GSHS Valentine adoption event matches animals with loving homes

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Good Shepherd Humane Society (GSHS) played matchmaker this weekend. Some of the eligible bachelors acted like real dogs, but, in this case, that was a good thing.

GSHS held a Valentine’s Adopt-a-thon at the animal shelter on Saturday, Feb. 11. People had the chance to visit the shelter, eat some sweet treats and enjoy meeting the even sweeter cats and dogs that call the shelter home for now.

Shelter manager Sandra Mittler said the goal of the adoption event was to pair the animals with loving homes and show people that the shelter is a welcoming place. Many get cold feet when thinking about visiting the shelter, she said, so GSHS staff and volunteers wanted to help people warm up to the idea of stopping by the shelter when looking for a canine companion or a feline friend.

“We want people to get used to coming on the premises so they can see that it’s not sad to go to a shelter,” Mittler said. “This event is a good opportunity for us to get some good foot traffic here.”

Even if people do not adopt at the event, she said that visiting the premises helps familiarize people with the shelter and increases the likelihood of them returning.

“A lot of times people come look at the animals and will come back a day later to adopt one,” Mittler said. “I’d love to see at least a couple of dogs and cats adopted through this event.”

On-site events are also beneficial for the animals, she said.

“It helps with their socialization,” Mittler said. “The animals like to meet new people, too.”

She continued, “If we have an off-site event, we can only take maybe six dogs and a couple of cats. This way we get to show all of our dogs and cats to people.”

Mittler said GSHS is planning to do many more on-site events this year and is doing everything they can to make site visits as positive an experience as they can. This includes redoing all of the kennels and constructing a “meet and greet” building, she said.

“We encourage people, if they already have animals at home, to bring them so we can do a ‘meet and greet’ with the animals at the shelter,” she said. “That way, you can know if the animals are going to get along before you bring the new animal home. Our techs are here for the ‘meet and greet,’ and we do it in a controlled way.”

The new “meet and greet” building will be a key component to that, Mittler said.

Board president Jay Fusaro said GSHS recently got a grant to finish the project. The building will be used to introduce animals to each other as well as introducing people to the animals in a safe and quiet environment, he said.

“An adopter can come and meet with an animal where it’s safe and quiet,” Fusaro said. “It also lets the pets interact.”

He said the building also includes a break room in the back where the GSHS board will meet when construction is completed.

“The board meets at a local restaurant right now,” Fusaro said. “Meeting on the grounds will be important. When a staff member has a question or brings up an issue, we will be able to just go look at it during the meeting.”

When the “meet and greet” building is finished, Mittler said GSHS will host another adoption event in the spring.

“We’ll have another event where everyone can tour that new addition,” she said. “Hopefully, the doctor will be here so we can maybe tour the surgery room as well.”

Local Kathy Robbins said she enjoyed the Valentine’s Adopt-a-thon because it gave her the chance to meet some of the dogs at the shelter.

“We lost our dog in January. We were going to go get a purebred German shepherd, but we decided to come out here and see the dogs,” Robbins said. “I may be taking one home with me if we find the right one.”

Mittler said the GSHS shelter currently has 45 cats and 34 dogs.

Six dogs were moved to a shelter in Minnesota on Friday, Fusaro said. The state has a big spay and neuter policy, he said, so their shelters have a bigger need for animals.

“We moved out six dogs yesterday. Four were here over a year,” he said. “We’re very happy about that. We hope to make some good progress here with adoptions.”

Mittler said the shelter will be taking in some new dogs this week as a result.

She said the only thing people need to do to find their perfect match pet this Valentine’s season is visit the GSHS shelter.

“We’ve got so many great dogs and cats here,” Mittler said. “People just need to come out and meet them.”

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