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Wanted: Loving homes

Rhonda Costa
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal
NEVADA APPEAL | NEVADA APPEAL

Shammay got the “Lucky Dog” prize Tuesday.

A 7-year-old bloodhound that has been at the Douglas County Animal Shelter for nine months, Shammay has a new home with Gene Gregg and his son, Charles Gregg, from San Bernardino, Calif.

“I’m looking for a dog that eats and sleeps, eats and takes a nap,” Gene Gregg said. “That’s my kind of dog.”

The Greggs were introduced to Shammay by Cherie Owen, founder and member of Douglas Animal Welfare Group, who had just returned with Shammay from an hour-long walk and run.

“He’s a real good boy,” she said as she kissed him on the nose and played with his big black ears. “I think you’ll be real happy with him.”

Charles Gregg said they’re probably going to call him Sammy.

“You’re going to a real cool place,” Charles said to Sammy as he too played with his ears. “You’ll be able to run and be free in a real big yard.”

Sammy’s adoption is a happy ending for the volunteers of DAWG. His stay of nine months is a bit longer than what most dogs spend in the shelter.

October is Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month, and several agencies are helping local shelters bring their dogs to the community through various events. In Carson City, the Carson Tahoe SPCA has teamed up with Carson City Animal Services to host a low-cost animal adoption from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 11-12 at PetSmart, 250 Fairview Drive.

“The group is modeling themselves after DAWG in Douglas County, which has been a fantastic group for the Douglas County Animal Shelter,” said Pat Wiggins, animal control supervisor.

In an effort to recruit more volunteers, Carson City will hold a volunteer day at the shelter on Oct. 18 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with free balloons and coloring books for the kids.

Wiggins said they are also in contact with Dog Town Canine Rescue, which places dogs in foster homes while they are trying to be adopted out.

Mary Ann Marubashi and husband, Jerry Harrington, of Carson City, adopted Shadow, a flat-coated retriever mix from Dog Town about a year ago, and also became a foster home for dogs through Dog Town Canine Rescue.

“We’re both retired and decided we had extra time and thought we’d give fostering a try,” Marubashi said. “We’ve already had six dogs in the last year.”

Marubashi said they bring the dog into the home, socialize it and try to give them house manners.

“It’s like having a new puppy every two months,” she said. “It’s not easy giving them up, but you realize you can’t keep them all. There is satisfaction knowing you’ve found them a good home and you can help others.”

Janet Duzan, animal services and care supervisor in Douglas County, said they mainly utilize DAWG, but work with other rescue groups on certain breeds.

“Truthfully, DAWG does an amazing job,” Duzan said. “If not for them, we would not be in the position we’re in to be a low-kill shelter.

“The reason we don’t say no-kill, is if there’s a health issue or a behavior issue, we do sometimes have to euthanize. But we never euthanize for space. And that’s due to DAWG.”

DAWG president Laura Winking said community presence has helped their efforts tremendously. They also hold fundraisers and apply for grants. The money is used to spay or neuter the dogs, vaccinate and microchip them.

Established in 2001, DAWG has about 70 active volunteers who are at the shelter working with the dogs 365 days a year ” including holidays.

“We ask the volunteer be at least 16 years of age, due to liability,” Winking said. “Volunteers work with dogs on a daily basis to get them more comfortable around humans and other animals.

“We even have a couple of ‘dog whisperers’ as I like to call them, who are just amazing with the dogs. We have some fantastic volunteers.”

DAWG’s Annual Shelter Event is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at the Douglas County Animal Shelter, and offers with each adoption free spay or neuter of adult dogs and cats, free training, free microchipping and a free pizza card.

“We have orientation for the volunteers,” said Trish Vandershuis, vice president of DAWG. “And a mentor program so volunteers can learn to work with certain dogs, for safety.

Wiggins said adopting a dog is important so they are safer and not running at-large, which makes the community safer.

“We have 36 kennels and we’re full year-round,” he said. “We do not put dogs down due to time limits.”

Wiggins said to make their foster program a success more volunteers are needed as are foster homes and monetary donations.

“We need a good base of volunteers to run a foster program, and it’s totally up to the foster home how long they want to keep an animal,” he said.

Lorayn Walser, founder of Dog Town Canine Rescue, said it is donations that keep them running, as well as grants. They are trying to expand their services into Fernley.

– Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.