Healthy puppies ready for journey

Published 2:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Saturday morning, a van filled with puppies will be headed to their new homes in Florida — if funding can be found.
The Humane Society of Escambia County is re-establishing a relationship with a pet adoption center in New Port Richey, Fla., after having taken a hiatus from the puppy transports for a couple of months.
Pennie Pettis, an HSEC employee, said the trip planned for Saturday — and others like it in the future — are costly ventures, but it keeps pets from being euthanized.
“We don’t want to take animals to another city and state for adoption that are sick or will get sick,” Pettis said. “That takes some time and a good bit of money to make possible. But, it does take some money to make sure they have been checked, medicated, re-checked and prepared for the adoption trip.”
Pettis said each of the 30 puppies and small breed dogs set to take Saturday’s trip to Florida have been prepared by being treated to make sure they are healthy when they arrive at their new hometown.
“We have to make sure they have had all of their shots, have been checked for heartworm, and have had any other medications needed for puppies before we even put them on the list for adoption,” Pettis said. “That’s true whether they are adopted right here or through one of these adoption trips.”
With help from volunteers, each of the animals set for the special road trip are bathed and pampered to help them look their best when new owners come to check them out.
“We always want to put the pets we take in here into the best homes possible,” Pettis said. “That’s what we do and what we always strive to do in our work.”
In addition to preparing the animals through the expense of testing, medications and preparation, Pettis said another expense to find homes for the animals is getting them there.
“It’s an eight-hour drive one way to New Port Richey,” Pettis said. “If we get a driver who is willing to drive down there and come right back, it’s better on us financially. But, if they can’t make that kind of turnaround, we have to come up with the cost of a hotel room. When you put that expense with the cost of driving a van full of animals for eight hours there and driving that van back for eight hours, it can get pretty costly.”
Pettis said that’s where the public can come in to help.
“We are always looking for donations of any kind,” Pettis said. “Either food, supplies, equipment — you name it and we can use it. But, we also need some financial contributions to cover these kinds of expenses and other expenses with caring for animals we rescue.”
A small staff of employees helps keep the shelter going, but Pettis said volunteers are also a blessing.
“We have some wonderful people who come in that help us with cleaning and caring for the animals,” Pettis said. “These animals are here seven days a week and having a little help along the way is good. We are always happy to see volunteers coming in to help out.”
Although the Humane Society has a fee connected with adoptions of puppies, dogs, kittens and cats, Pettis said it doesn’t cover the cost of keeping an animal healthy while at the shelter.
“We do charge an adoption fee, but it won’t cover the entire cost of keeping an animal here,” Pettis said. “Depending on how long the animal is with us, you have food costs, medical costs, any kind of medicine or treatment the animal may need. It can be costly, but we do everything we can to keep our animals healthy and ready for new homes.”
If you would like to make a financial or supply donation to assist the Humane Society of Escambia County with this weekend’s puppy transport, contact them by calling 296-BARK or visit them on Hwy. 31 South, or find them on Facebook.

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