‘It’s a lifetime commitment’: Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana discusses holiday adoptions
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Courtney Wingate, director of the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana, says 2021 was a great year in terms of adoptions, especially compared to the prior year.
“This past year has been great. We have actually seen an influx of adoptions,” Wingate said. “Even though people are starting to get back to work, they still want to adopt, which is great for all the little ones who need a home. 2020 was a hard year for us, not only financially, but we had a lot of owners surrender their pets. People were losing their jobs and they had no way to make ends meet, much less for their furry friends. Even though we saw an upswing of adoptions because people were home and could play with their dogs and could walk them, we saw a large number of owners surrender as well due to the pandemic.”
While the Humane Society only has a handful of dogs available for adoption now, they also have around 45 other dogs that are being taken care of. The shelter is waiting for them to get healthy before putting them up for adoption.
Around the holidays, there’s typically an influx of pet adoptions. Wingate wants to remind people of the responsibilities of becoming a pet owner.
“Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment,” Wingate said. “Chihuahuas, for example, can live up to 20 years, so you have to think long-term. Financially, emotionally, physically, adopting a pet should not be a rash decision. It needs to be a family decision. We also recommend not getting pets just for the kids. Eventually the kid is going to have playdates, go out with friends, and be gone all the time, go off to college and the parents will be the ones who end up taking care of the puppies when they get to their adult and senior years. We want to make sure it is a family decision and everyone can understand this is a lifetime commitment.”
She also understands taking care of a pet might not be for everyone.
“Unfortunately, some dogs just don’t work out,” said Wingate. “Life happens and we understand that, so when somebody does adopt a dog from us, we make it very clear that if something happens to please return the dog to us if you can no longer keep him or her. We are here for these babies for life. Sometimes they adopt the dog and then two weeks later, the other dog in the house doesn’t get along, so they bring them back. We can work with them to see if they want another dog that might mesh a little better.”
Six years ago, the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana started a sponsored stocking program for the dogs that would be in the shelter over the holidays.
“We can’t give the dogs here a couch or a bed in our house, but what we can do is provide them with toys and treats,” Wingate said. “So we decided to do stocking stuffers. Families can sponsor a dog for Christmas and they can come drop off goodies for that pet and on Christmas morning. We dispense all the toys and treats to all the dogs. We take videos and pictures of them enjoying their gifts from ‘Santa Paws.’”
While all the dogs have now been sponsored, Wingate says there’s still time to make donations before Christmas if anyone is interested.
“We could also use bleach, laundry detergent, Dawn dish soap,” Wingate said. “For the little guys here, they love treats. We could never have enough toys because they like to demolish them sometimes. Just anything you think your pet at home might like, these guys would like it too.”
If there is a pup you still want to get a gift for, you can go to the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana’s Facebook page and comment under the pup’s pic you’d like to buy gifts for this Christmas. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on your chosen pup to find out about their likes and needs.
DONATION DROPOFF DETAILS
- Donations can be dropped of daily from 9 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.
- Donations should be brought to 2544 Linwood Ave.
- Donations should be addressed to your sponsored dog
If the dog is adopted before Christmas, the stocking and gifts goes home with them.
She says they are hopeful going into 2022.
“We are so excited to still be here,” Wingate said. “Next year marks 25 years we have been in the area. We’ve made a big difference in the lives, not just of the dogs, but we have been making a difference in humans’ lives too. When we can take in their surrenders and take that stress off them by letting them know they are coming to a good place. For families that adopt, we are giving them a lifetime companion. We are just so grateful to be here through the donations. That’s the only way we survive.”
Click here for more information about the shelter.
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