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Ely Times Staff Writer

In August, 19 dogs were found in an abandoned trailer, and the Zoo took in the dogs to help prepare them to be adopted by the public. During the last few months, the Zoo worked to help the dogs recover emotionally and physically from being abandoned.

“This is an exceptional situation,” said Brenda Alexander, director. “They were all fearful, fearful biting, fearing everything. Now that they’ve had a couple of months to adjust three quarters of them are spayed and neutered and their shots have been done. Three quarters of them are ready to go home.”

And while many of the dogs will take time to fully acclimate to their new homes, with enough love and care, they will recover from being abandoned.

“The real important thing is that there’s still going to have some issues, but eventually they will come around,” Alexander said. “I have a personal dog who came from a similar situation. It took a year for her to finally come around, but now it’s like she’s not even that dog anymore. With a lot of love and patience they will turn.”

As the Zoo looks for families to adopt the dogs, a big reason why the dogs are now adoption-ready is because of the foster families, Alexander said.
“Those foster parents and all future foster parents, without them we just couldn’t do this,” Alexander said.

Among the foster families included Debbie Martin, Teresa Smith, Adam Lopez and more. To be a foster family, or to adopt a dog, Alexander said she works to make sure the families are prepared and the dogs will be going to a good family.

“They come in here and I interview them,” Alexander said. “I like to take a look at their homes. Especially these guys, they’re like little escape artists and are just looking for the next hole to get out. Even when people want to adopt, they have to have a secure yard comparable to the dog they are adopting.”

And while the Zoo hopes to find good families for the dogs, Alexander said the finding numerous dogs is, unfortunately, a common occurrence for them.

“We deal with this every day, just not in this quantity,” Alexander said.
While Alexander said she’d like to thank the community and the veterinarian clinics for helping the Zoo operate, the Zoo does take in a great expense to keep dogs until they are adopted, with the costs often reaching the hundreds of dollars mark. Donations can be made at the Zoo or by donating Ridley’s points to help purchase supplies.

“By the time a dog is adopted, we can literally spend $400 easily on one dog,” Alexander said. “So when someone comes in to adopt that dog, they pay us $50 and that goes back into the pot.”

While caring for the dogs can be an expensive proposition, Alexander said she’s not doing this to make a profit. She’s doing this because of her love of animals.

“But it’s not about the money,” Alexander said. “It’s about ownership. Anything for free is not a good thing, especially an animal.”

With the Zoo hoping that many of the dogs found earlier this year will soon find new homes, despite the challenges and difficulties the Zoo faces on a daily basis, it’s worth it to Alexander to help give the dogs a safe place to call home.

“The important thing is getting these guys homes now and they’re ready to go,” Alexnder said. “They still have a ways to go but they need to get into their permanent homes.”

For more information about the dogs or any of the other animals at the Zoo, call 289-3744.