Humane Society Of Polk County Clears The Shelter For Fifth Year
by James Coulter
Sharon Cox, a Winter Haven resident, is a foster parent. She wanted to give her foster children a dog as a pet. Since they are young and rambunctious, she wanted an older dog that could better adapt to children.
On Saturday, she was able to find the perfect animal that was just right for them during the fifth annual Clear the Shelter adoption event at the Humane Society of Polk County.
Sharon adopted Zoey, a mix between a Labrador retriever and German shepherd. As Zoey was a much older dog, Sharon felt that she would be able to live with children better, she said.
“It is a good experience,” she said of the event. “I think it is a very good event. They were great, no complaints.”
The Humane Society of Polk County joined other shelters nationwide in celebrating their annual Clear The Shelter adoption event. Sponsored in part by Telemundo/NBC, the event helps provide their animals with good homes with adoption fees at reduced rates on Saturday.
The event that day drew in a large crowd earlier in the morning, with the shelter being packed with potential adoptees. So many people arrived earlier that morning that vehicles had to be directed towards the overflow parking area behind their building, explained Lisa Baker, Humane Society Executive Director.
By noon that day, the shelter had facilitated countless adoptions, especially of cats. All of their kittens had been adopted that day, leaving only a few adults cats and dogs, Baker said.
“I love seeing the animals go home to a good home,” she said.
Since 2015, The Humane Society of Polk County has been operating from their facility along Dundee Road in Winter Haven. Their eco-friendly building includes solar panels that power the LED lighting, which in turn cuts down on their heat and electricity usage.
Their eco-friendly building also utilizes a well-water system that provides potable water for their bathrooms and for cleaning their animal areas. Overall, their water system uses one-quarter of the water used in their old facility.
“We are trying to reduce the cost that we have running the facility,” Baker said. “So when you donate, that money is going back to animals, rather than to run the facility.”
Paige Arnold, a care technician at the facility, loves events such as this, as it helps them to give good homes to the animals they take care of there. She herself was happy to see one particular dog, a dachshund named Ford, find a good home. The little pup had been shy and attached when he arrived at the shelter. Now he finally has a good home to go to, Arnold said.
“So I am super thrilled with that,” she said. “One of my favorite dogs got adopted, so I am super pleased with that…[a]nd we were able to get him to go home with the best lady ever to love, adore, and spoil him. That is what he needed.”
As the care technician and veterinary assistant at the shelter, it is her job to help the animals there get adjusted to shelter life, to ensure that their stay there as comfortable as possible. There is nothing that she loves more than to see these animals finally receive a good home.
“I just love my job,” she said. “I love helping animals, and I love helping people find that perfect fit for their family, and seeing the animal and people as they get to leave.”
Their new facility there helps facilitate their stay, as they are able to be contained in more comfortable holding areas with larger space. This allows them to be happier, which makes potential adoptees happier to see them, she said.
“There is more space, and it also feels homier, and also help people feel that these animals look happier so that people can adopt a happier looking animal,” she said.