Tahlequah Daily Press


August 14, 2012

Miller helps find homes for abandoned pets

TAHLEQUAH — Kittens and puppies have a certain “cute” factor that is quickly outgrown. Unfortunately, full-grown dogs and cats are often abandoned once this happens.

The Humane Society of Cherokee County promotes responsible pet ownership, and manages a no-kill shelter, hosts fundraisers and promotes spay and neuter clinics.

Christopher Miller, president of HSCC, said on average, there are 80 dogs at the shelter and 45 in foster care, and around 49 cats in the system.

He enjoys his volunteer work with the organization.

“Honestly, it is often relaxing and gratifying,” said Miller. “However, there is always more to do than can be done.”

He’s been a volunteer with the group for two years.

In July, the HSCC received 400 calls related to animals needing homes, well above the average 100 calls they get each month, Miller said.

Miller, who is a professor in the theater department at Northeastern State University, handles a lot of details for the HSCC, besides helping pets find permanent homes.

“Our purpose is to aid and protect stray, abandoned, neglected, and abused animals in Cherokee County through rescue, veterinary care, and adoption,” he said. “We provide aid in spaying and neutering for pets in the community. Additionally, we are involved the transportation of dogs to other facilities throughout the country.”

There are many ways for volunteers to get involved with HSCC. One of the newest concepts is “Doggie Date Night,” an event held from 6 to 8 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month, at PetSense.

“We have Doggie Date Night, dog washes, benefit performances with local arts groups, and adopt-a-thons, just to name a few,” he said. “Doggie Date night gives the community a chance to see some of the animals that are being fostered in our community. These are often animals that are well-socialized in a household.’

Friendly and personable cats that can be adopted are also kept at PetSense.

“We currently have a drawing going for a handcrafted canoe as a fundraiser,” he said. “We’re selling tickets at Reasor’s, Pet Sense, NDN Art Gallery and the HSCC Resale Shop. Canoe tickets are $5 each or 5 tickets for $20.”

Work at the shelter varies from feeding and watering the animals, to walking them and cleaning pens.

They also have an answering machine and return calls.

“Most people just getting involved with HSCC as volunteers start by walking dogs. However, we also have events like dog washes, in which a new volunteer might bathe dogs on the first day,” he said. “There are also opportunities to work with cats or work at the resale shop, among other things.”

Volunteers operate the Humane Society of Cherokee County Resale Shop, located across from the Cherokee Nation complex, and is an ongoing fundraiser. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The average adoption fee is $85 and all animals adopted through HSCC are spayed or neutered.

“Typically, with phone calls, there is a need for someone to take either a stray animal or a pet that they can no longer take care of. The trouble is that we are always short on room at the shelter,” Miller said.

Providing foster homes is another opportunity to volunteer.

“Very often, we run out of room at the shelter, or we bring in a dog that is too small for the shelter environment, and foster homes provide food and shelter for these HSCC dogs until we can get them adopted,” he said.

Many of the animals are taken to other states which have stricter animal laws and fewer pets to adopt.

“Volunteers drive them out of state,” Miller said. “Illinois, Minnesota, and Colorado are our usual places, but we often transport to other places for specific breeds.”


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