Kris Weiskopf's No Kill column: Shelter program lets you take the dogs out

March 26, 2013 

Who let the dogs out? Our new shelter program will let YOU take the dogs out! Attention all Dog Lovers! Manatee County Animal Services is announcing a new program designed to help our community reach and maintain a true No Kill status.

At any given time, we have scores of adoptable dogs, who for the most part, must sit… stay… and wait for potential adopters to come to see them. While we have wonderful volunteer dog walkers to take them around the grounds, they still do not get the exercise, socialization and exposure that they really need. That is where you come in and why this program is so important!

Our new "One to One Adoption Program," is designed to get the dogs out of the shelter and into the community where they just might meet their new forever family. It is sure to be a win-win for both you and your chosen dog. Together you can get exercise, meet new people and enjoy a very special bond.

Getting up close and personal with your sponsored dog is easy. Simply visit the Animal Services Shelter in Palmetto at 305 25th St. West, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m Tuesday through Saturday or the Animal Services Downtown Adoption Center in Bradenton at 1002B Manatee Ave. West, between 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday or between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday. Once you are there, pick out your personal "Pet Project," and sign up to be their sponsor. If you are a current volunteer, you will be asked to fill out a few forms.

Then, on your own schedule, during shelter hours, leash up your new friend and take your dog to area events, pet stores, The Downtown Bradenton Farmers Market, shopping or walking in the park. An "Adopt Me" vest will be provided so people will know that your dog is available to go to a permanent home. If you do happen to find that special forever home, bring the potential adopters back to the shelter with you and our Animal Services staff will take it from there.

If you haven't found a new home for the dog by the end of the day, return your friend and companion to the Animal Services shelter or make arrangements to keep your friend overnight if you wish. Even when you are not together, you can still make a difference. Market your dog on social media and spread the word to relatives, friends and neighbors. We hope you will join the "One to One Adoption Program."

You will have the joy and fulfillment that comes with knowing that you truly made a difference in the life of a dog. Remember, you can custom design the program. You pick the dog, the dates, the time and the frequency you want to invest. With a little luck, you can do it over and over again!

One to One and one by one, you can help our dogs get the second chance they deserve. To participate in this exciting opportunity, please call Stephanie Kelly at 941-962-4090 or send an email to: stephanie.k9@gmail.com

Are you ready to give a forever home to a wonderful pet? Look no further because we have the dog or cat of your dreams right here at Animal Services. Check our website at www.mymanatee.org/pets or visit our shelter in Palmetto or our Downtown Adoption Center in Bradenton today.

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.

Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Bradenton Herald. For information, call 941-742-5933.

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