Two Auburn sophomores who saw the need at a local animal shelter have now rescued and helped find foster homes for 10 dogs.
Shelby Stephens, sophomore in natural resources management, said she is a total dork for animals. While looking through shelter Facebook pages she came across a page called “Adoptables of Columbus Animal Care and Control Center.”
Through this Facebook page, volunteers of the shelter post pictures of the adoptable animals, mostly dogs.
Stephens fell in love with some of the pups and watched, waiting to see when they would be adopted.
“I could right off the bat see the need there because they have a very small amount of runs available to hold dogs,” Stephens said.
While watching one specific dog, Maxwell, a brown lab and pit mix, Stephens said that she could not sit idly anymore and watch the dog get euthanized.
Stephens asked Katelynn Roy, sophomore in organismal
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Upon going to pick up Maxwell, both girls realized the need was much greater.
There were five other dogs on the euthanasia list.
“Either six dogs are coming into my house or going into someone’s house. They are not staying there. I can’t let that happen,” Roy said.
The cost of pulling that many dogs from the shelter is high, so Stephens and Roy reached out for help.
“I worked with the vet school and they have a huge email list that probably reaches about 500 people … I reached out and asked for help, and they were willing to let us borrow crates, donate crates, donate food, donate money to go toward things,” Roy said.
Through the vet email list, friends, family and a dog spotting group-me, the girls saw an influx of money, dog food, collars, leashes and crates for the dogs.
Within the first few
“Our ultimate goal is we would love to start an official foster organization on Auburn’s campus to be a group that advocates for dogs in these high kill shelters in rural Georgia and Alabama,” Stephens said.
Stephens said that without the “Adoptables of Columbus Animal Care and Control Center” Facebook page, nothing would have changed.
“There are 40 runts in there and about 35 of those dogs are pits,” Stephens said. “I think people just don’t realize what goes on because even though I had heard how bad overpopulation was in the South – to hear those numbers and to go in there and see it, it’s overwhelming.”
Pits are often ignored in the shelter, Roy said. Black dogs, too, are less likely to be noticed. The volunteers who run “Adoptables of Columbus Animal Care and Control Center” however, show the personality and friendliness of the dogs.
“I think one of the biggest problems with shelters right now is people just don’t realize the need for adoption,” Roy said.
Stephens described some of the dogs and how well behaved they are. Maxwell is potty trained and walks calmly on a leash. He barks infrequently and is a loving dog.
“As soon as you get them out of [the shelter], they just open up and blossom,” Stephens said. “They’ll play, they’ll lick, they’ll be just the dog they were supposed to be, but if they are just in that kennel you don’t really get to see that.”
The women would like to be able to pull more dogs from the shelter as the need arises, Stephens said. They desire to have an organization of people who see the need and want to help.
Since Roy and Stephens began the program, they have seen people go from fostering dogs to adopting them.
“Sadie is a 30-pound pit mix, and she is a complete angel. I have definitely been blessed with an amazing first experience,” Limberis said.
Stephens and Roy said that with the community surrounding them, they have been able to find homes for many of their fosters, and others are on the way to adoption.
“If anybody is interested in fostering, let us know,” Stephens said. “It’s a big responsibility because since we do legally adopt these dogs out, there is not technically a foster program for this shelter. There is no telling how long it’ll take to adopt these dogs out.”
To help find homes for these loving dogs, the girls have created a Facebook page called Pups on the Plains Rescue Team. Stephen and Roy said they hope this will lead to more growth.
“It’s overwhelming,” Stephens said. “I mean when I saw how much money we were able to raise for these dogs, I started crying. Because I can’t believe people care about this as much as I do. I am so glad that I’ve been able to help in any way with these dogs.”
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