The Union Recorder

Columns

March 20, 2012

Announcements you need to write down

MILLEDGEVILLE — The 14th ARF Auction was another huge success. We raised $15,800 for the animals at ARF. We had great items, great volunteers and great food. Too many thank you’s to hand out, but thank you to everyone who made the auction so successful: the sponsors, the individuals and businesses that donated items and services, the people who attend the auction and the volunteers, including Keith Drinkwater, our auctioneer, and Walter Reynolds, our emcee. Please support all the businesses that supported our auction. The Milledgeville Country Club was great including the food. We’ve already scheduled our 15th auction, so put it on your calendar. It will be March 2, 2013.

We have some exciting things going on with ARF. We introduced Fix Milledgeville in February for World Spay Day.  There are still funds for this, and we hope it will be a long-term program. If you or anyone you know wants to have their pet spayed or neutered, give us a call.  

For only $20 per animal plus $10 for a rabies vaccination, you can have your pet spayed or neutered. Once the application and your “co-pay” have been received at ARF, our executive director will make an appointment for the surgery and mail you the voucher. You have a choice of four out of our five Baldwin County veterinary clinics.

For an application and more information, you can stop by ARF Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., call us during those hours at (478) 454-1273 and we can mail it to you, or you can email ARF at shelter@animalrescuefoundation.org.

We’ve had a few glitches in the program, and we are working on solutions. With ARF, the veterinarians and the pet owners working together, this will be a very successful program.

We also have initiated a St. Patrick’s Day special for cats. All cats over 6 months of age have a $25 adoption fee. ARF Executive Director Julie Paschall explains, the cats “asked us to lower their adoption fee for the spring in hopes that they will get adopted before the kittens arrive!” Our website has their pictures. Two of the cats are declawed and one cat is deaf. And, they are already being adopted, so you better hurry if you want one of our beautiful cats!

We also received a grant for the dogs. We purchased new bowls and holders for the dog runs and dog cages, and within the next few weeks, there will be large play areas for the dogs with chain link fencing. The play areas will be used to help train our dogs and provide adequate exercise during the day.

The transition from me to Julie is continuing. It’s a slow process, but Julie has implemented new things and has some great ideas.

We want your feedback on how you think the transition is going. There will always be bumps in the road. After all these years, I still have bumps in the road.

And now, some words from ARF’s Executive Director, Julie Paschall:

“We give our dogs the most love we can, but a handful of people cannot properly love 50 or more dogs and cats as much as they need to be loved. The shelter is meant to be a temporary home, and we give our heart, soul and time to love them as much as possible.

“When you choose to give your heart and love to a shelter pet, you must realize that you aren’t getting a ‘perfect’ pet; there is no such thing. What you are getting is a dog or cat, who through no fault of their own, has ended up in the shelter due to the carelessness and priorities of fellow humans. (Note from Bobbie: These careless people are the ones who dump their pets and allow them to roam and breed, not the Good Samaritan who finds these animals.)

“The canines turned in as puppies have spent most of their lives in a cage. Some of the adults have often spent months or years on their own without much human contact. Our dog kennels have a bed, blanket and toys. When he gets to your home, our shelter dog doesn’t know he shouldn’t chew on that…why would he? In the shelter, everything he had access to were his to chew. Same with the cats. He’s not trying to hurt it. At the shelter, any animal he was allowed to be around was friendly and willing to play. It’s not the dog’s fault that your older cat (or dog) doesn’t want to play. He needs your guidance. He needs you to tell him not to chew on the couch or your shoes. It’s your job to teach him not to chase the cat.

“Please give him time to learn these new lessons. He’s not dumb. He knows which pen to go into in the morning, which of the 12 dog kennels is his and when he’s going to get walked, so he waits to go potty outside. Your routine will be different than ours, and he can adjust, but you must give him time. Dogs don’t speak our language (and we don’t understand or speak theirs), so mistakes are bound to happen. But they will learn with love, guidance and consistent training. (JP)”

The caregivers and volunteers work with the dogs and cats every day. Their top goal is to socialize them so they are happy cats and dogs. Once the animals are familiar with their surroundings and the people and other animals around them, the dogs begin training with walking on a leash. The cats are socialized with humans and with each other every day.

One of the things that Julie didn’t mention is that we know our animals. You need to listen to what we are saying and accept that maybe this animal isn’t the right one for you.

Unfortunately, a few people do not tell us the truth about their living arrangements or they choose not to listen to how the dogs are trained. This is when there is an issue. Open minds and open hearts and honesty are the keys to a successful adoption.

If you have a pet that needs to be spayed and neutered, come to ARF. If you need some food to feed your pet instead of dropping your pet off with us, come to ARF. If you want to adopt a pet, come to ARF.

Have patience with ARF and our animals. If we could be open 7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., we would be. Only the community can help us do that through your monetary donations and your time through volunteering.

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