A View to No-Kill by Kris Weiskopf: A new pet can help bring joy into your home for the holidays

November 13, 2012 

Debra Starr is a compassionate volunteer who has been very instrumental in taking the lead with various projects.

Debra wrote the following column to enlighten others about her passion for pets and an important need for the pets to be "Home 4 the Holidays."

The most wondrous characteristic of dogs is that they are perpetual optimists. The dogs at the Manatee County Animal Services Adoption Centers are no exception.

They experience joy in the littlest things. Utter a kind word or pet them on the nose through their cage bars and their tails wag as if they were wind-up toys. A romp in our play yards or a walk on the grounds sends them into a dance of pure joy.

These abandoned pets retain their love of life and love of people despite the many dire circumstances that led them here. It is truly amazing!

You can bring that unbridled joy into your home this holiday season. As we all know, dogs are great companions. J.R. Ackerley sums it up nicely. "Dogs love company. They place it first in their short list of needs."

In our ongoing effort to be a truly No Kill Shelter, Manatee County Animal Services needs your help. We are actively searching for canine companions and encourage you to consider becoming part of our Transition Foster Program. As a foster parent, you are helping an animal in need and you're also providing the badly needed space for another animal at the shelter-- that's saving two lives!

What is fostering?

As a volunteer transition foster parent, you will care for one or more shelter pets at your home until the animals are adopted. Our foster parents provide a clean, safe, loving environment for homeless pets and help them prepare to find a new forever home. All of our dogs in the Transition Foster Program are healthy and have been sterilized, microchipped and are current on their vaccinations.

You will be invited to bring your foster pets to adoption events like Canine Christmas, Concerts in the Park and both off-site and on-site adopt-a-thons. We will provide you with a special "ADOPT ME" vest so every walk and outing can be an adoption opportunity.

Best of all, you can choose your foster dog from our adoptable kennels. On any given day, we have a variety of sizes and breeds, young or old, shy or boisterous.

And, if you happen to fall in love, you are first in line as an adopter. Either way, you are making a

huge difference in the life of a dog.

The dogs need you -- we need you! This holiday season, please consider opening up your heart and your home and share the boundless love of a furry four-legged friend.

If you can't participate in the Transition Foster Program, you can help us in many other ways. Please consider volunteering to walk dogs, serve on a committee and/or donate money, towels and other supplies. Your generosity will give shelter pets a second chance to live and love.

Go to www.mymanatee.org/pets for more information or call 941-742-5933, ext. 8304, or e-mail tammy.bentley@mymanatee.org for more information on volunteering at Animal Services."

If you never have to look into the eyes of a dog or cat and make a choice, you are lucky. One day, we all would like to be lucky too.

We have new adoption specials and new adoption fees. To adopt a dog, the fee is $80 and a cat is $40. The license fee is $15 for Manatee County residents.

Our adoption special is "Adopt One - Get One." Two pets for the price of one! Check our website or visit both of our shelters (Palmetto and downtown Bradenton) to find your furry family member.

For information on free and low cost spay and neuter programs, call our information line at 941-749-3067.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald.

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