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Adoptathon put furry companions in spotlight

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Posted: Saturday, February 15, 2014 10:13 pm

A coalition of groups in Brownsville came together on Saturday to try to find “forever homes” for as many dogs as possible. 

The adoptathon, in partnership with PetSmart Charities, is meant to save as many homeless dogs as possible from being euthanized, said Shirley Wells, the treasurer for Brownsville Animal Defense, a local nonprofit animal advocacy group.

Although Saturday’s event was partly to celebrate National Adoption Weekend, Wells said every weekend on Saturday and Sunday her group is at PetSmart with dogs available for adoption.

“We want (the number of adoptions) to be higher,” Wells said.

According to Wells, when animals arrive at the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center, most of the dogs have just three days before they become eligible for euthanasia.

“We try to step in and pull them out before that,” Wells said.

Wells’s group fosters the animals until they can be adopted by someone in the community, she said.

The adoption fee for puppies is $135, and it costs $125 to adopt older dogs. Those fees cover spaying and neutering the animals as well as a microchip, Wells said.

By noon, seven dogs had found homes, Wells said.

“Puppies and smaller dogs are always easy,” Wells said. “It’s hard for older dogs.”

But for some families, older dogs prove to be advantageous because they’ve already been house-trained, she said.

For Jim Wallis and his wife, Caterina Scopacasa-Wallis, the time had come for them to get a dog to take on the road with them as they travel in their RV.

“We want a dog that travels well and is part of the family,” Wallis said. “Without it, it’s a void.”

The married couple, of Arkansas, had to put down their dog of 16 years over a year ago, and they said it was time to adopt another.

They chose a scruffy, bedraggled small dog named Harriet.

“You sure are hairy, alright, but I don’t know about ‘Harriet,’” Scopacasa-Wallis cooed at the little dog.

The name will have to change, she said.

“She has that shaggy look, but we see the potential,” Wallis said. “From her mannerisms, she’s a good dog.”

It’s been two years since Kay Esler had to say goodbye to her dog Crickett, who needed to be euthanized.

“I couldn’t look at another dog,” Esler said.

But, it’s time to find another companion dog, she said.

A small older cocker spaniel mix caught her attention, Esler said.

“Everyone wants a puppy, but the older ones need love, too,” Esler said. “It’s good for us. We are lucky to get her.”

The adoptathon will continue through today at the PetSmart parking lot from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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