Two paws up for the local animal shelter

Published 10:14 am Monday, January 9, 2017

Our View

It’s not very often that you hear of someone leaving a large part of their estate – $1.2 million – to dogs and cats as an “everlasting gift.”
The most likely story is a shelter running over with dogs and cats who need a “forever” home. However, that’s just what Glenda Taylor DeLawder did. She loved her cats and dogs so much, she wanted her love and care of them to be her everlasting gift.
Her gift is already at work. The administrators of her estate have bestowed a gift of $540,000 to the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter to expand the dog and cat holding areas and to purchase a van to transport the shelter’s cats and dogs to off-site adoption events and to spay and neuter clinics. A groundbreaking for the shelter’s expansion was held this past week and construction is expected to begin Monday. The new van is expected to arrive by Mar. 1.
Mrs. Taylor was known to have taken animals in on her own and care for them At one time a family member noted that she had 32 animals in her house. Often she would try to find homes for them, but usually ended up taking care of them and calling them her own.
With her gift, the local animal shelter will be able to do things it never has, and the gift will certainly make life better for the animals cared for at the shelter.
Presently, the overall population of the shelter is down due to an “Empty the Shelter” event at the end of the year.
The goal of the shelter is to find new homes for all the animals it serve. It’s a worthy goal and one that Shelter Director Shannon Posada and her employees work toward all year long. We’re glad to see their hard work rewarded – and happy to think of all the cats and dogs scampering happily in their new homes with their new families. The shelter saw a record number of adoptions last year.
There are still too many irresponsible and/or ignorant pet owners out there who are the cause of unnecessary euthanization of these God-created creatures and add cost to the shelter operations.
According to the American Pet Products Association, it’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47 percent of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37 percent have a cat. Pets are now an integral part of many people’s lives. Dogs are seen as protectors and cats are companions.
It is now common for pet owners to schedule spa days for dogs and take them to day care. For some pet parents no extravagance is too much. Cat towers are extensively designed and interactive toys for dogs are trending. And research shows, as we age our relationship with our pets usually deepens. Often the elderly only have their pets for interaction and company. And more therapeutic animals are being used in airports and hospitals to relieve stress during trying situations. Animals have become an integral part of our lives and therefore their care and protection has become a big issue for communities.
We need animals in our lives as much as they need us, and the best animals are the shelter animals. It’s a second chance at love for both of you.
Here in Elizabethton we are lucky when it comes to our animal shelter. The shelter serves scores of citizens and hundreds of pets annually. We also thankful for the many volunteers who help with walking, feeding and socializing the animals.
The shelter performs multiple services for the community in addition to caring for strays, sheltering animals during times of natural disasters like fires or floods and handling animal cruelty cases. The shelter’s services have increased as demand has risen.
Most of the work done by our shelters is done quietly and with little or no fanfare. But the work is profound and critically important nonetheless. The people who work day in and day out on behalf of the voiceless deserve so much praise.
What would happen if we didn’t have an animal shelter? Imagine the scores of animals cared for in our shelter each year instead being abandoned to live on the streets or left as strays. The picture is not pretty and the ripple effect would be huge. The impacts on public health and safety would be immeasurable
If you get a chance, tell the shelter employees you appreaciate them. If you are looking for a pet, consider adopting one from the local animal shelter. If you are looking for something to do, think about volunteeing at the animal shelter.
Our animal shelter needs your support.

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