Local organizations hosted a pet adoption day event last Sunday at Eddie Lee's Macon Auto Sales on Lake Emory Road. Sunday's event was spearheaded by Kim Lee Stevenson of WNC Large Breed K-9 Rescue and included participation from the Macon County Humane Society and the Macon County Animal Control. The event was deemed the first annual Homeless Adoption Event.
Overall, nine dogs were adopted and two cats were fostered. The Macon County Humane Society will host another adoption day in April.
Tammy Sigler, volunteer with Macon County Animal Control who has been helping with adoption days with her husband Ken, noted one occurrence in particular that was heartfelt when a couple adopted two puppies, a brother and sister, so that the twins they were expecting soon would each have a dog.
“My husband and I have been doing these adoptions for them around town and every time we have an adoption, I can't count the amount of people who are shocked that animal control adopt animals out,” said Sigler. “They don't recognize that as an adoption center. I hope people will realize that it's an adoption center too.”
Local merchants were also instrumental in the adoption day. Businesses like Wal-Mart and Ingles gave monetary donations. Pet Stop Pet Store, Smoky Mountain Pets, Smoky Mountain Bicycles, and the Beauty Shop donated items or gift certificates for a raffle that also helped the organizations raise a little extra cash.
Dr. Lenzo of Lenzo Animal Hospital also donated $150 worth of pet products for a silent auction that was won by Chris Shaw of Macon Rentals.
Members of the community who came out to visit with Macon County's furry friends, gave donations for different causes and needs within the three animal organizations. Part of the donations taken up on Sunday are earmarked for a dog suffering from heart-worms. An anonymous donor made a hundred dollar donation that will go to Dr. Lenzo for the dog's treatment.
According to Todd Ortiz with the Macon County Humane Society, its important that people know about the shelter. “We've been finding homes for stray and abandoned animals and helping sick animals,” said Ortiz. “We help reduce the population of stray dogs and cats in Macon County by spaying and neutering. In the 15 years I've been here, we've spayed and neutered probably 16,000 animals.”
The Macon County Humane Society has been participating in these events for many years. It has been operating since 1962 and since its inauguration, there have been enough adoption days to lose count, said Ortiz. While the theme and planning process for the adoption events may have changed, the purpose of the events have always remained the same: to find forever homes for pets in need in the community. Sunday's event featured one dog that had been saved from a house fire that resulted in the tenant going on to live in a nursing home. As a result of the accident, the tenant haf to leave her three dogs behind, and they ended up in local shelters. The other two had already been adopted out and the last one calmly awaited a new owner as a young passer-by rubbed her head softly.
Most of the animals in need of being adopted have been abandoned or rescued by citizens. Just like people, the animals that end up in the shelter make new friends and form relationships with each other. Two dogs in particular stood out because they were so fond of each other that Kim Lee of WNC Large Breed K-9 Rescue sincerely hoped that the dogs would be adopted together. They had been abandoned by their owner, who had moved away and asked a neighbor to kill them. When Lee's organization obtained the two canines, they were only days away from dying as a result of heartworms. Though they were not adopted on Sunday, Lee is confident that the right owner will come along and give the deserving pups a home of their own.
“If you ban together and you help each other, you're going to get so much more done,” said Lee. “Everybody can do so much, but if you get together and do it, there's just strength in numbers.”
For those who may not be able to adopt pets, the organizations also conducts a foster program so that people can take a dog or cat home and care for them until somebody comes along who wants to take the pet permanently. This allows for animals to get out of the shelter and become more socialized in the hopes that it will eventually make them more adoptable.