Treat Your Family to a 4-Legged Gift 15

Dogs and cats from local animal 
shelters MAKE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFTS.

According to the ASPCA, approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year (1.6 million dogs and 1.6 million cats). And with the holiday season upon us, many people will be giving or receiving pets as gifts for themselves or loved ones. It’s within that spirit that adopting an abandoned or rescued animal becomes all the more meaningful. So we turned to several local animal rescue experts, the people with big hearts and – quite often – little wallets, to give us a little insight into why it is so important to consider adopting shelter animals when welcoming a new pet into your home.

LAVONNE REDFERRIN

Director and Founder of Proverbs 12:10 Rescue

Franklin Lifestyle: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career as a rescue manager?

Lavonne Redferrin: The most rewarding aspect of rescue is seeing the total life change that rescued pets experience. Months, even years after a pet is adopted, we get follow up emails, letters, and pictures with them thriving in their homes. There is simply nothing more energizing or rewarding.

FL: What’s the greatest challenge faced by your rescue and how do you deal with it?

LR: Keeping funds flowing to meet the many needs we are asked to help with is a huge challenge. It really is a nonstop effort to raise the monies needed.

FL: What would you want to change about the adoption process?

LR: If I could change one thing, it would be having enough staff and volunteers to do follow-up home visits on every pet adopted.

ABBY SMYERS

Animal Rescue Volunteer and Advocate

Franklin Lifestyle: Why are you so devoted to the cause of rescue animals?

Abby Smyers: My husband and I became involved with Proverbs after we met our first rescue, Joy. A coworker was fostering her and we fell in love and ended up adopting her. My husband (Dan Smyers of country music duo, Dan + Shay) used adoptable Proverbs dogs in one of his music videos and we had a donation registry at our wedding. It is a huge part of our lives.

FL: How has volunteering improved your health and outlook?

AS: We always say that there is nothing better than watching an adoption in action. Seeing a long line at the adoption table on a Saturday is so fulfilling, especially when it’s an older dog or a dog with a pretty heartbreaking backstory. Knowing they are going to a home where they will be loved and cherished is a really amazing feeling.

FL: How many animals do you personally have/have had?

AS: We have three dogs currently, Chief, Joy and Ghost, all rescues from Proverbs. We have fostered probably 10-15 dogs for Proverbs over the last few years and I have had dogs my whole life.

LAURA CHAVARRIA

Director, Williamson County Animal Center

Franklin Lifestyle: What can a family expect when they adopt a pet from Williamson County Animal Center?

Laura Chavarria: All of our animals are behavior assessed prior to going to the adoption floor. They are also fully examined by our in-house veterinarian. We want folks to feel confident that the animals they adopt are of sound health and behavior. The animals that are here did not choose to come to the shelter. They are innocent in this situation and should not be penalized for things that are outside of their control.

FL: How can people help the shelter?

LC: GET INVOLVED! We want our community to be proud of their county shelter. Come take a tour and see what is going on! DONATE. As a tax-funded facility, we rely heavily on donations to provide quality care. VOLUNTEER. We have over 30 active volunteers that donate more than 1000 hours a month. This equates to 8 full-time positions! FOSTER. We are constantly seeking fosters to help provide temporary loving homes for animals that are too young or too sick for adoptions. ADVOCATE. This means telling folks to adopt or get involved with us!

FL: Why should someone adopt from a shelter when they can get a pet for free in the newspaper or on Craigslist?

LC: Animals that are adopted from here are examined by a vet, microchipped, provided age appropriate vaccinations, and are behavior assessed. Our adoption fees are sometimes NO COST or $25. To get a pet with all of these assurances can put the adopter’s mind at ease where if you get a free animal you most likely don’t get these services included.