By Felicia Farnsworth
April 11 is National Pet Day. Animal welfare advocate, Colleen Paige, founded National Pet Day in 2006 to celebrate the joy pets bring to us.
She also wanted to bring attention to the ongoing needs of pets waiting in shelters to be adopted. “Don’t shop, adopt” became the holiday motto after she encouraged people to look at shelters or rescues instead of breeders when looking to find a new pet. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide.
Only 1.6 million cats and 1.6 million dogs will find their forever homes. Bullock County Humane Society (BCHS) is among this group. BCHS Director, Desiray Wilder, has her work cut out for her. With intakes of multiple dogs, puppies, cats, and kittens, she manages to spend time with every animal in the shelter.
The animals at BCHS are fortunate to have Wilder and her family. Between getting donations and making veterinarian appointments, Wilder also finds time to plan and run transports to different rescues located as far north as Wisconsin and Maine. “At any given time, there are 30-40 dogs and cats that are looking for their forever home here at the shelter,” said Wilder.
“Unadopted shelter animals get rescued by different rescues in hopes of finding their forever home. This year, in March, 60 animals went to rescues, and in February, 58 were transferred to rescues.” With adoption being Wilder’s first choice, sometimes it’s just meant to be, and the animal must go to a rescue to find their new homes.
The requirements to adopt a furbaby from BCHS are: Adopters must either own a home or have the landlord’s written approval; BCHS must do a home check to make sure the new surroundings are adequate for the new family member; The adopter must be financially able to provide for their new family member.
“We would love for the furbaby to become a part of the family and know they will not be tied up outside on a chain all day and forgotten. Some outdoor play is good for dogs, but we prefer their beds to be inside with the family.” BCHS is always looking for volunteers. An adult must accompany volunteers under the age of 16, and all volunteers will be interviewed as if they were applying for a job before interacting with the animals.
BCHS is looking for at-home volunteers to cut linens into kennel-sized blankets. One quilt donated can be turned into six to eight kennel-sized blankets. They are also looking for volunteers who would be willing to wash/dry linens at the laundromat. BCHS also has a fostering program.
To become a foster, you must go through the same qualifications as if you were adopting. A foster animal is one that has a commitment to a rescue and could be fostered as long as two weeks to thirty days.
When speaking on her concerns for the community, Wilder stated, ”My biggest concern is home health care and wellbeing in the home. We have an abundance of non-spayed or neutered dogs in Bullock County, and if we could get them to the veterinarian, we can lower the breeding issues we have in this area.”
There is a temporary Community Outreach for families in financial crisis and need help with proper spaying and neutering. “It is state law for all animals to have a rabies vaccine and present the rabies tag on the collar.
We need to resolve this issue of unvaccinated and documented animals in this community,” stated Wilder. BCHS needs old towels, blankets, tarps, cinder blocks, dog/cat food, pine pellet horse bedding, or cleaning supplies (regular Clorox bleach preferred).
If you would like to donate or need any more information, please call 334-738-7387 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any monetary donations may be made through Paypal: email@example.com Venmo: @bullockcountyhumanesociety or by mail at Bullock County Humane Society P.O. Box 921 Union Springs, AL 36089.