ESCANABA - The Delta Animal Shelter in Escanaba hopes to find success in placing as many animals as possible into loving homes this holiday season.
The shelter currently has 92 animals housed at its facility and still boasts a 100 percent adoption rate, according to Delta Animal Shelter Manager Sue Gartland.
"Our current adoption rates are roughly between 80 and 90 a month and the lost animals that find homes usually is around 20 per month," she said.
Jason Raiche | Daily Press
Delta Animal Shelter Manager Sue Gartland poses for a recent photo with Vicki, a golden retriever, one of the many animals available for adoption at the shelter.
She estimates approximately 1,200 animals have come to them this year and stresses the importance of the shelter in the community.
"We are a local shelter so we're not affiliated with any national organization," said Gartland. "I think that's a misconception with the public, but all money donated here stays to our animals here - and the volume of animals in need in this community is overwhelming."
So how is the shelter able to maintain a 100 percent adoption rate for its adoptable animals?
"We invest medically into all our animals, so we're spending over $100 per animal to get them ready to go into a home and that's keeping them healthier and adoptable," she said.
The Delta Animal Shelter has also teamed up with other shelters across the U.P. to help when there are space limitations for animals and has also developed a home-based fostering system for special needs animals who may have an illness or a medical need. They also microchip all the animals that come to them.
"What we really see is that increase in return-to-owner rate so when we have an animal that comes in, it's very nice to scan him and have a phone number accessible immediately," said Gartland, of the microchip program.
The shelter has even participated in a program at the Alger Correctional Facility where an inmate is assigned to work with a dog in an effort to make the animal more adoptable and sociable.
Gartland noted each animal that comes into the shelter has a unique story.
For instance, there's Nettie, a cat who came to the shelter as a stray and gave birth to stillborn babies, but then became a surrogate foster mom for all the orphan babies that came to the shelter through the summer months - nursing them, cleaning them, and caring for them.
"She was a very special cat for saving all these babies who have all since been adopted and now we feel that it would be nice to get her into a home for Christmas," said Gartland.
Vicki, a golden retriever at the shelter, also has a touching story, as she was abandoned in an apartment by her owner who moved downstate.
"After a week she was discovered there by herself and ... she's deaf, a little bit older, but she has so much love left to give. She's a sweetheart," said Gartland.
For those who cannot adopt an animal this holiday season, there are other ways people can help homeless animals.
The shelter is always in need of supplies and monetary donations to help care for animals and volunteers are always welcome.
People can volunteer their time in many ways - whether it be by coming to the shelter and providing daily care of the animals or becoming a member of the Delta Animal Shelter. Members meet once a month to develop programs to market animals, plan fundraising activities, get involved in local events, and more.
Gartland also encourages those who have not been to the shelter to stop by.
"Ten minutes spent talking to one of our animals means so much to them," she said. "It brightens their day and really makes an impact. We encourage people to come and see how many animals are here, to help be their voice, and to see what a service this shelter provides for the community. We're very proud of it. We love to show off the animals and the animals love to have visitors."
The public is also invited to follow the Delta Animal Shelter's Facebook page and to share the animals' stories and photos to help them find a home.
The shelter's Facebook page can be accessed by visiting: www.facebook.com/pages/Delta-Animal-Shelter/126259687448119.
For more information on the shelter, call 789-0230, visit them at 6685 N.75 Dr., Escanaba, or check out their website at www.deltaanimal.org.