Animal shelter weathers storm without power

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published January 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated January 2, 2013 at 9:49 a.m.
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Wayne Bryan

Carnation is one of more than 25 dogs and 12 cats now at the animal shelter in Bauxite operated by the Human Society of Saline County. All the dogs had to be moved into indoor kennels after the recent winter storm knocked out power at the facility.

Standing by the front window, hoping to use the morning light, Ann Sanders, president of the Humane Society of Saline County, was doing paperwork by candlelight Saturday at the society’s shelter on Bauxite Highway.

“We’ve had no power since Christmas and we have had to move all the dogs indoors,” she said from behind the counter, while on the other side there were a dozen cat carriers loaded up for an adoption opportunity in Little Rock. “The indoor dog shelter has a concrete floor, but there is a small heater. We are lucky the dogs have fur coats.”

The indoor shelter is usually reserved for puppies or other dogs needing special care, but the outdoor kennels were open to the snow even though there is a roof above.

The humane society and several animal shelters in the area will exchange the populations while there is overcrowding or bad weather.

“I was really concerned about the forecast for freezing rain on Friday,” Sanders said. “I am glad that didn’t happen.”

The puppies were all huddled up on pillows made by a humane society volunteer, Sanders said.

“She got material like flannel sheets and then others have donated filling or pillows and the volunteer makes beds for the animals.”

The feline residents of the society shelter are already in the main building that houses the medical facilities for the organization’s busy schedule of spay and neuter clinics.

“The clinics had to be canceled this week because we lost power,” Sanders said.

A larger problem was storing the medications needed for surgery and for the animals.

“We had to take the medicines out of three refrigerators,” Sanders said. “I stored some of the more critical drugs at my home, and we have used ice chests for the others. It kept the medicines cool but did not allow them to freeze.”

Sanders said the ice chests worked in reverse of how they are normally used in the summer.

With about 25 to 30 dogs in the indoor kennel and about a dozen cats in the shelter during Christmas week, Sanders said it was good the society had such a small animal population when the snow and cold weather hit the region.

“We did really good with lots and lots of adoptions in December,” she said. “We had 24 dogs and puppies adopted and 34 cats were given new homes by families during December before Christmas.”

Since the snow hit the area, the society has had little opportunity to take in animals brought in by residents.

“With no power, we have no answering machine that works to take messages from people,” she said.

Although, she said, some society members found a dog that had been hit by a car on the roadside a few days ago.

“The animal has been seen by one of our vets and he said the dog will need some surgery on a back food,” Sanders said. “But the dog doesn’t seem to be in pain, and it can put weight on that foot.”

Sanders said the dog appeared to belong to someone, and she hoped its family could be reunited with the pet.

However, for one of the shelter’s residents, the New Year just brings more days waiting for a home.

Carnation, a black-and-tan, short-haired dog, has been with the Saline County Humane Society since last February, Sanders said.

“We see a dog with a great personality, but she is just a black mutt and is like that kid who never gets picked by either team for a game,” she said.

Sanders said the dog was a stray in a Saline County neighborhood for a while, and someone brought the dog in out of concern for her.

“We talked to them and said we would spay the dog if they wanted to keep her,” Sanders said. “They first agreed, but when it was time for Carnation to go home, they decided they didn’t want her.”

She said the next chapter was heartbreaking, because Carnation got away from the shelter and found her way back to the neighborhood, to the home of those who had brought her in. But the dog was brought back.

Sanders hopes someone will want to give the dog a home before Carnation has been in the shelter for a full year.

“Anyone who adopts her will get a wonderful, loving and loyal dog,” Sanders said.

For more information on Carnation or any other animal, or to donate to the Humane Society in Bauxite, call (501) 557-5518 or visit their website at www.hssaline.org.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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