The Oxford Eagle
As the year comes to a close, the Oxford Lafayette Humane Society is working diligently to find safe homes for numerous cats and dogs in the Oxford community. Families, individuals, and students are flocking to the OLHS to find the perfect companion to complete their homes.
Alexandra Ware, a junior psychology major from Biloxi, 20, said adopting her first dog was an experience she’ll never forget.
“I guess you can say that it was love at first sight,” Ware said. “When I arrived at the shelter, I had no idea what kind of dog I was looking for. I looked around for a while, but I could not find one that stood out to me. I decided to take one last look before leaving, and found the perfect puppy for me hiding in the corner of his kennel.”
Ware said she has loved dogs since she was a child, but it was not until she moved to Oxford and began living alone, that she decided it was time to own one herself. She realized that it would not be an easy task to care for an animal while in school, however she was willing to accept the challenge.
“Moving out, and living alone can be very scary and lonely at times,” she said. “But with my dog, Tino, here with me, I feel safer. He alerts me if he hears any unusual sounds around the house, and he is always the perfect entertainment.”
According to the OLHS, there are approximately 70 million cats and dogs lost, abandoned or unwanted in the United States. About 7 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters, and of that, only about 5 million are adopted and placed in safe homes.
“I chose to adopt from Humane Society, because after researching the organization and learning about what some of the animals at the shelter had to go through, I really wanted to help at least one somehow,” Ware said. “I could have easily taken an alternate route and purchased a puppy some other way, but I feel better knowing that I helped an animal in need.”
Located at 413 McElroy Drive, the OLHS cares for an abundance of different animals without homes. The shelter strives to better the lives of stray animals and provided them with the care that they desire until placed in a more permanent home.
The OLHS has dedicated workers like Blake Brown, who has worked at the shelter for almost three years. Brown said he was motivated to work there because of his passion for animals.
“The best part about working here is seeing so many animals being adopted,” Brown said. “We have some that come in from bad situations, and they get to go home with kids and families and are no longer out on the streets.”
Ware said she was originally concerned adopting from the shelter.
“I was worried that I would choose a dog with a rough past, and that it would be very aggressive or not adapt well to a new environment,” Ware said. “I was very fortunate to have picked a very sweet and loving puppy who transitioned very well.”
Brown said in November, there were 101 adoptions, which was the lowest number the shelter has had all year. The most adoptions for this year was 172 animals in a month.
While several of the animals in shelters are able to find new homes, about 5 million animals are euthanized by United States shelters each year. Some animals do not even make it to the shelters. The number of animals that die each year due to cruelty, neglect, and exploitation is approximately 30 million.
“It saddens my heart to know that not every animal at the shelter will be adopted,” Ware said. If I could take all of them home, I probably would. Every animal deserves a loving home. I plan to someday soon adopt another dog from the shelter.”
The OLHS has a long term goal to continue to stay up and running, and to keep getting donations in order to provide for the animals at the shelter. This shelter is considered a private, nonprofit organization, which depends on volunteers, donations, and community fundraising.
“I strongly encourage others to share in my experience with adopting an animal from the shelter,” Ware said. “It will truly change your life. These animals just need love, attention, and a place to feel safe. Knowing that I helped a puppy without a home is the best feeling. Now I cannot imagine my life without him.”
To make a donation to the shelter, adopt an animal in need or serve as a volunteer visit Oxford- Lafayette Humane Society.