Shelter Urges Adopters Not to Forget Pets With Special Needs

Clear the Shelters

When it comes to rescuing animals from a shelter, there are some pets that are often overlooked — those with special needs.

Trainers at a Chicago shelter say long-term dogs and cats often go unnoticed by many who come for the animals’ younger, more typical counterparts.

Joan Harris, the director of Paws Chicago’s Canine Behavior and Training, said adopters shouldn’t pass on long-term animals or those with special needs without giving them a chance.

“If you look at the specific environment, that’s why sometimes it takes a little bit longer for these dogs to get adopted, becuase we’re looking for that specific environment,” she said. 

Mattie, a lovable and energetic pit-lab mix who was in need of extra attention, sat at Paws Chicago for almost a year before she found a home willing to take her in.

It was all because a volunteer at the shelter dressed Mattie up in a tutu and walked her around Chicago. The outfit quickly gained attention on social media.

“We started walking up and down Armitage and through the streets of Chicago wearing her tutu,” said volunteer Mark Lucas. “And suddenly people who would step aside because ‘Let that big dog through’ were like ‘Oh my God she’s so cute. Can I say hello?’ And she was getting posted and everybody started talking about Mattie and this dog that was going through Chicago with her tutu and that kind of got the ball rolling.” 

That’s when Emma Turbyville came along and adopted Mattie.

“She’s just a sweetheart, really,” Turbyville said.

Lucas urges people to “come in with a clean slate.”

“Walk into the shelter and maybe ask about who is your longest-term guest and start there, because the shelter will have a wealth of knowledge about that animal,” he said.

For more information on Chicago-area shelters participating in NBC and Telemundo owned stations’ Clear The Shelters pet adoption campaign, click here

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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COMMON ITEMS YOU CAN DONATE



 
  • Towels and blankets - Shelters are often cold and animals like to have a blanket to curl up on. Towels are a big help to dry animals off after being bathed or if they come in wet. Towels can also be used to line the bottoms of cages. The towels or blankets don't have to be brand new or in perfect condition. The animals won't mind, as long as they're usable.
  • Canned and Dry Food for Cats and Dogs-Healthy - Healthy pet options for nourishment
  • Kitty litter and cat boxes - Cats go to the bathroom- a lot. Shelters are constantly using bag after bag of litter. Their supply runs out fast.
  • Puppy or kitten formula and nursing bottles - Sometimes there are situations where a young puppy or kitten who is not weaned gets separated from their mother. In these situations they need puppy or kitten formula to survive.
  • Old newspaper - When you're done with your newspapers you usually just throw them away or recycle them, right? You could help animals at no cost to you if you just save up your old newspapers. Newspapers are used in the bottoms of cages. They get soiled quickly, so they're in constant demand.
  • Collars, harnesses, and leashes - Dogs who are taken out on walks need a leash and collar or harness. The shelter loses some because adopted dogs often go home with their leash or harness.
  • Grooming supplies - Grooming supplies can include shampoo, brushes, combs, haircutting scissors, etc. Dogs and cats often come in dirty or end up getting dirty. Grooming supplies can keep them fresh, clean, and adoptable.
  • Toys - You would get bored if you had to lay in a crate alone all day, wouldn't you? Animals in shelters get bored, too. It keeps the animals from being so lonely and bored and allows them to get exercise. You could go out and buy new toys, or you could donate toys your pets or children may have not gotten much use out of. It's as simple as that.
  • Crates and carriers - Animals need to be transported somehow, and the cost of multiple crates and carriers can add up quickly. You can donate ones you stopped using that are still in good condition or you could go buy one for a decent price. This helps the shelter tremendously.
  • Paper towels and cleaning supplies - There are a lot of situations that get messy, so paper towels are a big help.
  • Hand wash and hand sanitizer - People who work at shelters need to keep their hands clean for their and the animals' health.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and bleach - Towels and blankets get soiled often so the washing machines are being used a lot
  • Dog and cat beds - this can offer the animals a soft place to lay instead of a kennel or cage floor.
  • Heating pads - Many animals come in cold or are young and need warmth. Heating pads can replace a mother's warmth.
  • Copy paper and pens, pencils, post-it notes and staples - You can't forget about all the paperwork that has to be done. Donating these items makes it so the shelter doesn't have to buy them on their own.
  • Garbage bags, mops, brooms, and sponges - The shelter uses these every day and clean up supplies can get expensive.
  • Food bowls - As new animals come in, the shelter needs new places to put food. Having an adequate supply could mean life or death for an animal in a shelter.
  • Rubber and latex gloves - A lot of messy stuff happens and gloves are necessary to lessen the spread of germs.
  • Plastic shopping bags - Plastic bags can be used to clean up dog mess and to store things in.

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