A miniature daschund named Teddy, whose vocal cords were cut making him unable to bark, got his second chance at a happy life when Ypsilanti resident Greg Karch and his wife adopted him from the Humane Society of Livingston County on Labor Day in 2010.
Teddy was part of a group of several miniature daschunds rescued from a breeder who became a hoarder. Karch said the animals lived in cages their entire lives.
Officials at the shelter opened their doors on the holiday to ensure Karch could pick up Teddy and take him home. It's gestures like that contributed to the Howell-based Humane Society of Livingston County being recognized as the Most Outstanding limited-admissions shelter in the state. The shelter was honored by the by the Michigan Pet Fund Alliance because it had the greatest number of adoptions in 2010.
The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance was founded in 2003 to reduce the number of animals killed in shelters. The organization helps shelters understand and embrace 11 different programs - such as facilitating adoptions by staying open late and on weekends.
"He's just a precious little guy - and he gets along with the other dog perfectly," Karch said of Teddy. "We didn't know whether we would like two dogs or not, but now that we have two - we wouldn't have it any other way."
Karch said he and his wife went to the shelter on Labor Day to adopt their newest family addition.
"We were really impressed by how flexible they were and that they were willing to work on a holiday," he said.
Barb Benford, shelter administrator, said that the shelter is working harder to promote their animals.
"I think we're a little more aggressive marketing our animals," Benford said about the increase in shelter adoptions. "We're highlighting them on our website, on Facebook. It's getting more exposure for the animals externally."
Every animal shelter is required to submit reports to the Michigan Department of Agriculture with statistics such as how many animals come in, are adopted out and how many are euthanized. The Michigan Pet Fund Alliance then takes these reports and calculates save rates or number of animals the shelter saved as well as improvements, then ranks each shelter.
The Humane Society of Livingston County is a limited admission shelter, which means it takes in a set number of animals and then turns others away until it has an opening.
There were 983 animals adopted from the shelter in 2010, an increase from the 891 animals adopted in 2009. The shelter also took in more animals in 2010.
Debbie Schutt, Michigan Pet Fund Alliance Chair, said the shelter numbers were pretty impressive because it increased both the number of animals it took as well as the number of adoptions.
"They did an amazing job adopting more animals out," Schutt said. "Adoption is huge. It's the number one program - and you have to do those things that make it easy to adopt. That means friendly hours. You have to make it easy to go, you have to market yourself, you have to be open after 5 p.m. and on weekends."
The Humane Society of Livingston County is open until 8 p.m. on Mondays and on weekends.
Other Michigan Pet Fund Alliance programs include spaying/neutering, animal retention and foster care.
For more information on the Michigan Pet Fund, visit www.michiganpetfund.org or call 877-FUR-PALS (387-7257).