By Sara E. Martin, Army Flier Staff WriterAugust 22, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 22, 2013) -- Hidden behind major construction and a high fence, the Fort Rucker Spay and Neuter Facility on Andrews Road near the Enterprise gate is the current residence of 11 furry faces that desperately need a new place to call home.
The facility currently has one puppy, one grown dog, six kittens and three adult cats, and though the facility is the cat's meow by giving them a second chance at life, there is always the need for people to come and adopt the animals, said Donna Isom, animal health aid.
"You are saving a life by adopting this animal. They didn't ask to be in this situation, but with adoption they can have a second chance," she said.
The facility is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and it only takes in animals found on the installation, but anyone is allowed to adopt from them.
Currently, the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory is expanding its facilities, and the construction next to the shelter is causing a slight backlash in adoption rates.
"Some people think we are closed or a part of the construction next door, but we are open regular business hours and are not partaking in the construction in anyway," said Isom, adding that she was told the construction is estimated to be completed in November.
The facility is located in Bldg. 8829, but it has a Facebook page -- Fort Rucker Stray Facility -- where photos and information are updated on a regular basis.
The facility prepares the animals for home living by trying to teach the canines basic commands and dog manners, and exposes the cats to each other so they will be friendly with people and other animals.
"We try to teach some of the basics, but owners are going to have to continue training once they get home," said Isom. "The cats roam around the offices for a little while each day. That way they can socialize with each other."
It costs $80 to adopt from the shelter, but Isom believes that people get a lot of bang for their buck.
"From the time the animals come in they are tested for everything by our vet, and we guarantee a healthy pet to the best of our knowledge," she said. "The animals are on flea prevention and heart worm protection, and are up to date on all their shots. We also get each pet either spayed or neutered and micro-chipped."
People are invited to come to the facility to spend time with the animals, even if they have no intention to adopt, to help expose them to new faces so they will be friendlier to potential adoptees.
"We cannot have official volunteers, but we do accept contributions and monetary donations," she added.
The facility currently needs puppy and kitten food, as well as toys for both cats and dogs.
People are also welcome to bring their other pets to the facility if they want to introduce their dog to one they are thinking about adopting, said the animal health aid.
"The dogs have a say so, too," she said. "It's important to make sure they will get along."
Isom said that it always seems that every time an animal is reclaimed or adopted two more come in.
"When the dogs come in we evaluate them to make sure they are friendly, adoptable, social, adaptable to new people, and healthy," she said. "We want the pets to go to happy homes where they are a good fit."
Isom added that though she wants all the animals to find homes, she only wants them to go to the right, "fur-ever" homes.
"I want the animals to go to home where they are the 'purrrfect' fit," she said. "I know these animals. I spend every day with them. I can tell just by a few questions if an animal is going to be a good dog or cat for a possible fur parent."
Isom said that if a pet owner cannot take care of their animal they should surrender it, not abandon it in the community.
"Animals can get hit by cars so easily, and two stray cats that breed can easily turn into more than 80 million in ten years," she said. "Plus, there are a lot of diseases that pass that way."
The facility is a kill shelter, so Isom asks when considering adoption to keep the Fort Rucker Stray Facility in mind when looking for a new furry Family member.
"Please stop by. You never know when one of the animals is going to adopt you," she said.