By Amanda Dyslin
MANKATO — Pearle, a blind Labrador-German shepherd mix, is just one of many success stories for the Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society so far in 2007.
The dog came to the shelter months ago with a litter of puppies, all of which were adopted quickly because puppies are so cute. The society wasn’t so confident someone would be as eager to snatch up Pearle.
But someone was — a woman in California who found out about her on Petfinder.org. People looking for a pet to adopt can search the site based on the characteristics they’re looking for — type of animal, breed, size, gender and age, among other characteristics — and a listing of adoptable homeless animals across the country are retrieved with the animals at the closest shelters listed first.
Katherine Nelson, on the board of the humane society, said as the site has become better known — the shelter has seen a dramatic increase in adoptions by people from all over the country. January through May this year, about 260 cats, dogs and one rabbit were adopted. During the same period in 2006, 169 pets were adopted.
The shelter has adopted out pets to Pennsylvania, the Dakotas and other states, but only after the shelter was sure the animals were going to stable homes.
“It’s very important that these animals go to very good, forever homes,” Nelson said. “People drive in from all over the country.”
Nelson also thinks the public perception of the shelter has become more positive during the past year and that has caused more people to visit and adopt animals.
“It’s cleaner. It’s more organized. The animals are happier and healthier,” Nelson said. “There’s something going right.”
Humane Society President Suzy Kroon said visitors also have mentioned the Homeless Pet news items in The Free Press, which run Tuesdays through Thursdays and include pictures and a description of animals at the humane society and Mankato Animal Impound.
Julia Gosen, impound officer, said the news items listing the animals have helped save animals’ lives. After being held five days at the impound, animals may be euthanized.
“I know there’s been an increase in people calling about animals that have been in the paper,” Gosen said.
Some of those calls are from the owners of the animals who learned their pet was being held at the impound after seeing him or her in the paper. The impound’s primary goal is to reunite pets with their owners. If they are not retrieved in the five-day period, the animals become eligible to be adopted and the hope is that they end up in as good of a home as Pearle.
“She’s just the nicest dog you’ll ever want to meet,” Nelson said.
Pearle will be driven to California by a board member’s son either this weekend or the next. The shelter raised about $1,500 for gas to get the dog to her new home. Any leftover money will go to the shelter. No funds raised will go toward hotel or other travel expenses.
The woman who adopted Pearle has everything ready to make Pearle comfortable — collars with bells to wear on her ankle so Pearle can find her, baby gates and rugs to serve as warnings in front of stairs.
At a Glance
Information about pets being held at Mankato Animal Impound can be viewed on the Lost Pets Web site or call 387-8590 to set up a time to visit.
Click her for animals at the Blue Earth Nicollet County Humane Society. Follow the “Click here” link to view the adoptable animals. The society also can be reached by calling 625-6373 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.