For Lori Noland, the past four years have been a steady stream of wagging tails, wet noses and longing eyes.
Every day, Noland, who is the kennel manager at Bear Creek Animal Hospital, walks the line between tending to animals in her shelter and caring too much.
With dogs and cats coming and going — through either transfer, release, adoption, or, on rare occasions, euthanasia — she said it’s not a good idea to get invested emotionally.
“It’s heart wrenching sometimes,” she said. “But I just have to go on and do what I can for the animals.”
Noland and Ann Anderson, vice president of the Humane Society of Moffat County, are doing what they can to find homes for shelter animals.
The Humane Society is hosting an adoption day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Craig Animal Shelter, located within the Animal Hospital. The organization will offer reduced cost adoptions for animals in need of a home.
The animal shelter, which was run by the city until about a year ago, has seen a consistent number of animals under its care the past few years.
Since 2000, the shelter has housed an average of 476 dogs and 317 cats per year.
Many of those animals are released to their owners or adopted.
In 2009, 231 dogs and 10 cats were picked up by their owners. More than 145 dogs and 165 cats were adopted.
Euthanasia numbers at the shelter are also down.
In 2009, those numbers were 11 dogs and 56 cats.
Anderson credits the decreasing euthanasia numbers to the Humane Society’s role in helping to transfer animals out of the shelter to no-kill adoption sites, raising community awareness for spay and neutering practices, and programs such as adoption days.
Now that the shelter is under the care of Bear Creek, euthanasia is rare and only necessary in cases when animals are “not adoptable,” Noland said. Such animals are either severely hurt or considered vicious and dangerous.
Adoption numbers have slowly increased through the years, as well as transfers to other adoption centers.
Before the Humane Society was created in 2002, the Animal Shelter did not transfer animals. In 2009, 64 dogs and 87 cats were transferred out of Craig.
“If it wasn’t for the transfer, we would definitely be much fuller,” Anderson said.
However, the shelter recently has had a high number of animals in its kennels. Noland attributes the situation to several factors, including a bad economy.
“We’ve had several pets relinquished because people can’t pay for them anymore or they’re moving and can’t take them with them,” Noland said. “I think that is playing a huge role for them in the past year.”
But despite a bad economy and a nearly full kennel, Noland remains optimistic.
“You know, people come into the shelter and they feel so bad for the animals here, but I feel bad for the animals that are running loose,” Noland said.
Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.