SOS success: Many went home, more to go

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In fall of 2017, so many strayed, rescued, and surrendered dogs and cats had come into the Foothills Humane Society in Columbus that the animals were doubling up. Christine Taylor, FHS executive director, reports that the Adoption SOS that ran throughout December relieved some of the crowding but not without a few tribulations along the way.

“As a private, non-profit, no-kill shelter, we don’t euthanize to make room,” says Chris. “Broadcasting an SOS, the old Morse code to send help, was our only choice. Right before Thanksgiving, we started sending out the SOS in the Tryon Daily Bulletin, social media, and radio…soon saw an up-tick in adoptions.”

Madison had been at the shelter longer than any other dog but thanks to the SOS she was one of 91 pets that went to a home. (Photo by Vincent Verreccchio)

This was about the time Chris broke her ankle and had to have surgery. “I am ever so grateful for an enthusiastic staff, volunteers, and board. Saturday, Dec. 9, was going to be the main event, a special day with many incentives to adopt. Stuck at home, I did a lot of applauding for the great effort of many others.”

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Kayla Parrish, professional trainer and owner of 2 Lead with Love Training, was a major force in the planning and organization, and also volunteered to help potential adopters at the event better understand canine behavior. To anyone who adopted a dog or puppy at the event, she would offer follow-up training at a discount. Other trainers and shelter staff who knew the cats and dogs would also be offering personal advice for matchmaking owners and pets.  Each adoption would come with a bonus goodie bag. Refreshments would be served throughout the day.

But, then it snowed and the event had to be rescheduled to Dec. 16.

“Volunteers, staff, and refreshment donors never missed a beat and readily rearranged their schedules,” praises Chris. “Cherie Mascis of All Pets Training and Behavior Solutions could also now be there to demonstrate clicker training of cats. The added week became extra time for folks to visit and adopt. The whole team was really happy with the number of adoptions and fosters during the week and at the rescheduled event. Plus, adopters kept arriving throughout December. There were cheers when Madison went home. She had been here longer than any other dog and I’m positive she was smiling.”

Susan Wallahora, FHS board president, adds, “Thanks to the response from the community to our December SOS, 49 cats and 25 dogs were adopted; six cats and 11 dogs were fostered to adopt. Unfortunately, strays and rescues keep coming in. That’s the nature of our mission and why we continue working to make adoptions attractive. Every adopted cat or dog comes with a neuter or spay, up-to-date vaccinations, any illnesses identified and treated, implanted microchip, socialization by our staff, follow-up advice, and a guarantee that if you don’t lose your heart, your pet will be welcomed back.”

For details call 828-863-4444, visit 989 Little Mountain Road, Columbus, N.C., or click foothills

– submitted by Vincent Verrecchio