The Vero Beach and Indian River County Humane Society is so much more than a shelter. They are lovers of animals and teachers of the community. The Humane Society is committed to finding homes for all pets in their care and also teaching the public how to put them out of business. If we as the community were more in tune with our practice with our animals, there would be no need for them. But it is a long teaching process and as of now the Humane Society is very busy.
Upon entering the facility you are greeted by volunteers to help you define what you are looking for. Do you want a puppy, an older dog, a lounging cat or a lop eared rabbit? Any pet that is legal to own in the United States is accepted by the facility. As of now they have dogs, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits and birds. All need homes and to be loved.
My first stop was for my education. Janet Winikoff is the Director of Education for the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian River County. Janet runs programs to educate children and adults on the importance of spaying and neutering. I was shocked at the numbers. She teaches that if you have two cats that are not spayed or neutered in 7 years, if all off spring survive there will be 42,000 cats roaming around. The number for dogs is amazing also, in 6 years there will be 67,000 most of which will be without a home or love. According to Janet there are 10 main reasons why you should spay and neuter your pet. It is very persuasive and makes a lot of sense.
“1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is about 50 percent fatal in dogs and 90 percent fatal in cats
2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months .
3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat. Cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat for to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they will yowl and urinate more frequently.
4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to fine a mate. Once he is free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
7. It is highly cost effective. The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter.
8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
9. Your pet does not need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children, especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters.
10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.”
Janet’s words running through my head it was time to meet some of the animals waiting to have a family to love and to love them.
I was introduced to Caylen, a 14 year old volunteer at the facility. Caylen being home schooled, made a decision two years ago to be a part of the solution. She has seen animals in the shelter up to 6 months and wants nothing more than for the animals to find a loving home to go home to. Caylen wanted me to meet some of her friends, the furry ones.
My first introduction was to Rosco, a three year old Bloodhound. It was his second time at the shelter. This time he had been there for 3 weeks. We laughed at his silly demeanor and the fact that no matter how he tried he could not keep his ears out of his water or food dish. He was friendly and playful and loved being scratched. He is a very large dog so would be best in a family with children over seven years, he is also good with other pets.
Next Caylen brought in Nibbler. He was a 6 month old Jack Russell mix. He has been at the shelter for six weeks. He is very active and enjoyed playing with Caylen who was on the floor with him. He, being very active and a little skittish needs to be in a family with children over 7, but will be good with other pets.
Our last meeting was with Berry an 8 year old Jack Russell who has been there for 3 weeks. He was given up and is scared where he is. He was friendly but really wanted to lay down and hide. He needs to be a single pet in an adult household.
It wasn’t enough to see three animals so I walked through the kennels to meet some of the others. In the first kennel I saw a head pop up, Koa a one year old Sheppard mix wanted to say hello. He is very active needs space, and lots of exercise. His ideal home would be with children 7 and be a single pet. He is a lover and wants attention.
The next kennel had Sally a four month old beagle hound mix, and Macy a pit mix. Both happy to say hi, but Sally will be all alone next week. Macy has been adopted. Good for Macy, but now it is Sally’s turn. She is active and needs attention and exercise. Her best household would be with adults and children over 7 years.
Next was Chief, a four year old Hound mix. He was just lounging on his bed, it was an effort to say hi, it was his nap time!
I heard a ruckus going on next door, there I found Jonathan, a four month old terrier mix, who looked something like a brillo pad. He was so happy to see me, he practically jumped 6 feet in the air. He was friendly and playful and ready to go home with me!
As I thought of how I would take everyone home with me, I left the kennels and wandered to the cats play area. The heart strings tugged again. I met Marmalade, a 5 year old orange tabby. She just wanted to curl up in my lap and help me relax. Marmalade also has a “buddy” . This is a program run by the Humane Society to help cats be adopted more easily, since they have so many. All fees have been paid for her. A benefactor has paid her adoption and medical fees. You can just take her home and love her. She is waiting for you.
They have kittens from 6 weeks to 10 year old cats. All need love and a home to be happy again.
The Humane Society needs more than just adoptions. They need volunteers to help with the animals and benefactors to help defer the costs of helping these animals. Anything will help. Please remember that these animals have been in loving homes and are now alone. They need a human to call their own. Any time or donation you can spare is greatly appreciated by the facility and especially by the animals.