LAKE DALLAS — Two-year-old Addison Feldpausch stopped by the Lake Dallas Animal Shelter with her parents early Saturday afternoon to pick out a cat.
Her mother, Amanda Feldpausch, had heard about “Empty the Shelter” day and thought it would be a good time to find a feline companion to go with the canine they already had at home.
Animal shelters across the region joined an Irving shelter, which came up with the idea, in its annual offer of free adoptions — a special promotion meant to empty the shelters by the end of the day.
Chelsea Stachyra, animal services director for the city of Lake Dallas, said that the shelters always fill up in the summer. The reasons why are a bit of a mystery.
People move. Kids are home for the summer and the family pet gets out and gets lost. The care becomes too great a burden.
“And the families don’t claim them,” Stachyra said. “We run out of space. It’s hard on morale.”
For example, Lake Dallas officers picked up an old Irish setter mix a few days ago that Stachyra hopes the owners will claim, but she’s worried they won’t.
The shelter will hold the dog for a while. The dog has arthritis and is having trouble keeping food down. It has heartworms, too, and far enough along that the veterinarian doesn’t believe the dog can survive the treatment. The dog is too sick to be adopted out, Stachyra said.
During the event, the shelter started a waiting list for a litter of puppies it just received. Someone dumped the six pointer mix pups over the fence at a grooming business two days ago.
“They cleaned them up and brought them here [Friday],” Stachyra said.
Shelter workers are feeding the dogs yogurt and chow to build their strength. Once they get the “all clear” from the vet, the freckled, blue-eyed pups will be ready to go home, too.
Typically, the Lake Dallas Animal Shelter adopts out two to three pets on any given weekend in the summer. Saturday, it adopted out 11 cats and one dog. By 4 p.m., all but one adoptable dog, two cats and five kittens had been adopted.
Stachyra kept tabs on the other shelters’ reports, particularly on behalf of visitors looking for something specific. Many of the 39 participating shelters reported that they were out, or nearly out, of cats and small dogs by early afternoon.
The Feldpausch family took its time in the cat room interacting with a couple of the cats that were ready for adoption before settling on Jerry, an 8-month-old gray tabby. Amanda Feldpausch said she thought she remembered the cat from a Facebook post earlier in the summer, when it came in with the other kittens in its litter.
Addison got distracted for a moment by a balloon as shelter volunteer Debbie Frazier helped prepare Jerry for the trip to his “forever” home.
Was she excited about bringing Jerry home?
“I do,” Addison said.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.