When Jupiter arrived at the Humane Educational Society in Chattanooga in August, he was nothing but skin and bones – and a fierce will to live.
Early this summer, Jupiter’s owner – disabled and in need of care – was institutionalized.
His equally needy, starving dog wasn’t so lucky; he spent the summer locked in the owner’s garage, forgotten.
When he was finally carried into the HES shelter, animal protection manager Jason Nelson said, Jupiter weighed just 21.6 pounds and was so weak he couldn’t stand up, let alone walk.
“He’s supposed to be around 60 (pounds),” he said. “We didn’t know if he would make it.”
Six weeks later – thanks to frequent small feedings, IV fluids and lots of TLC – Jupiter’s weight has more than doubled, up to 50 pounds, and the vet has given him a clean bill of health.
What he needs now is a home, Mr. Nelson said.
HES officials – inundated with dozens of animals rescued from shelters in the paths of hurricanes Harvey and Irma on top of those, such as Jupiter, brought in from Hamilton County and the surrounding area – are trying to help.
From now until the end of September, the cost of the adoptions at HESChattanooga will be picked up by “Free the Shelters,” a nationwide campaign funded by corporate sponsor PRAI Beauty.
“About 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs – about one every 13 seconds –
are put down in U.S. shelters each year,” according to PRAI’s website. “Research has shown that removing adoption fees increases the number and speed of pet adoptions and reduces euthanasia. Furthermore, there are no significant differences in outcome between pets adopted with or without a fee.”
At HES, PRAI’s donation means adopters will pay no fees for the cats and dogs they take home to be part of their families.
The free adoptions increase the chances that cats and dogs – dozens and dozens brought here from shelters in the paths of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, as well as the hundreds already in the shelter that were here to greet them – will find homes this month.
It’s also good news for senior animals that are often overlooked by potential adopters looking for puppies and kittens.
Take Doc, a friendly, dignified nine-year-old dog that – like Jupiter – came close to death this summer.
In July, Doc was turned in to a high-kill North Georgia shelter where cats and dogs are kept only a few days before being killed to make space for new animals. Doc had outstayed his welcome; he was due for euthanasia.
That’s when somebody contacted HES and the shelter agreed to make room for him. He’s been there since July 18, greeting visitors with dignity and a sedately wagging tail.
“Doc’s one of our seniors,” Mr. Nelson, the HES animal protection manager, said with a laugh. “He loves to be out in our front yard, waiting for people to come by and give him a treat. He’s a great dog . . . he needs a home.”