A view to no kill by Kris Weiskopf

November 20, 2012 

As we move closer to our goal, we know that we can do better. We have been meeting to get more foster homes and review our plan to maximize each program and service. We are always looking for volunteers and people to offer their homes, especially for the holidays, to our shelter pets.

Foster homes are important to us and the shelter pets. We came up with two different categories for foster homes. Those homes that provide care for nursing puppies and kittens or cats and dogs with medical needs, such as heartworm treatments, will be our true foster homes, meaning the pet will potentially be returned to our shelter when old enough or treatment has concluded.

Transition homes will be those that take adoptable pets from the shelter environment into their home where the pet can stay for a transition period until their permanent forever home is found. The transition home parents will take these pets to adoption events, write stories about their experiences, take plenty of photographs and promote the adoption of their shelter pet until it is adopted. Once adopted into a forever home, we look forward to the transition parents taking another shelter pet and doing it all over again.

We are sure this will be a great experience for both the transition parents and the shelter pet. If you are interested in becoming a foster parent or offering a transition home and becoming a transition parent for our shelter pets, please contact Megahan Simpson or Sarah Hart at Animal Services, 941-742-5933, ext. 8315.

Another program that has taken off and proven to be extremely successful is our Adopt-A-Bull program. Every Wednesday evening, a group of volunteers, who call themselves the Pit Crew, meet at Animal Services to help train the sheltered pit bull and pit bull mix dogs with basic commands such as sit and stay.

Oftentimes the dogs in the program get adopted directly from their handlers since they have learned the basic obedience skills. If the training has not been completed, the new adopter has an open invitation to bring the dog back to each of the Wednesday night classes until training is complete. I have seen the dogs in the Adopt-A-Bull program being walked by others in the dog walking program and they are well behaved.

The Adopt-A-Bull

dogs are more calm, sit on command and walk with the dog walkers, by their side, with slack in the leash. This program is very important and has proven to be a success and asset to our no kill plan.

If you would like to be a part of this program by volunteering to help train the dogs on Pit Row, contact our coordinators at Animal Services, Christina Rios and Taunia Ireland at 941-742-5933.

As always, if you are interested in adopting a shelter pet, check out our website, www.mymanatee.org/pets to view all the dogs and cats available for adoption. Happy Thanksgiving and a great holiday season. Don't forget the shelter pets!

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 the 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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