Jonathan Maher, 9, and his younger brother Henry, 6, couldn’t help but check out the dogs heard barking down the hall at Genesee County Animal Shelter.
The boys had come to the West Main Street site this week to make their donation to Volunteers For Animals, which operates out of the shelter. It was one of at least three donations brought in during a 90-minute span.
“We had some share money and didn’t know what to do with it,” Jonathan said as to why they were visiting on a snowy Wednesday evening. “I really like animals.”
His mom, Melannie, explained that the youngsters earn a regular allowance, and they merge some of the money for a “share” fund, which is given to charity.
“We had dropped off some stuff before and thought it’d be nice to help the local shelter,” she said. “They were so excited to come and see the animals.”
Seeing the animals: Ruben
The boys met Ruben, a friendly and energetic pit bull terrier mix with a light tan coat and spots of white at his paws and chest. Reuben was previously adopted, but was returned when his family discovered he needed “an attitude adjustment,” VFA President Debbie Stocking said.
“He has a lot of behavioral issues and is getting training,” Stocking said. “He loves people. He wants to learn, he really tries.”
Ruben is about 2 years old and loves to play with toys. The blue-eyed looker would be ideal with someone who can be his leader and understand his need for exercise and having “room to run,” Stocking said. He is a playful and affectionate boy who will do best in a household that provides consistent guidance and direction. Ruben is learning loose leash walking and receiving some basic obedience training while at the shelter. Volunteers say he will excel in a household that will maintain the training and give him a structured environment.
And Sammie …
Then there was Sammie, who stood taller than his cellmate as a black and tan hound mix. Found as a stray at the Rez Smoke Shop and Gas Mart, Sammie’s sweet disposition belies her untold time without a home. She’s in heat and will get spayed when possible.
“This is the best place for her to be, rather than going out and getting pregnant,” Stocking said.
Sammie can go to a good home now, and the spaying procedure will be paid for by VFA. Stocking wasn’t certain whether she gets along with dogs and/or cats because she was just brought in, however, she demonstrated an enthusiastic joy for mingling with people. She is estimated to be 1-1/2 years old and weighing in at around 70 to 80 pounds. She is a strong young lady and is receiving some training as well.
Volunteer Vern Luce favors Sammie, he said, because she reminds him of a dog he adopted when the new shelter first opened. That other dog, named Kazoo, was a 10-month-old shepherd-Rottweiler mix.
“She was just so sweet,” Luce said of his prior pup, turning to the brown, long tail-wagging Sammie. “That’s why I like her.”
Coco and River …
Coco is a brown Labrador retriever mix from a shelter in Kentucky. After torrential storms leveled nearby states, the Kentucky shelter cleared out some of its inventory to make way for animals from those devastated communities, Stocking said. VFA took in six of those dogs, about half of which have already been adopted. Coco is a “very sweet” 4-year-old who loves greeting visitors. River is another rescue from Kentucky. He is a 2-year-old black Labrador retriever/German Shepherd mix.
“They’re good with other dogs, and they play with everybody,” Stocking said.
Hunter and Felco …
Jonathan and Henry also met up with Hunter and Felco, two Catahoula puppies. Rather tall and lean for their age of nine months, the light brown pups are differentiated by a lighter white vertical patch on Felco’s face.
“They love to play, and they can run and run and run,” Luce said.
There were 10 dogs up for adoption, and about a half dozen cats, as of Wednesday evening. The Batavian will be publishing periodic stories about the animals in need at the shelter, including those that have been rescued, turned in, or found as strays. That doesn’t mean they will make ideal holiday gifts, Stocking said. What may seem like a cute surprise to hand to a child — or even to an adult — can soon become an inconvenience, she said.
“We don’t recommend a pet for Christmas,” she said. “Nine out of 10 come back. I would never suggest a pet as a gift. Adopting a pet is a lot of responsibility.”
Adoption fees are $60 for county dogs and cats and $50 to $150 for rescues from out of state. If the animal is not spayed or neutered, there is a $35 refundable deposit that is returned upon proof of surgery. An adoption application must be filled out at the shelter by the person wishing to adopt the animal. Once the application has been reviewed and approved, the potential adopter may visit and meet any of the animals. All cats must leave the shelter in a cat carrier, to be supplied by the adopter.
If you’re ready for the long-term commitment of raising a four-legged friend, contact the shelter at 585-343-6410, Option 7, to schedule an appointment. For more information, go to vol4animals.org.
Top photo: Jonathan and Henry Maher drop off a monetary donation to Volunteers For Animals during a visit Wednesday at the Genesee County Animal Shelter in Batavia. They visit with residents Ruben, Sammie, Coco, River, Hunter and Felco, assisted by volunteers Cindy Moag, Debbie Stocking, and Vern Luce.
Photos by Howard Owens.