MODESTO -- Sometimes all it takes to decide on adopting a pet is to see their sad eyes looking at you. All around the area, there are many adoption groups and shelters waiting to provide forever homes for good pets.
I have been a volunteer with the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency shelter on Cornucopia Way since 2011. Before that, I was a volunteer for a private adoption agency called the Dog House Rescue and Adoption. I also have two adopted dogs of my own, Lacey and Sandy.
Lacey, my 11-year-old Labrador and Sheltie mix, was turned over to a no-kill shelter on Christmas Day 2002. When we adopted her in April 2003, we had to help her overcome a neurosis before she adjusted to us.
Sandy, my 9-year-old Doberman and whippet mix, was rescued by the Dog House from another shelter in November 2007. I then fostered her for five months before my family officially adopted her.
Shelters and adoption agencies receive all sorts of pets. Whether they are mixed breed or purebred, these animals all wait for a new owner willing to give them a second chance at life. These recent adoptees from the Stanislaus animal shelter are outstanding examples of those waiting for their new home.
One of our most recent adoptions was Skip. A brindle Labrador and Plott hound mix, Skip came to the shelter on Nov. 14. He was described by his former owner as one who never barked at the door, who behaved well with other dogs, and was great on a leash. Whenever I saw him in his kennel, he was hopping around, waiting to go out on a walk. He finally found his good home on Dec. 20.
Love Pink was a Maltese whose ears and tail were dyed pink. Even before she became available, many of our customers asked about her after seeing her in the lost dogs section. On Nov. 15, within days of becoming available, Love Pink found a home. Now, she goes by the name Millie.
Jackie, another adoptee, was a 7-year-old Rottweiler. Despite her breed's bad reputation, she was a big, friendly girl. I took her out on a lot of walks, so that whenever she saw me, she was happy. Her adoption in October was satisfying indeed.
One of the most common comments from the customers has been, "I want to take them all home." Unfortunately, not every pet has a home. Even some pets who do get a home don't keep it forever.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 5 million to 7 million pets are turned in to shelters each year. Some 21,000 pets were turned in to the Stanislaus shelter last year, according to volunteer coordinator Mike Corcel. After they become available, the animals are given 30 days to be adopted. After that, they are given two weeks to be saved by a rescue group. If they can't find their way out, they are then euthanized.
Last year, 12,514 of the shelter animals were euthanized, according to a March 24 article in The Bee.
I have known quite a few adoptable pets, all good pets, that were euthanized because time ran out. Many more only escaped death at the last minute.
All of these pets are waiting for their second chance at life. If they are given that chance, they are sure to provide their new owners with many happy years. All it takes is a lot of time and patience before that adoption pays off.
Boyer, a Modesto, resident, is a volunteer with the Stanislaus animal shelter. Send questions or comments to email@example.com.