Amidst the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic, the Pike Animal Shelter is still working to take the best possible care of the animals in its care.
Jiggy Majors, the operations manager at Pike County Animal Shelter, said there are many ways for students to help support the shelter and its residents.
“Volunteer,” Majors said. “We always are in need of a ‘pet sitter’ or ‘dog walker’ or just someone to come in and love them and socialize them.”
Majors also stressed the importance of interaction between the animals and people, saying that students are always welcome to come and visit with the animals, even if they can’t volunteer. All visitation is done by appointment only at the moment, but students can call to set up a time to come.
“Our staff is under the state regulated laws for us to implement our basic PPE (gloves, safety glasses, gowns); we follow these guidelines as well as wearing our mask,” Majors said. “We are still closed to free public access so that is helping with precautions, as well.”
Students are expected to wear masks when they visit the facility.
The shelter is also accepting donations from students in the form of toys, blankets, towels and cleaning supplies. Majors said that these items get replaced on almost a daily basis, so they are always accepting more.
Adoptions are still available for interested students, with a fee of $100 for both dog and cat adoptions. This $100 fee does include parvo, rabies and worming medications. Your adoption fee also includes the cost of a spay or neuter at a locally approved veterinarian’s office.
Students who are unable to adopt can still foster an animal for the day for free.
“Our foster program was set up to assist the care and social needs of some of our animals that may be elderly, nervous, afraid, unsociable,” Majors said. “When they are fostered, they are receiving that much needed attention to get them ready to be adopted or to get them out of the shelter environment where these type animals do not do well in at all.
“It can set them in a bad state of mind, and they will have no chance of being adopted. If anyone is interested, they can contact me and we’ll do a foster application to get qualified, and then we will see what animal we may have available to suit their lifestyle.”
Madi Maldonado, a junior global business major from Niceville, Florida, fostered a dog from the Pike County Animal Shelter two years ago.
“I just went down to the shelter and took Vincent out for the day,” Maldonado said. “We went and played at the park behind the school and got a treat at Sonic.
“Now, I’ve owned Vincent for two years and I love him like a child. The experience was so worth it and fostering him was one of the best decisions I have made I college.”
The Housing and Residence Life Office at Troy said that there has been an incredible rise in emotional support animals (ESAs) this year. So, not only can students help the animals at the shelter, but during this difficult pandemic time they can help students, as well.
Research done by Tufts University show that having a companion animal or spending time with animals helps reduce stress and anxiety, particularly when you are experiencing a stressful situation. Research also has shown that animals help older adults cope better with social isolation.
Being physically separated from others and having a lack of social activity on campus can lead to these feelings of isolation. In some cases, it could benefit students to have a companion animal.
Students residing on campus should not bring an animal to campus without proper paperwork first.
Sometimes students may have a specific breed in mind, but about 20-25% of animals surrendered to animal shelters are pure breeds, according to the Humane Society of the United States and there are breed-specific rescue organizations all over the country, such as the Emerald Coast Golden Retriever Rescue in the Florida Panhandle and Quinn’s Great Dane Rescue in Alabama.
To learn more about local opportuniites with the Pike County Animal Shelter, visit troyal.gov/pikeanimalshelter or check out the group’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. Other opportunites can be found with the Troy Animal Rescue Project at troyanimalrescueproject.org or on TARP’s Facebook page.