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Vickroy: How to help those who help animals

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Updated: November 16, 2013 6:06AM



Wanted: Compassionate people who care about animals.

It’s one of life’s great injustices that humans cause the overcrowding at animal shelters.

And there is no shortage of reasons for abandoning an animal — the owner fails to have it spayed or neutered and it reproduces, the pet gets sick or injured and becomes cost prohibitive or, get this, the animal is black.

Disclaimer: Today’s column is a pitch for two local animal care facilities that are devoted to keeping pets healthy, happy and in forever homes.

The first is Animal Medical Center of Sauk Village. It’s not a shelter or rescue but a veterinarian office and medical center. Lately, it has become a drop-off site for people who choose to relinquish their pets.

Among the animals that now live in cages in the center’s lobby is Fuzz. Volunteer Jennifer Galbreath tells his story:

“He was a farm cat that was run over by the farmer’s wife. The farmer brought him here a few years ago. Doctor fixed him up, but he is missing a toe. When the farmer got the bill, he said, ‘He’s just a farm cat, keep him.’”

There’s also Leo and Cal, both 4-year-old cats, because “most people prefer kittens,” Galbreath said.

If it’s kittens you want, the hospital has plenty of those,too, including four that someone left there last week.

“Someone came in and set down the cage and walked out,” Galbreath said.

And then there’s Peanut Butter, so named because after he was rescued from a bucket of oil where someone had dumped him, a staffer used peanut butter to clean him up.

There are also dogs at the center, one of which, Mabel, was adopted this past week. The lab-bassett hound mix was found abandoned on the side of a road, and someone brought it to the medical center.

To help match caring people with animals in need of good homes, Galbreath has organized an Adopt-a-thon. It will take place at the medical center, 21695 Torrence Ave., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. over the next two weekends, Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27. Adoption fees vary but start at $40 for cats.

Galbreath said there will be vendors, freebies, a bake sale and activities for the kids. So come for the fun and leave with a new family member.

For more information about the event at Animal Medical Center of Sauk Village, visit www.amcsv.com/ or call (708) 758-3220.

As Halloween draws near, it’s time unmask an old wives’ tale. Time was, folks believed that black cats were really old women who could turn themselves into feline witches.

Few, if any, people believe that today, but the stigma remains that black cats are bad luck, said Dawn Isenhart, president of the nonprofit Lulu’s Locker Rescue in Oak Forest.

Isenhart finds foster care for those animals that she says are most misunderstood — black cats, black dogs and cats with feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV.

Granted, there are lots of people who adore black cats and black dogs, but Isenhart said those animals are still among the first to be euthanized at animal shelters.

Not only is their undeserved reputation a hurdle, she said, the animals are often difficult to photograph. So they don’t always make the cut in public campaigns aimed at tugging at people’s heart strings.

As a result, they are often the last to be adopted, if they are at all, Isenhart said. Same goes for FIV cats.

“FIV cats are the hardest to place because people think they’re sick but they are not. They have a compromised immune system, but with a home and proper vet care, they can live as long as normal cats,” she said.

Isenhart recently lost Lulu, the cat that was the inspiration behind Lulu’s Locker Rescue.

“Lulu was my son’s best friend for a while. She got him through some difficult times when he was a teenager,” Isenhart said.

She realized early on the power of a pet’s unconditional love, and “I want others to experience this bond,” she said.

But to keep her rescue going she needs money. That’s where you come in.

Lulu’s Locker Rescue will host its annual Black and Boo Pawty from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Durbin’s, 17265 Oak Park Ave., Tinley Park. Tickets are $45 per person. For more information, email LulusLocker@gmail.com or call (708) 325-8581. For more information on the rescue, visit http://luluslockerrescue.org/



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