By Arden Moore
There is a silver lining to this coronavirus that has limited us for months. Cici, Cooper and Daisy know firsthand.
All three — two sporting gray muzzles and one missing a front leg — languished unadopted in area animal shelters. It’s tough to compete with cute puppies and young, healthy dogs.
Today, this trio of tail-waggers is sheltering in place in happy homes, getting lots of treats, cuddle sessions and comfy bedding.
Credit creative strategies by the teams at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach and Tri-County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton for ensuring that high numbers of dogs and cats in their shelters have found temporary and permanent homes during the pandemic.
“We never closed the doors to the public,” says Suzi Goldsmith, Tri-County co-founder and executive director. “We just changed the way we did business. With few exceptions, any dogs we got in during this time got adopted. And, we were able to foster animals with special needs who are older or require medication.”
At Peggy Adams, Executive Director Rich Anderson reports that adoption inquiries have spiked nearly 250% compared to this time last year. He said in the past, the shelter faced a tough task to find homes for hundreds of kittens born each spring. This year, kittens at the shelter have been adopted as soon as they were deemed old and healthy enough.
“The outpouring of support from the community has been amazing,” says Anderson, “to the point we struggled to keep up with inquiries from people asking to become foster volunteers.”
Which brings us back to the tales of Cici, Cooper and Daisy.
Carl Case, of Boca Raton, quickly bonded with three-legged Cici, a 2-year-old corgi mix who had been transferred from a shelter in Miami-Dade. Cici needed amputation surgery at Tri-County on her right front leg, damaged from possibly being struck by a vehicle while she was a stray.
“I told the people at Tri-County that I wanted to adopt a special-needs dog after fostering dogs for a long time,” says Case, who owns a software billing company. “When I met Cici in the parking lot at the shelter, she was a little hesitant as I was wearing gloves and a mask, but now, she is so happy and loving and doing really great with me.”
At age 11, Cooper, a beagle, proved to be the perfect dog for retirees Janice and Vic Romley, of West Palm Beach. The couple were looking for another dog after their last one passed away.
“We really missed having a dog in our lives and told the people at Peggy Adams we were willing to take a large dog or an older dog,” says Janice Romley. “Cooper is a very loving dog and although he is 11, he has a lot of energy. He keeps us on a healthy walking schedule. He has added so much joy to our lives, especially during these challenging and isolating times.”
Divorced and with a college-bound son, Ana Kieckbusch, of Boca Raton, contacted Tri-County about fostering an older dog. The staff told her about Daisy, a 10-year-old terrier mix who had been at the shelter for two years.
“I didn’t want a crazy pup as I work from home and didn’t want a dog who barked a lot,” says Kieckbusch, a marketing strategy consultant. “Daisy had been at Tri-County a long time and was like their beloved mascot. She is low key and has a heart problem, but she takes her pills easily every day. She also has benign tumors on her chest and was chubby when I got her, but she has already lost two pounds.”
Kieckbusch adds, “Holding her and looking at the way she looks at me is the best medicine for loneliness and for any ailment. I am grateful for her.”
Case knows his life has perked up since the arrival of the fun-loving Cici.
“To me, dogs are the most trustworthy beings on the planet,” he says. “If you adopt a dog, it is a big commitment, but definitely well worth it. I love Cici and can’t wait for the time when I can travel the world with her.”
How you can help
Tri-County Animal Rescue and Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League have canceled major fundraising events and community activities since March and are taking a wait-and-see approach to events scheduled for later this year, based on whether the pandemic wanes or accelerates.
“Our biggest fundraiser of the year — the Doggie Kitty Ball on April 5 — was canceled, but we never stopped rescuing during this time, and we are following safety measures to the letter of the law,” says Suzi Goldsmith of Tri-County. “We have a happy place here and welcome people willing to adopt, foster or donate.”
Rich Anderson says that Peggy Adams was able to secure a Paycheck Protection Program loan to pay staff, but worries that the shelter’s major fundraising events — the Young Friends of Peggy Adams gala set for Nov. 28 and the Christmas Ball set for Dec. 3 — may be in jeopardy.
However, he is grateful to supporters. “Our caring donors never forgot about all of the lost, abandoned and injured animals who need our help here every day.”
If you are interested in fostering or adopting pets or donating supplies or money to help these local shelters, contact Peggy Adams Rescue League in West Palm Beach at 561-686-3663 or www.peggyadams.org. Contact Tri-County Animal Rescue in Boca Raton at 561-482-8110 or www.tricountyanimalrescue.com.