Want to adopt a collie?
Take a number. It's a very long list.
More than 1,000 animal lovers from across the United States and even Canada have expressed interest in taking home one of Jon and Athena Harman's abused collies.
For every collie needing to be adopted, in fact, there are a half dozen takers.
"We've tried to tell people we weren't going to promise anything," Toole County Sheriff Donna Matoon said, "but they were desperate to leave their name. We decided that we'd take the names and just hold on to them."
Matoon hasn't decided for certain how to proceed, but she's expected to turn to the Humane Society of the United States and the American Working Collie Association to orchestrate the adoptions. The AWCA follows a rigorous process that includes checking references of would-be adopters and requires that dogs be spayed or neutered first.
The terms of the agreement don't require the dogs to be spayed or neutered if the adopters want them left intact.
AWCA president Jean Leavitt offered the group's services months ago, as did the Humane Society.
Volunteer Barb Mercer of Shelby, who spent 30 hours a week caring for the dogs, admitted Friday she has her eye on two: No. 29, a tricolor collie she dubbed "Possum," and No. 65, a dog she calls "Bud."
In Great Falls, volunteer Cheryl Antonich said she'd like to take several home.
"You get attached to every single dog here," she said as she placed a bowl of food inside a metal kennel.
Cascade County Humane Society volunteer Cindy James, who's running Camp Collie Great Falls, said it might take time and special owners to help the dogs acclimate, but "I would think they would make good pets."
Late-comers who would like to be added to the list may contact the Toole County Sheriff's Office at (406) 434-5585.
Carol Bradley is a reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Great Falls, Mont.
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