Pets: ‘Take us home for the holidays’
Butte Humane Society plans December drive to adopt out every animal
The weather was nippy and a steady breeze swept through the yard as Delilah and Slinky played on the grass in front of their beds.
“Slinky’s still like a puppy,” Lori Wells, communication and outreach associate for the Butte Humane Society, said. “Delilah has been here for such a long time. Her people moved and couldn’t care for her anymore. It’s very sad.”
Unfortunately, the economy has made it impossible for some families to care for their pets, like Delilah, a pit mix, but most are strays. Slinky, a lab-pit mix, was returned to the shelter because of his destructive behavior around the house when his owners weren’t home, Wells said. If someone were willing to crate-train him, however, he’s extremely affectionate and would make an excellent companion.
Truman, a strong-looking black-and-white pit bull/lab mix, has been going through training classes at the shelter since arriving in May. “He needs people who want to work with him and continue his training,” Wells said. “He loves everyone and is very adventurous. He’d be great for a family that likes to do a lot of sporting activities.”
The staff at BHS aren’t afraid to discuss an animal’s problem behavior, mostly because they want to find permanent—not temporary—homes for every animal. Come December, they’ll be pushing even harder to place each and every adoptable animal into a loving home, as part of their “Take Us Home for the Holidays” program. The goal is that every animal that is ready to be adopted on Dec. 1 finds a new home by Dec. 31.
“Our thought is, even pets belong with family and friends during the holidays,” Wells said. “We want to showcase that we have a variety of purebreds and small dogs—we don’t just have pit bulls.”
She’s right, too. A walk inside to BHS’ dog wing revealed several Chihuahuas, Jack Russell terriers and other small dogs, which is unusual for the shelter. One of the Chihuahuas, Archie, commanded attention despite being pint-sized. He jumped around his cage, wagging his tail and staring out with his little, round eyes. His story is another sad one: At 8 years old, he lived with a family, was bred with a female, who then had puppies, and because the family then had too many dogs, they sent Archie packing. Now he lives in a kennel at the Butte Humane Society. Because of his older age, Archie will have a harder time finding a home.
Then there is Bronco, a lab-mix puppy who was surrendered because he was “an unwanted gift.” He looked up with his sweet eyes and pressed an oversized paw up to the chain link to play, as if to say, “How could anybody not want me?”
Steve, a lab/bull-mastiff, sat calmly, his huge head dominating his body. At 11 years old, he, too, will be difficult to adopt out. He was picked up several times by Animal Control officers for running loose, Wells said, and eventually his owners surrendered him. He’s been living at BHS since the end of August.
Until just a few months ago, all the cats—more than a hundred altogether—were kept in the Fair Street facility. The cat rooms were cramped and filled with more than the recommended number of felines. Now, walking into one of the several new cat rooms at the spay/neuter facility on Country Drive is a substantially more pleasant experience.
Miles Jackson, a fourth-grader at Neal Dow Elementary School, was in one of the rooms taking photographs of the coolest-looking cats, preparing to make a poster board to put up at his school for a fundraising project he plans to start up after Thanksgiving.
“I’m going to call it Pennies for Pets,” said the young animal lover. The idea is to collect pennies over the next six months and then donate all the money to BHS.
Miles was sad to hear Wells tell the story of Jo Mama, an orange-and-black cat whose owners moved and simply left her at the house, assuming somebody else would take care of her.
“Unfortunately, that’s pretty common in a college town,” Wells said.
Take Us Home for the Holidays will start Dec. 1 and last till the end of the year. There are about 200 animals that need homes, and their pictures will be hanging in the two facilities. While adoption prices range from $20 for bunnies to $150 for purebred dogs, Wells pointed out that all the animals are spayed or neutered and have received all their vaccinations as well as a microchip.
Through the “Meet Your Match” program, potential dog owners take a short survey that matches them with one of three colors that are also used on each dog’s cage to describe its temperament. So, for instance, if you don’t exercise and you live in an apartment, Niko is clearly not the dog for you—Archie would be a better fit.
“Plus we have our experts and a vet. We can walk you through the process of owning a pet,” Wells said. “It’s a real celebration when any of our animals gets adopted. It’s one of my favorite parts of the job.”