Animal Shelter seeks volunteers to interact with lonely dogs
The ballad of “Doggy Crockett” doesn’t have an ending yet.
Crockett, a four-year-old pitbull/boxer mix, has been at the Isabella County Animal Shelter, 1105 S. Isabella Road, longer than any other current dog. He was brought in January after his owners were unable to care for him anymore. Crockett was adopted for a brief two weeks before his new guardian was taken to jail, and he was brought back to the shelter.
Since then, the Humane Animal Treatment Society staff at the shelter have noticed something dying on the inside.
“He’s becoming depressed,” said Baley Westers, HATS canine care specialist. “When he’s in his kennel, he’s in his bed lying down, and he won’t even look at people.”
For months, Crockett has watched all his playmates get picked out of their cages to go home with a new family, said the Grand Rapids senior. Crockett loves kids, she said, but has slowly lost interest in barking for the attention of visitors to the shelter.
Instead, the white mutt with a brown puzzle-piece patch of fur over his left eye, lies in bed, looking everywhere except into the eyes of the people passing by who never adopt him.
“It’s almost like being in a prison cell, except he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Angela Miedema, HATS canine care specialist.
Every day, dogs get four 15-minute increments of walks or play time outside. Miedema, a Holland senior, said the dogs spend a total of about two hours a day outside their kennel.
Jill Irving, executive director at Humane Animal Treatment Society, said the shelter housed about 145 cats and 45 dogs this past weekend. Animals brought into the shelter are strays, seizures or surrenders. They are only euthanized if they are dangerous, diseased beyond help or unable to be kept at the shelter longer.
Dogs have an 88 percent adoption rate, Irving said.
“When adoptions aren’t happening, it’s very difficult,” she said. “We have to consider euthanizing.”
The staff keep a thick book titled “Success Stories” filled with emails from new guardians telling of how well the animals are doing. Many of the stories are so beautiful they tear up, Irving said.
Other stories make them cry from laughing. One night a pitbull named Angel figured out how to open a door handle with her paws. By the time the staff arrived in the morning, Angel had freed the cats’ cages, turning the house of animals into an animal house.
The surveillance tape from that night is one the funniest things Irving said she has ever seen.
“We laugh a lot,” she said. “We have such an amazing staff, and everyone is here because they care so much about the animals.”
Meidema said volunteers are desperately needed to play with and walk dogs. Interaction makes dogs more adoptable, she said, and if they don’t get attention, they go crazy and never get adopted.
“People say they don’t want to help because it’s too sad,” she said. “But if everyone had that mentality, they’d never get helped.”
Leave a Comment
Like us on Facebook
- Kellie: We miss miss you Carolyn. You still are remember on the socc…
- anonymous: I know this girl was in the wrong, but, put yourself in her …
- : What is the standing cement block structure going to be for?…
- 5k: Solved the case!! …
- : SOLVED THE CASE …
• Is your baby graduating CMU? Place a personal greeting and photo in CM Life's Baby Graduates special pages. Download the form here
• Contact local movers in Mount Pleasant to help with all of your moving needs.
• Download Campus Cash Coupons!
• Search for local apartments
• Add your link here