Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 73 Several people from the Humane Society come out to greet the new arrivals. is is a much bigger operation than the one in Hardinsburg. ere are 35 full-time and 36 part-time staff who work in the shelter and with adoptions, in addition to some 300 volunteers. e Humane Society's spay-neuter clinic, low-cost vet clinic, dog-training classes, summer camp and pet boarding, groom- ing, and daycare facilities add another 30 full-time and 28 part-time workers. "We got more little critters than you can shake a stick at!" Hamm says. ey get to work unloading the dogs and kittens. e Kentucky Humane Society now receives these kinds of transports almost every day from any number of 35 Kentucky counties, in addition to other Southern states. ey get roughly three transports a month from Breckinridge County. In a year, KHS processes about 6,500 dogs (and about 2,500 cats), and roughly 65 percent of them come from outside Jefferson County. "We're able to do this because spay and neuter has worked so well in Louisville," says KHS communications director Andrea Blair. "Ten years ago, I don't think we would have gotten any," from outside Jeffer- son County, adds Kristin Seaman, the Humane Society's transport and rescue manager. Because the Humane Society never euthanizes animals for time or space (only for medical necessity or severe behavioral problems), they could not have taken on all these outside dogs without a reduction in local unwanted dogs. In the last 10 years, their own clin- ic has done 100,000 spays and neuters. In a small room, the animals are examined and entered into the system by three staff members. ere's a list of possible names on the wall — Ketch- up, Mustard, Relish, Tabasco for dogs; Purrito, Purrl, Purrcival, Luke Skywhis- ker for cats. "When you're naming a few thousand animals a year, you have to get a little creative," Seaman says. Today, it's a Dora the Explorer theme for the puppies — Dora, Diego, Swiper and Boots. (Bubbles, Zeus and another dog, Hazel, keep their names for now.) A kitten is named after this story's photographer, Mickie Winters. e rest of the kittens get rhyme-y names — Chucky, Jackie, Becky. Soon, they'll be spayed and neutered, if they haven't been already. en they'll be on Petfinder and in Feeders Supply stores across Louisville. And from there, hopeful- ly, to permanent homes. Leaving the Humane Society, Hamm says, "You should play up the Meghan Markle angle." And here we come back to Kensington Palace, where a beagle named Guy is pre- sumably bounding around Prince Harry's ankles and snuggling under the favorite duvet of the new Duchess of Sussex. Guy was found in the woods in Montgomery County, east of Lexington, and from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter was placed with A Dog's Dream rescue in Ontario. A series of transports relayed him from Kentucky to Toronto, where he was placed in a pet store. Meghan Markle saw him while she was in Toronto shooting the TV show Suits. And then, as you may have heard, she fell in love with a prince and moved to England. When she married Prince Harry at Windsor Castle earlier this year, Guy rode with Queen Elizabeth in her limousine. His new career is working out all right. e Beagle of Sussex could have just as easily come from Breckinridge County or one of the 90 other local government shel- ters in Kentucky, with their steady stream of dogs heading north. When it was time for my family to pick up our dog, we met Mandy Franceschina and her mother outside an Arthur Murray dance studio in east Cincinnati. "I'm sure you do this all the time," I said. "We do," she said. Paws and Claws' adoption process had involved some paperwork and a home visit (to make sure we weren't running a dog-fighting ring), and a cost of $225 (but the dog had already had her shots and been spayed and micro-chipped). I signed an agreement saying I'd return the dog to Paws and Claws if it didn't work out. (Returns happen about 9 percent of the time at the Humane Society, usually for reasons such as moving, the owner's health or the animal not getting along with pre-existing pets.) ey got the puppy out of the car. We gave her some more treats and put her in a dog crate that we'd borrowed from a co-worker. She was totally chill the whole way home, no whining or complaining at all. When we got to the house, we gave her a Kong chew toy filled with peanut butter. At last, not quite two months after she and her brother were picked up as strays on the boat ramp, this puppy had a home. And within a few weeks of the transport I witnessed, Bubbles, Zeus and Hazel had been adopted too. We re-named our dog Tesla, at my wife's request. Mostly after the sci- entist and partly after a car we'll never be able to afford. Tesla now sleeps in my son's room. If he gets scared, he pets her and goes back to bed. He almost never wakes us up anymore. Tesla has the body of a blue heeler (45 pounds) and the face of a beagle. Every day when we come home, she's excited to see us — even my wife, who maintains a facade of exaggerated indifference but secretly likes Tesla more than she lets on. When Tesla gets really excited, she will run to your feet and stick her butt up in the air, wanting you to scratch her back. It's a bumper-sticker cliché to say your rescue dog rescued you, but for me it's partly true. Getting a dog accomplished what I had hoped — it got me out of the house. It felt like the first break of morning after a long night, daisies pushing through the snow after months of winter. I've now gone on hundreds of walks I never would have taken without a dog needing to be walked. And I've seen mar- velous things on those walks — sandhill cranes squawking high overhead; epically fiery sunsets at Highland Middle School (one of the best spots in the Highlands, I've discovered); kingfishers and hooting owls; and an actual double rainbow. Dogs evolved to be our hunting buddies (which they still are for some people) and then our farmhands (which they still are for some people) and now our emotional companions. Somehow, as we keep chang- ing, so do they. After returning to the shelter in Breckinridge County after the transport, as I'm preparing to head back to Louisville, Shor says, "I hope you enjoy your dog." "Yeah," I say, "she's been great." "ey're good dogs," she says. "It's good to see all the hard work is worth it."

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