GLOVERSVILLE - Duke, a two-and-a-half-year-old pit-bull mix, was found abandoned, partially blinded in one eye from abuse in October 2012. Today, he is looking forward to being adopted by a family, and the Regional Animal Shelter believes he soon will be.
"We're about 99.9 percent sure," Regional Animal Shelter board member Renee Earl said. Earl was the master of ceremonies at Saturday's celebration of the first anniversary of the shelter's annex building at 117 West Fulton Street in Gloversville on Saturday.
The shelter is a public-private partnership between the not-for-profit Regional Animal Shelter and the city of Gloversville. The shelter pays the city $1 a year in rent to use the 16-by-36-foot building just south of the Gloversville transit building, near the Rail Trail, and the city saves money by not paying fees to store homeless dogs at a veterinarian's office.
Renee Earl, a board member of the Regional Animal Shelter, shakes hands with Duke the dog on Saturday at the Regional Animal Shelter’s annex on West Fulton Street in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Jason Subik)
Earl said since the group began operating the annex building, it has housed 134 dogs, 71 of which have been adopted, 54 of which were lost dogs that the shelter helped reunite with their families and 11 dogs, like Duke, are still looking to be adopted. Some of the remaining dogs are "seniors," older dogs that are difficult to find homes for.
"Everyone wants a puppy; nobody wants an adult dog," she said. "Duke isn't a special-needs dog, but he is what we would call a little more difficult to place, just because somebody might not want a dog who's partially blind in one eye ... It doesn't [stop] him from having a normal life, he just can't see out of one eye. His abuse hasn't prevented him from being a wonderful dog. He's very loving and wonderful with children. It just has made it more difficult for him to find the perfect home."
The Regional Animal Shelter uses Internet media such its Facebook page, which can be found by searching for "Regional Animal Shelter" on facebook.com, and websites like petfinder.com, youtube.com and its own website, regionalanimalshelter.org, to promote dog adoptions. The organization also uses its Internet presence to promote low-cost spay and neuter programs as well as rabies clinics.
"In one short year, we have gained over 1,380 - and it is literally going up every day - likes on our Facebook page," Earl told supporters of the shelter Saturday.
Choking back tears, she thanked the shelter's volunteers, many of whom have adopted dogs themselves. "Without you, none of this would be possible."
Gloversville resident Bobbi Joe Havery created a Youtube video featuring pictures of all of the dogs served by the no-kill shelter. She and her children volunteer at the shelter, helping to walk and feed the dogs.
"I started doing it to provide an example for my children, but really I do it for selfish reasons," she said. "It makes me feel good."
The annex building is entirely staffed by volunteers, and its expenses, which can include $700 per month for heat in the winter and large amounts of dog food, are paid for with donations or donated directly. The Regional Animal Shelter is still in the process of raising $250,000 for its planned facility on 26 acres on Maple Avenue in Johnstown.
The plan for the proposed shelter includes dog kennels and a cat room with radiant-heat floors and accommodations for other large animals.
The organization encourages individuals interested in donating to call the shelter annex at 725-5956 or visit its website.