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Finding Fall Homes For Furry Friends

Local organizations provide countless animals with warm homes and new families as the seasons change

Article by Chris Watson

Photography by Terry Fravel

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

It’s certainly sad to think that a furry friend could ever find themselves without a home. However, it’s positively heartwarming to remember that our community is filled with kind, dedicated people who donate their time and resources to rescuing and relocating castaway companions.

These shelters and rescue organizations aren’t simply havens for neglected pets and origins for new lifelong friendships, however. They also serve an important role in society. They reduce the number of stray and unwanted animals roaming the streets, improve the overall health of our pet population with veterinary connections, and educate the public on the importance of responsible pet ownership.

These are four such organizations from the area that are committed to providing a safe space for outcast animals.

Friends of Stark Pound

Friends of Stark Pound works with the Stark County Dog Warden Department to reduce the population of homeless dogs by funding spay/neuter procedures and veterinary care. They also educate the public on the importance of adoption and responsible pet ownership. Dog Warden volunteer Margie Serri and facility employee Mike Evans unofficially started the organization by transporting dogs and puppies from Stark County to states with a higher rescue dog demand. Volunteers flocked to the cause, adoption numbers increased, and in 2008 Friends of Stark Pound became a tax-exempt charity. In 2013 the organization was able to fund an in-shelter veterinary clinic, ensuring that all dogs were vaccinated, heartworm tested and spayed/neutered before joining their new families. Recently their March “Mutt Madness” fundraiser raised over $20,000 to help stock the clinic.  Their efforts have transformed the “high-kill” Stark County Dog Pound of the past into a statistical no-kill shelter. Their board members say, “this clinic and the resulting increase in adoptions have been a dream come true for Friends of Stark Pound.” Those interested in getting involved can email them at friendsofstarkpound@gmail.com.


Stark County Humane Society

The Stark County Humane Society is on a mission to protect unwanted animals from cruelty and neglect. These animals are provided with attention and shelter while they look forward to a permanent and caring home. Every animal that is taken in is given a booster vaccine, heartworm or Felv/Fiv test, microchip, dewormer, and a one year rabies vaccine before being offered for adoption. They work in conjunction with the Dog Warden and cover all of Stark County, where they’ve been a presence for over a century. This year to date they’ve taken in 2,371 animals and successfully adopted out 1,841. Those inspired to learn more about the organization or volunteering should visit starkhumane.org.

Second Chance for Animals

Second Chance for Animals is devoted to rescuing homeless, neglected and abandoned animals. They provide veterinary care, spay/neuter them, and find them responsible and loving homes. In the rare case that an animal cannot be adopted it will never be euthanized, but instead stay in foster care indefinitely. The organization has been performing this service since they were established in 1991. They primarily help local pets, but also have rescued many from surrounding states. Second Chance for Animals is currently composed of twelve volunteers working around their own full-time jobs. They rely on volunteer foster homes for their animals, so anyone wanting to volunteer or fill out a pre-adoption questionnaire can contact them at secondchance4animalsohio@gmail.com.

Save a Mom Pregnant Dog Rescue

The mission of Save a Mom (SAM) is to provide a safe place for pounds and shelters to send pregnant dogs, newly whelped litters, and orphaned pups. Founder Denise Jones started SAM in 2005 after being called about an abused and pregnant dog. “It opened my eyes to the fate of stray or owner surrendered pregnant dogs,” she says. The no-kill organization tries to always help local pounds and shelters, but if space and funds permit they will also pull from out of state. They do not discriminate by breed, but help those most in need. SAM takes in over 50 dogs annually, resulting in about 300 puppies and about 275 adoptions each year. They also enjoy attending school events to teach the younger generation the importance of proper pet care and the benefits of pet ownership. They operate with a group of about 20 volunteers that help out behind the scenes. Their regular fundraising dinner had to be cancelled this year, so they are more dependent than ever on donations and adoption fees. Those open to adoption can visit saveamomrescue.com, and potential volunteers can reach out to saveamomrescue@aol.com.

Animal shelters serve as a temporary refuge for cats, dogs and other animals in between homes. They house, care for, and adopt out pets who have been lost or cast out. Animal rescue organizations save and adopt out abandoned or abused animals, but often depend on foster homes to house their wards. Both typically rely on the efforts of volunteers and support of donors to remain in operation. Here we have examples of both from around the Canton area.

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