99%! New record rate of adoptions through Tribune’s Pet of the Week series

These six dogs were among the many featured as Pets of the Week in 2020. Top row, left to right, are Jingles, Snow and Big Red. Bottom row, left to right, are Sally, Ajax and Ollie. (Cullman County Animal Shelter)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The partnership between the Cullman County Animal Shelter and The Cullman Tribune hit a new high in 2020. The Pet of the Week series, originally created to promote the adoption of dogs on the shelter’s “short list” for euthanization, saw 99% of all featured animals adopted. 

The shelter’s Andrea Hudson told The Tribune, “We never even slowed down due to COVID. In fact, our adoptions are up from last year.

“We are blessed to have a community that cares so much for the animals. We have non-stop donations coming in from the public year-long, which include pet food, cleaning supplies, cat litter and cans, to even shares on Facebook. Each and every one of these donations and efforts to get our babies adopted and claimed makes a huge difference to the shelter, and we are greatly appreciative. I would like to emphasize that we consider our community as part of our team.  Also, Mrs. Beverly Burke has graciously placed her handmade jewelry at Chambers Seed and Feed and is using the money for dog food for our shelter.

“We are so grateful for our volunteers, each and every one of them. Donna Ruttkay makes such an impact on our fur babies; she is here every day walking them and training them and she even cooks for them. She really puts her heart into helping these babies and that is what we need. She is truly a blessing to both the animals and to the shelter and I consider her a huge part of our team.

“We have a catalyst, Shay Corgi, at the drop of a hat that will coordinate through a network of rescue groups help in the aid of getting some babies who have been neglected the help they need and get them placed in foster care until they can find a home. They also help us with litters of puppies that need to be in a different environment than a shelter.”

Stories of shelter dogs

Donna Ruttkay shared a few stories about the shelter’s canine friends:

“Many have accomplished the task as therapy dogs. The Link of Cullman County graciously allows these amazing dogs, with a handler, to walk around The Link. Employees come out of their offices and lovingly interact with these dogs, who probably never had so much positive human attention before. Perfect environment to develop appropriate social skills- vital to getting adopted. All who worked as a therapy dog were adopted!”

Penny’s field trip to The Link of Cullman County 

“She shyly walked into each office looking for humans to meet and brighten their day. Each corridor brought out people, standing by their office, waiting to interact with our sweet Penny. Penny put a smile on everyone’s face!

“God brought an amazing person into the shelter. He shared, he works with the homeless, assists them with their dogs, (e.g.,) food, etc. Another goal is to pair those who are interested in dogs with dogs needing a home. He indicated canine therapy opens the door for people to care about others again, being responsible again. 

“So thankful there has been a paradigm shift, as of late. The dogs have been sojourning in the shelter a bit longer than usual, which allows precious extra time for continuing modifying unwanted behavior. Each dog, who learns at their own pace, has a specific set of issues that lack social acceptance. Some have had to overcome living on the street, fending for themselves without positive human interaction, for a long while. Their transformation is remarkable. This can hold true of our kids and us!

“One day, as the shelter opened up to another day of possibilities, (e.g.,) backpack, halter and obstacle course, for one unique dog, who was innately overwhelming in his behavior, the word was, ‘He got adopted earlier today. The guy loves him!’ There is a family for each dog in the kennels.

“A woman adopted sweet Molly, a bull mastiff. Molly loves to be with you, and on her leash, she has ‘power steering.’ Molly loves you, children and cats, but struggles immensely with shelter life. It was mentioned to this lady, ‘You will absolutely fall in love with her.’ The lady turned with tears in her eyes, ‘I already have.’ An emotional day for all!

“Several dogs have been adopted to assist family members struggling with different issues, e.g., physical and emotional. This includes young children to adults. Our cats also have been adopted to facilitate encouragement and hope to their new people.

“None of this would be possible unless God’s merciful hand was on this shelter. His presence is felt, always.”

Please consider adopting, to give a rescued pet a chance at a happy and healthy life.

Contact the Cullman County Animal Shelter at 256-734-5448 or cullmancountyanimalshelter@gmail.com. Visit the shelter at 935 Convent Road NE.

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W.C. Mann