Shelter; noun: a building serving as a temporary refuge or residence for homeless persons, abandoned animals, etc.
There are thousands of animal shelters across the United States (an exact number is difficult to say, but over 13,900), and three of them in my county alone.
The shelter I volunteer at is one example; it’s called the Gainesville Pet Rescue, and it is an organization full of animal-lovers dedicated to placing pets in their “furever” homes. Taking in, caring for, and finding homes for animals is a lot of work, and animal shelters around the country do whatever they can to get every dog and cat the loving home they deserve. I volunteer whenever I can and am proud to consider myself a part of this shelter.
At Gainesville Pet Rescue (or GPR), we get most of our cats and dogs from the county animal services. Animal services has far too many animals most of the time, and shelters in the area will come and get as many as they can. Unfortunately, animal services is not a no-kill shelter, so it’s important that places like GPR exist to keep as many animals alive as possible.
GPR operates on a fostering program, with the cats and dogs ideally being in foster homes for half of the week, and only in the shelter during adoption days (Thursday – Saturday). This cuts down on the amount of time they have to spend in crates. There’s almost nothing sadder than a shelter dog whining to get out of their cage.
We strive to let the dogs play outside as often as possible (once every two hours at a minimum), or take them into the playroom to let off some energy whenever we have time – lots of animals usually equals lots of messes to clean and a truly unbelievable amount of laundry. I try to put a toy or two in with each dog when they have to be in their crates, even when it means I come back to find the toy in 20 pieces across the floor. Keeps them entertained, at least!
We also take in sick or injured animals and treat them, or try to, thanks to a donation fund specifically for that purpose. There was recently a dog in with a terrible skin condition that donations allowed GPR to treat.
Many dogs and cats come in with less severe problems, like fleas and ticks, which still have to be treated before they can be in the main rooms with the other animals. The staff gets all these animals healthy as soon as they can, and then they are up for adoption!
The happiest moments are always when an animal gets adopted, especially one that has been with us for a long time. Puppies come and go fast, as well as kittens. It’s the older ones that have some trouble, but we keep them as long as we need to until they find their perfect humans.
Gainesville Pet Rescue is a not-for-profit and relies on donations, or funds from monthly yard sales and other events. If anyone wants to help or find out more about this organization, you can visit the site here!