The truth about cats and dogs is that they, like a lot of living creatures, have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take, for instance, the situation in which Granny Rose Animal Shelter, located just west of Dixon on Route 2, finds itself.
Fundraisers like the bags tournament held in the spring had to be postponed due to .
Dog obedience classes, an important source of income, were canceled with the latest round of pandemic mitigations.
A recent online auction for brought in some money, but not what previous fundraisers netted.
Judy Lohse, manager at Granny Rose for 26 years, is hopeful tough times brought on by the pandemic will not last too much longer.
“In April, it affected us very badly,” Lohse said. “We were afraid that we were literally going to have to close the doors. We weren’t sure how we were going to take care of the animals, let alone pay the light bill, the , the heating – anything like that.
“Then the community rallied around us. We had a lot of food and supplies donated, and a lot of cash donations came in. Now things are taking a slump again.”
Shelter procedures have been modified to suit .
People interested in adopting one of the 25 cats or 12 dogs currently at the facility are asked to fill out an application online, then a meet-and-greet is set up. Only one family is allowed in the building at a time, to prevent overcrowding.
People who donate food, litter or toys are asked to leave those items just inside the front door between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Any and all donations, be it supplies or money, will help the shelter stay afloat.
“We’ve always depended on the holiday time to kind of stock up during the year for toys and everything else for the cats and dogs,” Lohse said. “I would just like to ask people if you’ve never given to the shelter before, please consider doing that. Think of your pets at home and how much they enjoy their toys and treats, and share.”
For some of the animals, Granny Rose has become their home, at least for now. Kittens have grown into adult cats, without finding the right home.
For Lohse, that just means she’ll redouble her efforts.
“We just keep trying harder,” Lohse said. “There’s somebody for every pet. Sometimes it just may take you longer to find that person. Recently we had a cat that had been here for probably 2 years. He had a little bit of an attitude, but he recently got adopted and is adjusting well. The guy absolutely loves him.”
Finding homes for animals is also one of the goals at the Happy Tails at 1408 McNeil Road in Rock Falls. Happy Tails has about 40 cats and 20 dogs up for adoption. That number fluctuates quite a bit, according to Donald Czyzyk, director at Happy Tails the past 10 years.
“Saturday I could end up with 40 dogs,” Czyzyk said. “It just depends on what is getting euthanized at a kill facility. If somebody calls me tomorrow and says, ‘Hey, tomorrow is kill day and I’ve got 10 dogs. Do you want anything?’ I go and get them. That’s what we do.”
While Granny Rose focuses on adoptions, Happy Tails also offers veterinary services. There is a staff of nine veterinarians, with two on duty each day. One handles a variety of surgeries, while the other deals with vaccinations. There are also programs involving intervention.
Again, COVID-19 plays a part how things are done. Adoptions are by appointment only, and mask-wearing is a must.
“My goal as the director is to keep my staff healthy, because if I bring somebody into the building that has COVID, we can’t care for the animals, and that’s a bad thing because we can’t just close down,” Czyzyk said. “Appointments-only is the first thing we did. If you’re looking to adopt a cat or a dog, you fill out an application online, you get pre-approved, then we call you and set up a meet-and-greet.”
There's a special drop box at Happy Tails for donations. The items most requested are cat litter, , and rawhide chews.
Up to 10 a day are used to dispose of cat litter, while a gallon of is used to scrub the kennels. The chews are to keep the dogs happy and healthy.
“Every single night I tuck the dogs in at 9 o’clock,” Czyzyk said, “and they all get a rawhide every night. When I go toward them, they look at me like, ‘Hello.’ “
Adoptions typically spike a bit during the , but sadly enough, so do people unloading pets, he said.
“People that had 12- and 13-year-old dogs don’t want to deal with those dogs with their family during the ,” Czyzyk said.
“It’s been something that’s been proven over and over and over that people dump their dogs to for the because they don’t want the old dog peeing on the floor while mom and dad are here. It’s something really sad.”
Granny Rose Animal Shelter, 613 River Lane, Dixon;�grannyrose.org,petfinder.com and Facebook; 815-288-7387
Happy Tails , 1408 McNeil Road, Rock Falls; happytailsanimalshelter.org and Facebook; 815-626-2994.