With unbridled enthusiasm that sent her tail a-wagging, the 3-month-old puppy named Dallas waited as patiently as she could Wednesday as her new owners, Richard and Colleen Brink of Pequot Lakes, opened the kennel she'd lived in most of her life at Heartland Animal Rescue Team in Brainerd.
The last of a litter of six puppies to be adopted, Dallas had finally found a home.
"This is our baby," said Colleen Brink, as she filled out the necessary adoption forms at HART on Wednesday. "This is her birthday as far as I'm concerned."
The Brinks, who have no children, had been hoping to adopt a dog within the last year. They'd visited HART a few times and researched the breeds. Dallas, whom they renamed Casey, is a black Labrador/boxer mix. Through research they learned that a mix of these breeds creates a very obedient dog. They knew instantly they wanted her.
Little did Casey know, she had a veterinary appointment a half hour after her adoption. The Brinks wanted to make sure she had her necessary vaccinations. She would then be joining the family's 12-year-old parakeet named Peeti at their Pequot Lakes home.
About 85 percent of the more than 1,500 animals that arrive at HART are adopted just like Casey. The others aren't able to be adopted for various health reasons or have bad temperaments not suited for adoption. Right now there are 20 cats and 20 dogs available for adoption at HART, including a pet rat, a parakeet and Zelda the rabbit. Zelda has her own kennel in the cat room and has been waiting for a home for several months.
Sunday through Nov. 11 has been declared National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week. It's a week that HART supporters are hoping will spur Brainerd lakes area residents to stop in and meet some of their critters. Shelter hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They also have easy doghouse plans available for those who need them.
"She's now a member of the family," Colleen Brink said of Casey. "We came here to save a pet. The pets here are just as special as the ones you can go spend $300 on. Casey is very sweet."
As a finale to National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week, HART will host its second annual Pets and People Reunion from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Brainerd Armory. A variety of contests will be held, including the oldest adopted HART animal, animal that traveled the greatest distance to be at the reunion, the smallest and largest dog and a costume contest for everyone. This includes adults, children and pets. Prizes will be awarded.
Contest registration begins at 1 p.m. with judging to immediately follow. At 2 p.m. the Brainerd Police Department will conduct a demonstration with its K-9 unit, then from 3 to 4 p.m. past HART dignitaries will be introduced and adoptive families can mingle. Donna Wambeke, president of HART, asks that participants use the rear entry door to the armory and that all animals be leashed or in crates.
Over the past 13 years since HART has been in existence, many family members have adopted pets from the non-profit humane society, served on the board of directors and volunteered their time and money. So in hosting this reunion, HART is offering an afternoon to remember and thank everyone who has made a difference in the life of an abandoned animal, Wambeke said.
Abandoned animals just like Casey.
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