The Animal Rescue Center is seeing much good fortune these days, thanks to the hiring of a volunteer media coordinator, who has gone a long way to increase the number of adoptions at the no-kill shelter, officials there said.
Jerri Howard, ARC director, said the numbers are up since Tina Hager came on board in December with great qualifications, better ideas and a familiarity of the industry's software for animal shelters.
"She gets our name out there with different media outlets. WINK has come out here, we do the Fox Morning Blend every month, articles in the local papers to let people know we have fundraisers coming," Howard said.
Hager said 28 pets were adopted in April, many of them cats. But where the numbers will be in coming months can be hard to predict.
"It ebbs and flows. It depends on when people want pets. In March we didn't see much action at all," Hager said.
Hager has also gotten the word out about pets with special needs and trying to do what they can to save what they can, Howard said, adding that even after working years at ARC, many people still come and say they didn't know they existed.
Hager said those who want to adopt should go the shelter route, since they are less expensive and not from so-called "pet mills."
"There are enough unwanted pets and we have so many great pets in the shelter," Hager said. "These aren't bad animals, they're just victims of a bad circumstance and their owner had to surrender it, which is better than to let it go on the street."
The added help should come in handy as summer comes and the shelter becomes less busy due to vacations and the stormy weather.
ARC got a taste last summer when severe flooding caused it to close for a time. Only though the generosity of others' time and money was it able to reopen.
"If we get the flooding we had last year, we're absolutely going to get that out. We had a lot of people donate money to have French drains put into the alleyways in the dog villages to give the water a place to go," Howard said. "We were so thankful from the response we got."
As far as those who surrender their pets, Hager said they are full, with about 400 cats and between 60 and 65 dogs.
Howard said she is juggling things around to try to accommodate more, especially for the special needs animals, which they pretty much take in automatically.
Of course, the need of using the Lee County TNR (tarp-neuter-release) program becomes a crucial as ever to reduce the pet population, especially among cats.
Thankfully, ARC, Lee County Animal Services and the Gulf Coast Humane Society have joined forces. There will be a national event coming at the end of the month that the county earned funds for.
"It's great that we can work together instead of against each other to achieve our goals," Howard said.
For adoption information, contact ARC through the Contact Us tab on their website or call the shelter at 731-3535 Wednesday through Sunday (except major holidays) between noon and 4 p.m. To see the shelter's 'featured" dogs and cats visit animalrefugecenter.com/search-for-pets/
To make a donation, animalrefugecenter.com/donate/make-a-donation/