The ASPCA reports more than 1.5 million pets are euthanized in the U.S. every year because they don’t have a home. A pet can make a great addition to a family and adopting a pet from a shelter can save a life. Pet Angels Rescue is a no-kill, nonprofit animal rescue and adoption center in Guthrie. Dana Huckaby founded Pet Angels in 1999 by renting one house to live in and a house next door to shelter homeless dogs and cats. Huckaby worked at a pet store and brought many abandoned animals home to nurse them to health and find them new homes.
Today, Pet Angels has grown to a two-acre campus that houses adoptable dogs and cats and is licensed to shelter 175 animals. Pet Angels primarily focuses on the overlooked animals picked up and held in Oklahoma’s rural shelters with high kill rates. Their animals are currently rescued from approximately 42 rural communities.
We asked Pet Angels staff member Tiffany Smith to help answer some common questions for families considering pet adoption.
Is there anything unique to Oklahoma’s animal shelter population that we may not know about?
In 2016, The Oklahoma Animal Study documented the welfare status of Oklahoma animals and found that approximately 400,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in rural Oklahoma shelters that year. Oklahoma rural shelters receive little to no funding and have extremely inadequate resources to care for homeless, unwanted and abandoned pets. An alarming number of rural shelter animals are euthanized within 48 hours. If rural shelters spayed or neutered every pet that left their shelter prior to being adopted, counties would spend less money than they currently spend on euthanizing these animals.
Do you have any tips for parents to choose a shelter pet that will be good with kids?
Pet Angels volunteers spend a lot of time with our pets and each will assist in preparing information to write the animal bios. During adopt events we are able to observe if the dogs are afraid of kids or friendly with kids. We also have two meet-and-greet rooms in our new adoption center. Families can submit an application for a pet they see on our website and if approved they can apply that application toward any pet. We ask families to spend as much time as they need with as many of our pets, one-on-one, in one of our meet-and-greet rooms. We also encourage them to bring any pets they have in the home so that we know if the pet they are interested in adopting will get along with both kids and other pets in the home. If not, we do not encourage them to take that pet home and instead to try to fit another one of our pets with the dynamics of their home.
Is a trial period offered for parents who are on the fence about pet adoption?
Pet Angels co-owns every pet that comes into our rescue. If for any reason a family is not happy with the pet they adopted, the adoption contract requires them to return the pet to our rescue. We encourage a two week trial period for adjustment and if it isn’t working out adopters will receive a full refund.
What is the top piece of advice you have for families considering pet adoption?
You are saving a life when you choose adoption because when we have space for a new dog or cat we pull them from high kill rural shelters. When you choose to buy from a pet store or breeder you are only keeping the overpopulation of animals in Oklahoma at a crisis level. Puppy mills feed the pet stores and dogs are bred over and over to a very unhealthy level and most live in horrible conditions and never know how it feels to be loved.
The top piece of advice I have for a family considering adoption is to research whatever breed of dog the family might be interested in adopting. More than 70 percent of the dogs in our rescue are purebred dogs and some have even been surrendered with papers from a breeder. Pet Angels has all breeds of dogs both small and large. Sadly, we get a high number of northern breeds like huskies and malamutes. They are beautiful and sweet, however, they are known escape artists because they are a working breed and need to be exercised daily.
Can you tell us more about some of the pets you have available right now?
We have a lot of options. A couple favorite dogs needing a home right now are Cloud and Asher.
Cloud is a 2-year-old Siberian husky. He’s white with beautiful blue eyes and would be best as an only dog (or be sure to test him with another dog in the home). He loves people and kids and gets along with some dogs, male and female. He has escaped several homes. A high fence with a hot wire would work to contain him and Pet Angels staff is happy to assist by visiting potential adopters at home to show them how to contain Cloud.
Asher is a 5-year-old male chihuahua that was terribly abused by his previous owner. Our director and animal caretaker have worked with Asher more than a year and he’s made an incredible turnaround in trusting people. He is very lovable and very protective to those he trusts.
See bios and photos of more dogs available for adoption at www.petangelsrescue.org.