter it allows us to continue to accept the animals that are coming in where many shelters might have to euthanize,” Kellick-Grubbs said.
But this Sunday from 1-6 p.m., shelter volunteers hope to find forever homes for as many animals as they can adopt out.
The Foothills Humane Society is also diligently working with the community to “keep them home,” in other words prevent owners from turning in their animals in the first place.
Kellick-Grubbs said FHS currently hosts education programs in the schools to help kids learn how to behave around animals, how to feed them and bathe them and how to train them to do things like sit and stay.
Phayer said the society also currently receives a donation of 1,000 pounds of food from Walmart every three weeks, some of which is offered to owners who had considered surrendering their animals for lack of money to feed them.
Phayer said the shelter is also working to establish adoption counselors to ensure families adopt the right pet for them and not one that would cause frustration in the home or need more attention than an owner could provide.
Adopting a family pet costs very little initially as there are no adoption fees.
“Our pets are priceless, so we just ask for donations of what people can give,” Kellick-Grubbs said. “On Sunday we’d love to empty the shelter out.”
All of the animals available for adoption are also fully prepared to settle into a new home. They’ve been fixed, have all their shots and are micro-chipped. The dogs have also been well socialized, Kellick-Grubbs said, through the 100 Percent Recyclable program, where volunteers come in and teach obedience to the dogs and take them on walks throughout the week.
Foothills Humane Society is located at 989 Little Mountain Rd. in Columbus.
For more information, call 828-863-4444 or visit www.foothillshumanesociety.org.

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