MELISSA MONTOYA, MMONTOYA@NEWS-PRESS.COM
Animal shelters bring awareness to homeless pets
Anne Buchanan went to Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers to celebrate a bar’s 4-year anniversary.
Instead of having a beer, however, the Fort Myers resident left the mall with a new 4-legged friend.
Doyle the deaf Catahoula, with a snow-white coat and blue piercing eyes, was adopted by Buchanan who lost her own dog Rigby the Pug in June. Rigby died after suffering a stroke. Doyle was one of dozens of dogs brought to the mall to bring awareness to International Homeless Animals Day. Local shelters went to the mall with puppies in tow hoping at least one of them could find a home while reminding people to spay and neuter their pets.
“So many animal lives are lost because of overpopulation,” said Jessica Bamford, events coordinator for the Gulf Coast Humane Society. “There are only so many animals shelters can handle.”
Jessica Bamford, left, events coordinator for the Gulf Coast Humane Society, and Carey Kendzior, of Stop Illegal Dogfighting, place bags in memory of lost and homeless pets during a ceremony Saturday at Bell Tower Shops for International Homeless Animals Day. (Photo: Terry Allen Williams/Special to The News-Press)
“He just seemed like such a sweet little puppy,” Buchanan said of Doyle.
Buchanan will have a week with Doyle before adoption is finalized, said Tammy Thallas, adoption coordinator at Paws Lee County. The trial run gives pet owners a chance to see if the dog matches their lifestyle.
Mike McGowan, volunteer at Paws Lee County, was elated to see Doyle find a possible home.
“This is more than a rescue, this is a savior,” McGowan said. “It’s hard to adopt a special needs dog.”
That was part of Doyle’s appeal, Buchanan said.
Like Buchanan, Carey Lade prefers to adopt dogs others may ignore. Three weeks ago she adopted Emma, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier with scars on her posterior from where children were burning the dog with cigarettes.
Chloe Mcquestion, 15, plays with Chance, a 9-month-old English Bulldog during International Homeless Animals Day. (Photo: Terry Allen Williams/Special to the News-Press)
“I like adopting some of the breeds people think are aggressive because those are often euthanized,” Lade said. “They are just the best dogs.”
Paws Lee County has found homes for almost 500 pets since beginning of the year, Thallas said. The goal in 2015 is to get 1,000 adopted. At the humane shelter, Bamford said there are about a 100 dogs and 30 cats.
Some dogs have been at Gulf Coast Humane Society for over a year.
“We try to get them out as much as we can,” Bamford said, “But it’s not good for anybody’s spirit to be contained.”
Find out more
•For information on how to adopt dogs or cats from Gulf Coast Humane Society, call 332-0364 or visit gulfcoasthumanesociety.org.
•For information on animals from Paws Lee County, visit pawsleecounty.org.