(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) Throughout October, animal rescue organizations across the United States participated in National-Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.
In October of 2009, “Yaya” was homeless. The two-year old small, multi-colored terrier was sick and scared. She lay in her cold, metal prison cell as the clock ticked. It seemed Yaya would never leave the shelter.
Rob and Cathy Maple had not even been looking for a dog. They had been married 33 years and raised three boys but had never owned a dog.
“I always tease her,” said Rob Maple, owner of Yaya, who is now named Macy Gray, “I always tease her that her real name is Lucky because I really am not sure how much time she had left.”
“Yaya”, or Macy, was one of the hundreds of dogs in the United States to find a forever home during Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.
According to the Humane Society of the United States Annual Report, approximately 2.7 million healthy dogs are not adopted each year, and only about 30% of dogs in homes come from shelters and rescues.
“The purpose of the month is to bring awareness to shelter dogs all around,” said Great Plains Chief Communications Officer Rachel Hodgson. “October is generally a slower adoption month, so this celebratory theme helps draw attention at a time when it’s really needed.”
According to Hodgson, Great Plains SPCA, Kansas City Metro’s most inclusive No Kill animal welfare organization, had different specials every week.
“Every day of the month we had a featured dog that was fee-waved for that day only,” Hodgson said. “We had a very successful adoption month.”
Great Plains SPCA was established in 2011 after Animal Haven and No More Homeless Pets Kansas City, two Kansas City animal welfare groups, merged. Great Plains serves more than any other agency in the area, helping 30,000 pets in need each year.
According to its webpage, the mission of the organization is “to save, protect and improve the lives of animals, while strengthening the relationship between pets and their human companions.”
Great Plains teamed up with Wayside Waifs and the Kansas City Pet project to host the second annual Mega Match-A-Thon October 18-20. The Mega Match-A-Thon is the largest event of Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog month in the Kansas City area, as well as the area’s largest animal adoption event of the year.
Promoted through its website, Facebook and news spots, the shelters set a goal to find homes for 700 animals. The Mega-Match-A-Thon not only met, but exceeded its goal and found homes for 777 homeless animals.
“In the three days that were the Mega Match-A-Thon, we had 365 pets adopted,” said Hodgson, “that’s a major weekend for us.”
During the event, all pets had $25 adoption fees. Every adopted pet was spayed or neutered, given age appropriate vaccinations, as well as a collar and permanent microchip identification before going to their new home.
Every day, shelters across the nation overflow with homeless dogs. Hodgson of Great Plains SPCA believes shelter dogs sometimes have a stigma that they’re broken, when they are just wonderful dogs who have lost their way.
“Most have been with families and for one reason or another had to come to a shelter to find a new family,” said Hodgson. “Shelter dogs are truly incredible.”
While October was an incredibly successful month for animal adoptions across Kansas City and the recognized month to adopt a shelter pet is over, rescue organizations encourage people to always consider adopting a shelter dog.
“We truly need the community’s support to continue our lifesaving mission,” said Hodgson. “We need heroes-Adopt. Donate. Volunteer.”