Tricia (my 12-year-old) and I worked at Alabama Animal Adoption today. We have been volunteering there a little over a year, loving on cats and dogs one afternoon a month in the hope that they will be adopted by loving families. Animal Adoption is not a shelter; it’s only open on weekends, and most of the animals spend their weeks with owners or foster families. They are usually much better socialized than the animals at the Humane Society and other shelters that have no choice but to warehouse the animals in their care.
Tricia is almost magical with the animals. She will sit with a scared cat or dog for as long as it takes to calm it (this is not typical of her interactions with her parents and sisters). I tell her she should be a veterinarian, but she’s not sure she could handle the blood and guts. It’s amazing to watch her.
Last year, we fostered a precious dog named Betsy. She is a beautiful mix of Irish setter and Boykin spaniel, and she had been living at a vet’s office for nine months before she came to us. She had become standoffish, and even though she was the perfect size for many of the people who came in looking for a dog, no one had shown any interest. After a month of living with us and our menagerie (three dogs and a cat at the time), she found a great home. Last month, we volunteered to foster a gorgeous kitten who is now a member of the family. She is very loving and fun to have around — except when she decides it’s playtime at 3:00 in the morning.
If you live in the Birmingham area and you’ve been looking for an animal companion, drop by Animal Adoption or check out the website. And if you have animals already, make sure they are spayed or neutered and get regular vet care. Animals can cheer us up, lower our blood pressure, and comfort us when we’re lonely or sad. They are great companions. I wouldn’t trade ours for anything, although I would like to get back all the shoes our puppy has eaten in the last year.