Kate Alexander lives in Pittsburg, KS, but she and her husband Jared knew there was an extreme need for adopters for all of the animals displaced by the Joplin tornado. Jared works for the Boy Scouts of America and had been coordinating Scout groups to go to Joplin to volunteer for the clean up and Kate had volunteered at the emergency shelter in the weeks following the tornado.
He had been wanting a big dog ever since the couple had purchased a larger house with a back yard. They had looked at several dogs online, so when the big adopt-a-thon was held the end of June, they decided Jared could head for Joplin and rescue one of what turned out to be 745 animals for adoption through the emergency shelter operated by the Joplin Humane Society and the ASPCA. He joined 5700 people from 24 states looking to help the animals by giving them a home.
Jared arrived 30 minutes early on Saturday morning and still was number 401 to select a dog to adopt. At the end of six hours of adoptions that day, 320 dogs and cats had been adopted. He was back on Sunday, with another 2 1/2 hour wait until his number was called. All the dogs that Jared and Kate had listed were adopted, but there was a Golden Retriever/Lab mix who wasn’t taken yet.
Having volunteered at the shelter, Kate she had not heard this particular dog bark for most of a week. So they agreed to adopt Macy, and she has been home with them for about a month.
“At first it was a little struggle,” Kate said. “She just wanted to lay on the floor, but she’s been warming up to us and having a home and yard again.”
Macy is quite frightened of storms, and she doens’t like to be in a kennel. They knew Macy was an outdoor dog before she came home with Jared, and her coat was a “mess” when she first arrived. The Alexanders took her to Springfield, MO for a grooming to remove the mats and give her a good bath.
As she is getting acclimated, Macy has learned about crate training, and knows “sit” and “down.” She also has a fondness for squeaky toys.
“She’s a wonderful addition to our family,” said Kate. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
The Alexanders were very pleased with how the Joplin Humane Society and ASPCA handled the entire event. The volunteers were always very pleasant and were continuously handing out bottles of water with the early warm temperatures for those who were waiting to adopt.
At the end of the event, there were still about 200 animals that were under care or puppies too young to adopt who would still need homes. There are 79 dogs and cats currently listed on the Joplin Humane Society web site.
Kate noted that as they’ve talked with people in Pittsburg, an added bonus from the promotion of the Joplin adoption weekend was that those who could not attend, but wanted to add a four-legged family member, went to the local shelter to find their new addition. This demonstrates that when major adoption events occur, that it can help animals in local shelters as people are more aware of the need, which is ongoing 365 days a year, in every community in the United States.
In Wichita, tornado survivors from Oklahoma and a group of dogs from a large abuse/neglect case in Texas came to the Kansas Humane Society for adoption. All ofr the Guthrie tornado dogs found homes, though it is likely they, too, do not want to be outside when the weather turns dark and stormy.
In addition to the Alexanders, Kansans from Topeka and Chanute were at the event to adopt and help as volunteers. The third part of this series will be interviews with two of the responders.