Finding “Forever Homes”: Pet adoption event draws a big crowd at Southern States

Published 12:10 am Sunday, March 22, 2015

By Hugh Fisher

SALISBURY — Animal lovers know that far too many dogs and cats are in need of “forever homes,” people to love and care for them.

Saturday, a few more dogs and cats found homes, and many more got to see the potential pets available at the Rowan Animal Shelter.

A pet adoption event organized by the animal shelter and local nonprofit Shelter Guardians drew large crowds to Southern States on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

Volunteers from several local animal rescue groups brought dogs and cats, as well as information on their organizations.

All the pets originally came from the Rowan Animal Shelter.

Hannah Wunschel, student at Catawba College, was volunteering with Shelter Guardians. With her was Jasmine, a mixed-breed dog about 3 years old.

Jasmine sniffed eagerly at passers-by and wagged politely.

“She seems pretty calm, just hanging out!” Wunschel said.

“This is awesome,” said Nina Dix, of Shelter Guardians, one of the organizers of the event.

Dix said the pet adoption fair would hopefully draw attention to the animals waiting for homes at the Rowan Animal Shelter and through local rescue groups who take in dogs and cats in danger of euthanasia.

“It’s getting some positive support, and that’s going to help animals in the long run,” Dix said.

She estimated over 150 people, perhaps as many as 200, had come to Southern States for the adoption fair.

By lunchtime, two dogs and several cats had already found new homes.

In a nearby pen, worn out from a morning of play, four puppies lay in the laps of young volunteers whose parents were working nearby.

“He’s just nice!” said Gigi Nagy, who was looking after Luke, one of the American bulldog and border collie mix pups.

At only 12 weeks old, the pups are already pretty big.

Sallie Katherine Thompson, of animal rescue group Halfway House, said the pups were rescued after authorities learned they were being kept outdoors in below-freezing weather.

“We got ’em warm, got ’em dewormed,” Thompson said. “They were really sick, but now they’re doing well.”

Thompson said she hoped the event would draw attention to the many rescued dogs and cats who need good homes.

By 1 p.m., one of the pups already had a new owner, and the others were getting lots of attention.

“It’s just so inspiring, to see the families and friends of Shelter Guardians and the Rowan Animal shelter, just to see how much they care about these animals and their fate,” said Jennie Pritchard, who works at Rowan Animal Clinic.

With her was Eli, a dog who wore a tie-dyed bandanna with “Adopt Me!” printed on it.

“We appreciate so much what Shelter Guardians has done,” said Rowan Animal Shelter Director Clai Martin. “… We’re so glad to be a part of it.”

There are still many more dogs and cats in need of loving homes, and organizers know their work is not done.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.