The DeSoto Heritage Festival Grand Parade was great Saturday night.
We had fun throwing beads to children and adults alike, cheering for those glossy strings of round balls.
"Beads, beads, beads," was the chant from the crowd through the entire parade route. Our No-Kill train, with "Get on Board with No Kill Manatee County" as the theme, was set up to promote our efforts.
The parade route sidelines appeared more crowded than last year, making it more fun for the Animal Services staff and volunteers on the train and walking the entire route.
Even Shane and Janet Smith, founders of Paws for Hope and Faith, rode on the train, on their final day after a week of networking our sheltered pets into forever homes.
It's far from over.
Even though the Smiths have moved on and the parade is over for another year, our goal toward becoming a no-kill community is still in full swing.
We are so close.
With continued assistance and partnership from the Humane Society of Manatee County, Bishop Animal Shelter, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Gulf Shore Animal League, Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch, Animal Network and Manatee County Animal Services, we will give every dog and cat a second chance. Without partners, various rescue organizations, all the citizens in this great community, wonderful volunteers, our other no-kill supporters and the staff at Animal Services, none of this would be possible.
We are proud of our achievements and accomplishments.
So where do we go from here?
We will keep pushing forward, making sure everyone looking for a new pet knows dogs and cats are available. "Don't shop, adopt" is still the saying that should stick in your mind.
Pets need people and people need pets. Every citizen within this community and beyond needs to adopt a sheltered dog or cat, giving each one of these animals a second chance to live and love.
It's time to announce something I am sure most of you have been wondering about: "What ever happened to Axel?"
Well, we have the answer. Everyone is invited to see Axel at Animal Services at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Palmetto. While Axel has had a long road to recovery, we are now announcing his availability for adoption. Applications for his adoption will be accepted and that special someone will have a chance to give Axel a forever home.
Axel has fully recovered after being struck in the head with an axe-type object. Then Axel went through heartworm treatments to rid him of the potentially fatal disease. Axel also received extensive training, and has been living with his trainer through his recovery. The trainer worked one-on-one with Axel to bring out the best in him.
Axel is excited, I am sure, to be able to finally settle down into the forever home where he will be loved.
Join us Wednesday, even if it's just to say hello to Axel. Check out our shelter while you are here, too. Who knows, you may just find that special dog or cat you can't live without.
Watch for coming events and adoption specials. Don't forget the ongoing BOGO special where you can adopt a dog or cat at the regular adoption fee and get a dog or cat for no adoption fee.
I and the staff at Animal Services thank you, all of you!
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.
Our web site mymanatee.org/pets, has a wealth of information, including your new family member for adoption. Or call 941-742-5933 for information.
Kris Weiskopf, chief of Manatee County Animal Services, writes this weekly column for the Herald.