Kane visited the Lowell Humane Society to learn about the dog adoption program. Since he was a rescue himself, he wanted to understand how other dogs became homeless, how they prepared for adoption, and how could he support the resident dogs in finding a forever home. Kane decided the best way to go about this was to interview Crystal Arnott, Communications & Fundraising Manager, at the Lowell Humane Society and host a coffee hour with a few of the dogs in residence. .
Kane said Crystal is very smart and not only knows all about the dogs, she runs fundraisers so she can finance the medical , housing, and adoption needs of the homeless animals. Can you believe she has been doing this for 12 years which in dog’s years is a very long time? Thank you Crystal, wonder how many dogs like me you have helped find their forever home.
I asked Crystal how do most dogs come to the Humane Society? She said the most common reason is landlord issues. “Many rental apartments do not allow dogs,” Crystal said. She also explained that dogs come in due to medical expenses and conditions, behavioral issues, (bigger than eating your own poop, like me), and stray dogs found in the local community. This made me sad because it must be lonely out there alone in the world.
Crystal explained to me how the dogs became ready for adoption. She said it was important for them to settle in and become familiar with the people and the environment. The resident dogs go out with staff and or volunteer dog walkers three times a day. They can also play in the play yard.
Dogs are socialized in different environments such as car rides, going to events and walks in the woods. I told Crystal I like to walk in the woods. Crystal told me the animal shelter uses positive reinforcement and a caring gentle disposition so the dogs can build trust with the staff and volunteers. I agreed with Crystal; being kind is the way to go.
Crystal said each dog has an evaluation to learn more in depth information about the adoptable pet. Kane thought it made sense to know if the dogs liked other dogs or cats; whether they feel comfortable with children or how much energy they have. Crystal told Kane the evaluation provides information on what type of household would be the best match for the pet since the goal is for the dog to be happy and successful in their forever home.
I asked Crystal how does the Humane Society family find a good match for the homeless dogs. She said social media and word of mouth is the key. I didn’t tell her I started online dating, I wonder if she saw my profile. She said potential families are screened by checking with their vet in regard to the care of previous pets, making sure the family can provide the medical care needed, and the special needs of the each dogs are discussed.
Crystal said it’s important to provide as much information about the animal as possible including behavioral challenges and social needs. For example if the dog doesn’t like cats it doesn’t make sense to put them in a home with a cat. I had trouble looking at Crystal because maybe she knew about the bunny in the backyard I try to chase. I try not to, but I do it anyways. I bet Crystal doesn’t chase bunnies.
I asked Crystal how could the community support the mission of the Humane Society and help the dogs find forever homes? She said, “join our family of volunteers, share the social page, and helping with fundraising.” Crystal wants the general public to not forget the small shelters that do great work. She said, “we have had and continue to have great dogs.” She said this year, due to the pandemic, we have had less animals surrendered but also less volunteers have been able to work their shifts due to social distancing, Crystal considers the volunteers to be part of the Lowell Humane Society family, who are currently missed.
I thanked Crystal for her time then went off to my zoom coffee hour with the adoptable pets. I hoped I picked the right outfit and tried to appear confident even though I can sometimes be shy. So when I joined the call I actually was part of a celebration since Buster just got adopted and McFly had completed his evaluation and was now eligible to be adopted. Both Buster and McFly were explaining the daily routine to Riley who recently came into the shelter. He is so friendly; he was easily getting used to the staff and had walked with volunteers this week. Sadie explained to me that she was spending a little time in foster care. I asked her, “why foster care.”
She said she was exploring some issues with strangers to see how she reacted to them so her adoption team could figure out how she would interact with new people. She said she was practicing getting to know new people with her foster mom and dad.
Well, I said my goodbyes to my new friends and wished each of them luck in finding their forever home. Buster’s good news definitely lifted the mood and helped keep the other pups spirits up. I thought to myself I wish all pets had a home they deserve, nothing less.
Kane; Mascot, Columnist at the Valley Patriot ◊