An Unconventional Shelter Gives Dogs More of What They Really Need

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shelter21It takes a special type of person to run an animal shelter, and a lot of dedicated souls to create the kind of safe and nurturing atmosphere that is found at Adopt-A-Dog.  This unique shelter in Armonk, N.Y has 300 volunteers, and Adopt-A-Dog President Allyson Halm works hard to ensure that each animal is given not just exercise and care, but lots of love.

At Adopt-A-Dog you will never see a dog in a kennel. Instead you will meet dogs in calm environments where they feel safe and loved.  Volunteers not only walk dogs, they take them for car rides, swims at the lake, and the dogs even spend time in the offices curled up on a bed, near people.  All of the dogs are rotated through these activities so that they are all accustomed to new and different situations.

shelter3When a dog is adopted, time and care are taken to ensure they are going to a home that will be a good fit for everyone involved, especially when there are children or other pets involved.  “We make multiple home visits to make sure the connection there, especially when children and multiple pets involved. We have driven as far as Canada, Maine and Massachusetts” says Halm.

“We are here to convince people that a dog or cat is as important as having a child,” she smiles. “It is a 15-year commitment. Why are there so many homeless dogs? Certainly if a child had allergies, you don’t surrender your child. If you have financial hardship you don’t give up your grandmother!”

Volunteers are crucial to the success of Adopt-A-Dog’s philosophy.  Adopt-A-Dog volunteer Joy Micik comes to take and excited George, an 11-year-old gray and white pit bull mix for a walk.  Later Marc Feingold and Riley, a pit bull terrier can be found playing with a ball in the exercise yard.  This type of one on one attention is abundant here and is contributes significantly to the calm feeling.

Adopt-A-Dog is looking for families who want to make a commitment to including their pets as family members.  “I have a mission,” Halm declares, “to go forward to change and create a total new way of sheltering.”