- guest blogger, Paula Ritter, Outreach Coordinator, Richmond Animal Care & Control
Step inside the bright and cheerfully decorated lobby at Richmond Animal Care & Control at 1600 Chamberlayne Avenue and be greeted by a welcoming staff whose passion is pets! A video featuring adopted animal alumni rolls above a multi-tiered cat “condo,” where three black and white kittens are piled inside an overstuffed pet bed. A mixed breed terrier recovering from surgery rests comfortably in an office chair beside the kennel manager. Sleeping inside a storage cabinet is Gloria Gain-er, a slightly overweight brown and beige tabby cat available for adoption. Follow the “click-click” noise coming from a hall off the lobby and you are likely to meet Alisha, an animal trainer teaching puppy etiquette to a shy hound to improve the dog’s chances for adoption.
Beyond blue double doors opening to a yellow hallway is the room that houses cats and kittens. Extending across one wall is a seascape painted by staff when the room was refurbished with new cages and flooring three years ago. On this particular day, the occupants are orange tabbies, calicos, grey and brown striped kittens, lanky black cats, tortoiseshells and tuxedos. There are no empty cages; this past spring gave birth to litters upon litters of homeless kittens brought to shelters across the country. Donated pet beds and striped blankets knitted by Lin, a volunteer, offer warmth and comfort to each cat. “Why are these pets in a shelter,” is one of the most frequently asked questions from visitors. The answer has changed somewhat in recent years. Many of the animals here today came from individuals and families who felt compelled to give up their beloved pets because they could no longer afford to care for them. Some belonged to individuals who died, and some pets were brought here after their owners entered nursing homes where pets are prohibited. And most of the kittens and puppies are the result of unaltered pets permitted to breed adding to the overpopulation of unwanted animals.
Across from the cat room behind another door is a long corridor lined with kennel cages – each one housing a hopeful energetic, homeless tail -wagger. Ephraim, a volunteer dog walker, trots out a brown and white Pitt bull terrier mix called Happy Camper for a walk across the field next door. Among the 50 plus dogs available today are a shepherd mix, a border collie, two terriers, retrievers, lab mixes, a poodle and pit bulls. Each animal is friendly, loving and deserving of an individual or family wanting to make a life-time commitment caring for a pet.
Richmond Animal Care & Control has more than 100 cats, kittens, dogs and puppies available for adoption. All animals are spayed or neutered and vaccinated. The cost to adopt a cat or kitten is $65.00. Adopt two for the price of one! The cost to adopt a male dog is $70.00 and $75.00 for a female dog. Richmond Animal Care & Control is located at 1600 Chamberlayne Avenue in Richmond.
Visit pets online at ras.petfinder.com. Shelter hours: Tuesday – Friday, 1-5pm; Saturday, noon until 4pm. Call the adoption line at 804-646-5575 for more information. Interested in volunteering? Call804-646-5584 or e-mail Paula.email@example.com.