One year later and new facility pushed to limit

Published 5:53 pm Saturday, August 2, 2014

By Carey Sharp

Mower County Humane Society

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost one year since the MCHS moved to its new location. In that time, the population at the shelter has increased dramatically. The new facility was not intended to house a significantly higher number of animals. Unfortunately, the number of homeless cats and dogs needing safe haven has hit an all time high. Volunteers are caring for more than 150 cats and over 30 dog at this time.

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In the past, the majority of the dogs that entered the shelter were fairly young. Most of them were around one to three years of age. They were past the cute puppy stage but not quite fully mature. This age dynamic seems to altered a bit in recent months.

Dog side volunteers have noticed a sad trend developing. There has been a sharp increase in the number of older dogs entering the shelter. It’s not unusual to see mature dogs, over the age of five or six, finding themselves homeless. One such dog was even dumped at the shelter’s front door in a pet porter recently. The sadness in the eyes of these older dogs is heart wrenching. They should be spending their “twilight years” in the comfort of a home, not starting over at a shelter.

The increase in the number of senior dogs at the shelter is even more upsetting. Dogs that are over 10 years old are finding their way to the shelter with more frequency. Many of these elders are hearing and sight impaired. Some have arthritis and other ailments that are common with old age. The reason that they ended up at the shelter might never be known. Perhaps they wandered off and were unable to find their way home. Maybe they were dumped by people unable or unwilling to care for them as their infirmities increased.

It is difficult to find people willing to take on an older dog, especially one that is entering its senior years. Adopting and loving a dog that might have only a few years left is a huge emotional investment. The return on this investment is enormous, however. It’s measured in love and gratitude.

The MCHS is gearing up for the annual “Walk for Animals.” This year’s event will be held on Sun., Sept. 7. Please note that there is a big change this year. The event will not be held at the Mill Pond in Austin. Because of ongoing construction, it will be held at the Shirley Theel Park in Austin. The location might be different, but the fun will remain the same. The MCHS truly appreciates the support of the community. Please call 507437-9262 for more information.