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Humane Society gives homes to unwanted pets

AMANDA BUTLER, Sierra Sun

When Laurie Brewer receives a call from Animal Control, she prays for a way to accommodate more animals.

Brewer is the president of Truckee’s Humane Society. Never one to turn away animals that would otherwise meet an untimely end, Brewer relies on a small set of foster families willing to take the pets until permanent homes can be found.

“Animal Control has 12 cages and we lease three kennels through the Sierra Pet Clinic,” said Brewer. “Sometimes that is simply not enough to handle the amount of pets Animal Control is bringing in.”

But kenneling is just a temporary solution. Dogs that have been caged for too long can become neurotic, making it almost impossible for the Humane Society to place them.

Finding dogs a temporary home is also important because many need serious training or socializing before they are fit for adoption.

That’s where volunteers like Terrie Moyer and Georgia Smith step in.

“It’s been a good experience,” said foster parent Terrie Moyer. “My husband and I both love animals. You do have some frustrating points, but you just have to work around them. It’s like having a child.”

Moyer has adopted two of the animals she has taken in, a hazard one has to be willing to accept when they go into the fostering business.

“There are some dogs that just pull at your heart. We had a dog that recently got adopted out, named Trickster. He just had this look about him, and you can’t help but to fall in love,” said Moyer.

Georgia Smith has had the same problem. She adopted two of the animals she fostered.

“It’s a great way to see if an animal you want to adopt will fit into your home,” said Smith.

But fostering is normally a temporary situation. Smith is currently fostering Wriley, a two or three-year-old shepherd mix who seems to be thriving outside of the kennel.

“Since I’ve been fostering a long time, I can pick out the ones that will get along well with our pets and the ones who really need to get out of a kennel,” said Smith.

Moyer and Smith are both active participants in the Humane Society. Moyer volunteers by walking the dogs and playing with the puppies left in kennels.

Smith has helped get funding for a low-cost spay and neuter program from the Truckee-Tahoe Community Foundation. The $2,000 grant enables any permanent resident of Truckee to have their pet spayed or neutered for no more than $50. She is also actively involved with Adoption Days, a chance for her to get her foster dogs adopted into a good home.

“Adoption Day is every other Sunday of the month,” said Smith. “We usually meet in Bank of America’s parking lot during the winter and Safeway’s lot during the summer.”

Smith likes being a part of Adoption Day because it gives her the chance to talk with prospective parents.

“It’s fun because I really know the dogs and I’m able to see who fits best in what situation,” said Smith.

But adopting out animals is tough work when you have so many. Although Truckee has one of the best ratios in the country of spayed and neutered pets, part of the overcrowding problem comes from a contract that Animal Control has with areas outside of Truckee, including Portola and Loyalton.

“We’ve done a great job getting people to spay and neuter their pets here in Truckee,” said Smith. “Hopefully we can get money to do the same kind of things in those other areas.”

Smith thinks debunking some of the myths surrounding spaying and neutering will help.

“We need to get people to understand that they are not doing their pets a favor by keeping them unaltered,” said Smith.

The facts seem to support Smith’s opinion. Having your dog spayed or neutered reduces the chances of them developing cancer. A female dog that has never been spayed has a one in four chance of being diagnosed with cancer. That number drops to one in 20 if she has been spayed at anytime during her life and one in 2,000, if she has been spayed before her first heat. Neutering also helps prevent testicular cancer.

“If we can get people to understand that and if we can provide them with low-cost options, we might be able to reduce the number of puppies we are taking in, that leaves more chances for older, abandoned or abused dogs to find a home,” said Smith.

For now people like Smith, Moyer and Brewer are left to continue doing what they’ve always done: help out in any way they know how.

“It never ceases to amaze me that however much these dogs have been abandoned or abused, they still come back to humans. Sure it might take a while but they still come back. Sometimes I wonder why,” said Moyer.

If you would like to get involved with the Humane Society as a foster, or want information about low-cost spaying or neutering you can contact the society at 587-5948.

There are also several dogs that will be available for adoption this Sunday in Bank of America’s parking lot. Smith is hoping to find her foster dog Wriley a good home.


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