Animal lovers around the globe are looking forward to a day of education and increased awareness aimed at animals both domesticated and in nature come Oct. 4, and the arrival of World Animal Day. In the LGBTQ community, where many individuals and couples choose not to have children, there’s certainly not a shortage of people concerned with the well-being of their pets and other animals everywhere.

According to the mission behind celebrating the day is “to raise the status of animals to improve animal standards around the globe.” 

World Animal Day is recognized as an international day of action for animal rights and welfare, it is celebrated annually on this date, which is also the “feast day” of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. While Assisi was a Catholic priest, he is highly revered for his love of animals by individuals in and out of the Catholic faith.

In recognition of World Animal Day, qnotes is looking at pets and their people in our own community, like a lovable Shih Tzu named Khloe Jamison, who has already benefited from being adopted and cared for by her friends and caregivers, Alyson and Eric Jamison.

For years now Alyson Jamison has been a professional dog groomer. When one of her regular clients (Khloe’s previous owners) learned they were expecting a baby, they decided caring for an infant and a pooch would just be too much. They expressed their concern for finding Khloe a new home to Alyson, who went home after a busy day of shampooing and clipping and shared the story with her husband, Eric. When Eric found out it was Khloe, he immediately said, “I want her!” 

Eric and Khloe had met and hung out numerous times when she was brought over for grooming. When asked why, he stated, “I felt like her original parents would appreciate her being with us,” Eric explained, “People who already knew her, loved her and would take good care of her. 

“She definitely brings light to my life. On days that I’m stressed or depressed she comes, greets me and lets me know that things are ok. She brings a lot of good energy to my life. It’s hard to be mad at her.”

For others, finding that special animal to love comes differently. As opposed to having the pooch from heaven practically fall into their laps or follow them home, in the true spirit of World Animal Day, they adopt. 

Retired law enforcement Sergeant Vinnie Morris is one of those people. “I am the animal lover in the house and I was a collector of strays,” she explained, “When my wife and I moved to Charlotte we had two dogs, Chloe [apparently a popular doggie name] and her son, Spider.”

“Shortly after [the move] Spider died,” Morris continued, “Ashley, one of my wife’s daughters — I call them my bonus daughters — her husband and their three children moved in with us in 2017. Ashley wanted her own dog, a dog her children could play with and love.” 

With that, the search was on. Motivated by the intent to not just own a dog, but to also save one, York County Animal Shelter was the perfect place for making the family’s dreams of owning another dog come true. When Melissa (Vinnie’s wife) and daughter Ashley arrived at the shelter a litter of nine puppies had just been dropped off. Through all the scrambling for puppies that day, Vinnie’s bonus daughter was lucky to leave with one as well: a Shepherd Hound mix they named Adele. Adele still lives with Vinnie and Melissa.

Chloe passed away in 2018 shortly after Ashley and her family moved back to New York to an apartment that didn’t allow them to keep her. Vinnie and Adele have a special kind of bond, and she’s serious about shelter adoptions and loving care.

“Dogs or most animals provide a layer of unconditional love,” Morris offers, ”What happens with some animals in some situations, people acquire dogs for cuteness and then realize it’s too much to have to take care of them, and they drop them off at a shelter. These animals will die for you, the loyalty from an animal…I kinda get emotional about it because I hate to see animals abused. All they want is love, food, a little direction and to have someone pet them every now and then.”

“Rescue just makes sense,” says Charlotte architect Darryl Hall. After having two senior dogs he acquired from Charlotte’s Humane Society pass away, he recently adopted Alphie, a handsome Redbone Coonhound. Yes, that’s actually the name of the breed, and no, we’re not being politically incorrect. But we digress.

This time, Hall didn’t go to the Humane Society, he took to the internet.

Seeking some kind of an active dog like a hound, he found the website Rescue Me to be quite helpful. “I wanted a dog that had a lot of energy,” Hall recalls, “One that would want and need to be taken for walks and played with, so it would motivate me to be more active too, but I also wanted to adopt an animal in need.”

The site offers visitors the choice of a variety of pets. Cats, dogs, farm animals, birds, rabbits, reptiles and more are available for rescue. Dog lovers can search through photos of specific breeds or “just mutts,” Darryl explained,

“The truth is, there’s nothing healthier than a mutt,” says Hall.

Still, for those looking for a specific breed that’s still an animal in need, the site is nicely categorized with photos, descriptions and a nationwide map indicating how many of the selected breed are available in a visitor’s area. 

For Hall, it was the conduit to the perfect match made of he and Alphie, whom he thinks may have been put up for adoption because “he won’t hunt” — something the breed is known for. But who cares? None of that matters to him because for him, energetic Alphie is the perfect companion. Working from home allows Hall to spend his days — during work and play time — with Alphie.

Impact of the Pandemic on Pet Adoptions

For animals in need of a friend or family to call their own, the COVID-19 Pandemic has turned out to be somewhat of a silver lining around an otherwise dark cloud. According to a recent study by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), pet adoption levels have risen, likely as a result of so many families and individuals choosing to spend more time at home.

“23 million American households acquired a pet during the COVID-19 crisis, and most will not consider re-homing their pet,” the report confirms, “Close to one in five households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, which would account for approximately 23 million American households based on the 2019 U.S. Census.”

The study also addresses claims that many adoptees have returned their pets as COVID-19 infection rates slowed and business began to reopen, “Despite alarmist headlines tied to regional reports of a surge in owner surrenders, this trend is not currently evident on a national level with many organizations simply seeing a return to pre-pandemic operations and intake.”

So this month, qnotes is not just celebrating World Animal Day, we’re also celebrating all of our community members who have taken up the charge of adopting, rescuing and caring for animals who might otherwise have been neglected.

Join us: This story is made possible with the help of qnotes’ contributors. If you’d like to show your support so qnotes can provide more news, features and opinion pieces like this, give a regular or one-time donation today. 

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