Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Desperate for a human's undivided attention

His name is Bruce (left), and someone threw him into a fire.

At least that’s what staff members at the New Nodaway Humane Society’s animal shelter suspect. His feet were burned, the nails curled in, hair singed off and his face raw. Through the shelter’s loving care and dedication, he is healing, and along with 100 other feline friends at the shelter, he will be available for adoption for half-price in early December.

Due to the generosity of several area veterinarians, the humane society will offer a reduced adoption price of $35 for each cat and kitten at the shelter, manager Cindy Nelson said.

“This means the Nodaway Humane Society might have to absorb some extra costs, but the main objective is to get these animals out of cages and into good homes with people who care about them,” she said.

The $35 fee – half of the regular $70 cost – includes spaying or neutering, vaccinations, worming and an ID microchip in case the animal is lost. Animals can be adopted for the special price from Tuesday, Dec. 1, through Saturday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec. 8, through Saturday, Dec. 12, at the animal shelter located at 829 S. Depot St., Maryville.

A few of the cats have special needs, said Marlene Thompson, a volunteer who spends a lot of time with the shelter’s animals and loves each as her own.

“There’s Cheeto, who is deaf and will make someone a great pet. He just gets scared because he can’t hear what’s going on, poor thing,” she said. “There’s also Pixel, who is missing a hind foot. Like we humans, some of these cats have challenges to face, but they are very loving.”

While there is no national standard for reporting animal euthanasia, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that more than 4 million dogs and cats – including more than 70 percent of all cats that enter shelters – are destroyed each year.

The Nodaway Humane Society’s animal shelter is the area’s only no-kill facility and chooses to focus on saving lives and preventing litters. Members believe each and every animal deserves a second or third chance and only euthanizes an animal due to health reasons or if it’s deemed dangerous to others, Nelson said.

That means the shelter is often full, and many of the animals have spent months waiting in small cages. Future goals include a low-cost spay/neuter clinic and a feral cat program, which encourages the rescue and neutering of animals that are then returned to their natural environment. Until then, the shelter looks for inventive ways to encourage the adoption of the multitude of animals in its care.

“Our dedicated shelter staff members work extremely hard to make sure our animals are well-taken care of,” she said. “Because of overpopulation in our community, our shelter is full. We cannot euthanize to simply make room like other shelters do.”

Nodaway Veterinary Clinic, SouthPaws Veterinary Clinic and Francis Veterinary Services are helping make the event possible by spaying and neutering the cats at a greatly reduced rate. The Nodaway Humane Society hopes the event will help reduce its operational costs associated with caring for 100 cats and almost 70 dogs each day. This includes food, litter, medicine and vet bills.

“If you already own a pet, then you can imagine how expensive it is to take care of 170 of them,” Nelson said.

The advantages to choosing a shelter pet are many, including the chances it is house-trained, friendly around children and other pets and incredibly loving and thankful for a second chance. The knowledgeable shelter staff can help people pick out the animal that is right for them and their families, Nelson said.

“Meeting an animal in person is a great way to understand its personality. However, we understand visiting a shelter can be sad for some people,” Nelson said. “While our shelter is clean and the animals are well-taken care of, it’s difficult to see these sweet animals in cages. They are scared, lonely and desperate for a human’s undivided attention. If it’s hard to take in, we invite anyone to look at our Web site and view the animals for adoption. It can help narrow down your choice before you arrive.”

The NNHS animal shelter is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 1 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed to the public on Sundays and Mondays.

The NNHS animal shelter provides temporary sanctuary for lost or abandoned pets and provides education about pet care and owner responsibility. For more information or to view animals available for adoption, please contact the animal shelter at (660) 562-3333 or log onto

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