Kiska couldn’t seem to keep all four paws on the ground at once Thursday as a volunteer stopped by the shelter to give the Cocker Spaniel and Beagle mix a walk.
A few minutes after Kiska bounced out of the front door, Ruby — a high-energy black lab mix — ran in the door, a pet drop-off from an owner who said his family could not care for such a high-energy pup any longer.
The eight-month-old will join about a dozen other dogs kenneled at the Kenai Animal Shelter where animal control officers say they can’t seem to keep the cages empty.
On Saturday, in an attempt to raise community awareness about the quality and quantity of dogs at the shelter the first “Igitadog” adoption fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Home Depot, 10480 Kenai Spur Hwy, in Kenai.
Stacie Mallette, animal control officer, said any dog that could be safely kenneled would be at the fair.
The idea is to lower the population at the shelter where the cacophony of barking dogs can be heard from outside of the building.
“We’re full more often than now,” Mallette said. “We typically hold 12 (dogs), it seems like it’s a constant. We’ll drop down to four or six dogs and then ‘Boom’ we’re right back up again.”
Both dogs and cats will be available for people to walk around, play with and potentially be adopted.
Volunteers will also provide tips on animal training and how-to’s for building dog houses.
Mallette said she hoped to reach beyond people who wanted to get pets on a whim.
“We get puppies here because they’re cute,” Mallette said. “We’ve got to get people who see beyond the cuteness of a puppy to the responsibility 8 months down the road, a year down the road.”
While there are not as many cats as dogs currently at the shelter, they shipped 20 to shelters in Fairbanks and Anchorage where the felines have a better chance at being adopted,” Mallette said.
“They have a good spay and neuter program so it’s hard for them to get kittens and young ones, we have too many, it’s a win-win,” she said.
While it can be frustrating for shelter personnel to take so many animals in — animal control officer Cora Chambers had to take a moment to compose herself and wipe away the tears after Ruby’s former owner left — Mallette said she feels lucky to be in a supportive community.
“We’ve got a lot of volunteers and we get lots donated thankfully, cause we would not be able to do what we do without them,” she said.
Rashah McChesney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org