Students get close-up look at adoptable pets

On Wednesday, a visit from the MaxMobile gave kids at Horace Mann Elementary a close-up look at some adoptable animals that might benefit from their ongoing pet supply drive. The Humane Society for Seattle/King County brings the cheery yellow bus filled with cute critters to schools, public parks and special events to educate people about the huge numbers of dogs, cats, hamsters and other small animals needing loving care.

  • Thursday, April 10, 2008 4:46pm
  • News

Fourth grade student Kaija Gibson pets “Fudge

On Wednesday, a visit from the MaxMobile gave kids at Horace Mann Elementary a close-up look at some adoptable animals that might benefit from their ongoing pet supply drive. The Humane Society for Seattle/King County brings the cheery yellow bus filled with cute critters to schools, public parks and special events to educate people about the huge numbers of dogs, cats, hamsters and other small animals needing loving care.

It’s named after a Humane Society board member’s dog, Max, noted Dr. Sandy Willis, medical director for the society.

Before children toured the MaxMobile, they learned about the Humane Society’s mission from its director of education, Kate Reedy. She spoke while a volunteer, Nancy Graham of Kirkland, led her dog Mai Lei around the Mann library so kids could pet her.

Reedy explained that they’re a non-profit organization that exists to make animals happy, heal sick animals and place them in permanent homes. Six thousand to 8,000 homeless animals come through this chapter of the Humane Society each year and it costs about $2 million annually to save them.

“We believe there’s the perfect home for every animal and we’ll keep these as animals as long as we need to,” she added.

A child asked, “What about the animals you don’t have room for?”

Reedy explained that volunteers take them home — “it’s called fostering.”

About 50 percent of the animals are strays and the other 50 percent are “surrendered” by their owners for reasons such as allergies, an unplanned litter, a new apartment that doesn’t allow pets, or because having a pet is more work or more expensive than they expected.

Adopting animals at the Humane Society is inexpensive, considering that they already have all the immunizations they need, have been spayed or neutered and behavior-tested to make sure they’re a good match for the prospective pet owners, said Willis.

Donations of cash and pet supplies – such as items being collected at Mann — not only keep the animals well-fed and comfortable while they’re waiting to be adopted, but the Humane Society also has a pet food bank for elderly people and AIDS patients who need animal companions and can’t afford the upkeep.

“We’re asking for dog and cat food, canned or dry, litter, blankets, towels and toys,” explained Mann librarian Lynn Detweiler who oversees the school’s Spirit Team. Last semester, the group supported a sister school in Uganda. This semester, she wanted to find a service project that was relevant to the local community and also could be tied to a visit from author Peg Kehret, who often writes about animals.

Kehret was scheduled to visit Mann on Friday, but was ill and will come another day.

Donations to the pet supply drive can be dropped off during regular school hours through Friday, April 18. Mann Elementary is located at 17001 NE 104th St. Call (425) 881-9696 for details.

To learn more about visits from the MaxMobile, e-mail shsservices@seattlehumane.org.

For inquiries about pet adoptions, e-mail adoption@seattlehumane.org, call (425) 649-7563 or visit the Humane Society for Seattle/King County, 13212 SE Eastgate Way, Bellevue. The society is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but adoptions are available from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

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