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Adopt a New Furry Friend: Hotspots spoke with a rep from the Humane Society of Broward County

by: Sheri Elfman

humane_5Many of the people in our pet profile section have adopted from the Humane Society or other local shelters, so we wanted to learn more about adopting from a non-profit. I spoke with Cherie Wachter, Vice President of Marketing at the Humane Society of Broward County.

Hotspots Magazine: On average, how many animals get turned in daily? 

Cherie Wachter: There is not an average per day; however more are surrendered on the weekends.

Are most of these animals older pets? 

The pets surrendered to the Humane Society of Broward County range in age from babies to senior.  We see a lot of dogs between the ages of eight months to two years.  People get puppies and don’t realize how much work it can be.  Training needs to start at eight to twelve weeks of age with puppy socialization classes and continue though adulthood.  At eight months of age the puppy cuteness has worn off and if the pet has not been trained, the person doesn’t want to deal with the now teenage dog and gives up the pet.

What are some of the benefits of adopting an older cat or dog? 

When you adopt a shelter pet you are saving a life.  These animals did not ask to come to the humane_3shelter, they were given up by their families for various reasons ranging from can’t afford, moving, the owner died, allergies and no time…just to name a few.  There are so many wonderful pets in need, often times they are already trained, you can see what their personalities are like; they just need a place to call home.

Are there other kinds of animals besides dogs and cats up for adoption there? 

On occasion the Humane Society of Broward County has Guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets available for adoption.

Do the animals get medical treatment before adoption (shots, etc)?

Before an animal goes up for adoption, they receive their preliminary vaccinations, cats are test for feline leukemia and dogs over the age of seven months are tested for heartworm.  In addition they receive a de-worming.  If a pet has not already been spayed or neutered, once it is adopted this surgery will be performed before the pet goes to its new home.  The pets will also receive a microchip.  If a dog tests positive for heartworm, it will be treated for this as an out-patient, so the adopting family must be willing to come back to the shelter for a few follow-up visits.

What is the process of adoption like?

We encourage families to come to the shelter together and select a pet that will fit their lifestyle.  Typically if a pet is over the age of six months we will have a profile on them, so we know if they are good with other pets, kids and how active they are –that way if you have an active family, love to go for walks and want a jogging partner we can match you with the appropriate pet.  If you like to lounge on the couch we can find the perfect lap cat or dog for you.  Adopters will meet with an adoption counselor who will gather some information about you, such as your pet history, address and phone number, etc. and then you will meet with the pet.  Sometimes the pets are able to go home the same day, if not the pet will be scheduled for the spay/neuter surgery and go home the next day.

How else can people help out the Humane Society? (volunteering, fostering, etc). 

The Humane Society of Broward County has more than 500 volunteers that help us in all capacities, but we can always use more.  Some opportunities include: dog walkers, pet adoption counselors, education assistants, animal care associates, administrative assistance, foster care and Adoption Ambassadors.  Adoption Ambassadors take dogs (and we are expanding the program to include cats) who are not doing well at the shelter into their homes.  The HSBC provides the food and supplies, the Ambassadors provide the love and market the pets through their friends, family and business associates.  They interview potential adopters and complete all the necessary adoption paperwork.  The pet never has to come back to the shelter.  The more Ambassadors we have, the more animals we can help.

Another great way to get involved is with the annual Walk for the Animals that takes place on March 1, 2014.  Join thousands of animal lovers for a 1.2 mile walk that takes place at Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale.  This fundraiser is the shelter’s largest event and we hope to net more than $530,000!  You can walk with or without your dog (we ask that felines stay home for the day) and the more money you raise the more goodies you earn.  Raise $150 and get the official walk T-shirt and dog bandana.  For details about this event visit www.walk4theanimals.com or call (954) 266-6817.
Make a donation at http://humanebroward.donordrive.com

The Humane Society of Broward County also offers microchipping and low cost spay/neuter services by appointment for pets that have homes.  For more details visit our main website at www.humanebroward.com

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