By Blake Froling
Ingham County Chronicle
Imagine walking into a Lowe’s looking for supplies and coming out with a furry friend. It happens quite often at mobile adoption events put on by the Ingham County Animal Shelter.
“I have a saying when it comes to those kind of events,” said Larry Hagedorn, a volunteer with the animal shelter, “Yeah, I need a bunch of nails and I’ll take a puppy too.”
The animal shelter puts on mobile adoption events all over the greater Lansing area, mostly at pet stores but occasionally at other businesses. The shelter brings about four or five foster dogs and about eight or 10 foster cats and have trained volunteers ready to answer any questions. This provides an alternative for people who feel uneasy about going to the actual shelter.
“A lot of people don’t like the shelter because it can be too much of a reality of how bad things are for some of the animals,” said Hagedorn. “So they can come here and see them and it’s much more comfortable.”
The majority of the animals at these events are foster animals, meaning they are living in a temporary home until they find a “forever family.” The volunteers who foster the animals are present to give detailed information to prospective families.
“I think it’s good PR, both for the pet store that invites us in, and for us to get out into the community and show people that the animals are being taken care of,” said Kay Jones, a volunteer who also fosters several animals. “We work very hard at keeping the animals healthy, safe and loved.”
Not only are the events good public relations for the shelter, they also boost business for the stores that host.
“We give out a coupon adoption booklet when anyone adopts an animal,” said Teresa Thomas, a store manager at Petco. “With the shelter having the adoption events here, it definitely does help generate more business for us because they’re here in the store buying supplies from us.”
People can adopt an animal on the same day they come to the event, but the shelter prefers that they take time to think it over and come back for an additional visit at the shelter.
“We usually adopt about 15-25 animals from each event, even if they don’t go home that day,” said Sierra Hintz, a new volunteer with the shelter. “But families will come back later to the shelter and look for a cat or dog they saw at the event.”
These events even attract “groupies,” according to Jones, who said some people will come to several events and keep looking until they find the perfect animal.
“We make sure that its not a spur-of-the-moment thing and they don’t go home and regret it,” said Hagedorn.
Prospective adopters are questioned by the volunteers about what other animals they might have at home or if they are ready for the responsibility. If the person or family is ready to adopt, they must pass a background check and fill out several forms. Then they can take their new furry friend home the same day.
For more information, visit the Ingham County animal shelter website.