by Susan Mikula Campbell
Like a proud parent, I can't help but brag about my success with adopting a pet at the SPCA. Finnegan, of course, is taken, but there are many more dogs and cats waiting to be your new best friend.
Stop by the SPCA of Niagara at 2100 Lockport Road, Wheatfield; call 716-731-4368; or go online at www.niagaraspca.org to find out more about adopting, fostering, sponsoring, volunteering or donating to a good cause.
Adoption fees vary, primarily depending on the type and age of the animal. The fee includes spaying or neutering of the animal, appropriate vaccinations, microchip insertion, a free veterinary exam and 30 days pet health insurance.
Check the Tribune's classified section. The adoption fee is halved for SPCA pets featured there. The SPCA also often offers special promotions.
For December, fees were waived, and 168 dogs and cats found new homes for the holidays.
Andrew Bell, SPCA executive director, called it "the most successful adoption month ever in the history of the shelter."
The SPCA of Niagara, with a new board of directors and new management, has been working hard to become a "no kill" shelter and erase the bad image created just a year ago when protestors walked outside the facility upset by the shelter's high kill rate and euthanasia methods. The 99 percent December save rate made it three straight months the shelter has bettered the no kill benchmark of 90 percent.
"I think we can officially say we are a no kill shelter now," Bell said.
Bell credited the hard work of the SPCA staff and the support of the community in making this happen.
Lauren Zaninovich, SPCA lobby supervisor, told me I'm too late to bring a thank-you dog biscuit to Elliott, the 11-year-old black lab mix that helped me decide to adopt Finnegan. Happily, Elliott was adopted last month, and his new owner is so pleased, he wrote a letter to shelter director Amy Lewis saying so.
Zaninovich points out that older animals make good pets too, and the fee for dogs over the age of 10 and cats over the age of 8 is always waived.
Bell said the shelter still has a fair mix of dog breeds available for adoption.
Anyone interested in a particular breed, size or age of animal can make a special request to be notified if one comes into the shelter. Potential owners also can pay $30 to put a temporary hold on an animal while they make a decision. That fee is credited to the adoption fee if the adoption goes through.
Don't wait too long, however. The shelter may be no kill now, but more and more people are discovering that the SPCA is a good place to find a pet.
"Animals are moving in and out quite quickly these days," Bell said. "The Finnegans of the world don't last long here at the shelter."