Oakdale Shelter Pet Alliance is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of homeless pets from the cities of Oakdale and Riverbank.
The group members said there is an overabundance of dogs at the local shelter at 9800 Liberini Ave., Oakdale, right now and adoptive and/or foster homes are needed.
Among those waiting for a new forever home is Ada, a Husky.
Scarcely a year old and gorgeous, Ada is essentially growing up in the shelter. She has been in and out of the shelter since December. She was adopted once and brought back for having “too much energy.” That energy is both a curse and a blessing, but it is what Ada has in abundance. She also has other qualities prized by dog owners like extreme intelligence and fierce loyalty. And yet, she finds herself confined to a small concrete kennel for months, and her plight is all too common.
Ada is the face of a canine crisis that is overwhelming animal shelters everywhere.
“Huskies have been surrendered to shelters in record numbers in recent years with many not making it out alive,” said Debbie Kopilow, a canine coaching expert.
It is the same story in shelters all over the country. Stunningly beautiful Huskies, leaping and lunging at the steel bars that confine them to their kennels. Probably no dog breed is less able to survive the stress of an animal shelter.
Kopilow said she believes the staggering number of Huskies is due to them being featured in recent TV shows and movies. Adorable puppies that often grow into unmanageable dogs for the average pet owner. They can jump and climb over fences and out of yards, run like the wind and need regular, vigorous exercise to keep them happy. They can be great escape artists.
“Huskies were bred to run long distances and have great stamina,” added Kopilow. “They are very intelligent and have a lot of energy, more than most people can keep up with. Left to their own devices they can be destructive.”
Kopilow explained that most people have good intentions when adopting a Husky puppy, but once the dog is home and grows up, it can “prove to be too much for the family and the dog ends up in a shelter.”
Once at a shelter, it is a race against time to find the Husky a way out, before their mental health deteriorates.
“The longer a dog stays at the shelter, the more difficult it is to find them a home as they can become depressed and anxious,” remarked Kopilow.
With busy lives to juggle, there aren’t nearly enough knowledgeable pet owners that can successfully manage a Husky. Rescue organizations that take Huskies are overwhelmed with the sheer numbers arriving daily at community shelters. Even with dedicated volunteers and caring staff, there simply is not enough attention and exercise time available to keep a Husky from deteriorating mentally.
“We are truly at a crisis level,” stated Kopilow. “The need for adoptive and foster homes is great and is the difference between life and death for these beautiful dogs.”
She feels with commitment and training, Huskies make fabulous family pets. Kopilow urges families to consider fostering a Husky before making the decision to adopt.
“They are generally very good natured, getting along well with most people and other dogs,” shared Kopilow. “If you have an active family or runners, a Husky could be a fabulous addition. Once you decide to bring a Husky into your home and commit to its needs, it will reward you with years of companionship and entertainment.”
Ada currently resides at the Oakdale Animal Shelter and is available for adoption right now. An anonymous community member has donated Ada’s adoption fee in the hope it will help her find a good home. The number to call at the Oakdale Animal Shelter is 209-847-5625.
The same anonymous person also donated the adoption fee for Lucy, a two-year-old, good-natured German Shepherd dog. OSPA continues to sponsor adoption fees for cats and kittens at $25 each. All adoptions (dog and cat) include the spay/neuter, microchip and vaccinations.