Photo courtesy of Lori Yager/Allen Tate Realtors | Those attending the adoption event hosted by Allen Tate Realtors in Oak Ridge on Feb.†23 were able to see Guilford County Animal Shelterís CAST (Companion Animal Support Trailer) in use for the first time at a pet adoption event. While the animals could be viewed from the outside, inside they stayed warm, dry and away from frightening noises.
Photo by Patti Stokes/NWO | Susan Daton, director of Greensboro-based Julietís House Animal Rescue, checks on kittens her non-profit, all-volunteer organization had available for adoption at a mobile pet adoption event hosted by Allen Tate Realtors in Oak Ridge on Feb. 23.
by PATTI STOKES
OAK RIDGE - Lowes Foods, Best4K9 and the Allen Tate Realtors team in Oak Ridge, all located in Oak Ridge Commons Shopping Center, partnered with Guilford County Animal Shelter (GCAS) last month to collect donations for pets temporarily housed in the shelter. The collection drive was successful, and several boxes of supplies, ranging from towels and blankets to dog and cat toys, were collected along with cash donations.
Wanting to take things a step further, the team at Allen Tate Realtors combined the pet supply donation drive with the area's first mobile pet adoption, which they hosted at their office Feb. 23. Jorge Ortega, director of the county's animal shelter, said the event gave him and his staff an opportunity to use their mobile animal unit for the first time at an adoption event.
The unit, one of only 10 of its kind in North Carolina, was acquired last year via a grant from Homeland Security. Referred to as CAST (Companion Animal Support Trailer), it's primarily intended to use during times of emergency, when it is taken into an impacted area for animals to be temporarily housed until they are moved into a shelter, and hopefully eventually reunited with their humans.
"So, we can keep them warm, give them water, etc., until they get back into a permanent home," Ortega explained.
But the unit is designed to have multi functions, and that's what brought Ortega and some of his staff to Oak Ridge on Feb. 23. When not needed for an emergency, either in Guilford County or another impacted area, the unit is available for making pet adoptions available on the road. With multiple windows on one side of the trailer, those on the outside have an opportunity to view the animals while inside, the animals stay warm, dry and away from frightening noises.
"What we wanted to do is bring the trailer out for the first time, set it up and give it some use. It helps train our staff and see what works and what doesn't," Ortega explained.
When asked if he had any immediate observations about what might be tweaked before the CAST goes on the road for its next mobile adoption event, Ortega smiled and said, "Change the weather?" referring to the rain and cold temperatures on Feb. 23. Still, turnout was good and several cats being fostered by Juliet's House, which partners with the animal shelter, went home with their new families.
Of the donation drive, Lori Yager, broker-in-charge of Allen Tate's Oak Ridge office, said every person who dropped something off was very appreciative of the event.
"Most said they would contribute if it was closer - convenience is everything these days," Yager said. "Many people at the event thanked our agents for opening the office and were touched by the effort the Allen Tate team had made for the animals."
That effort included turning the realtors' office into a temporary kennel so that adoptable dogs the animal shelter brought to the event didn't have to be outside in the cold and rain for several hours.
"It was so damp and chilly, I just could not let the dogs and the handlers stand outside!" Yager said. "It made sense that people would be more open to adoption if they were warm also! Coming inside also helped the cash donations."
Yager, who said her office will definitely plan another pet adoption event in the future, gave credit to Ortega for his efforts to find shelter animals permanent homes.
"Jorge Ortega is a wonderful addition to GCAS - he is really making a difference and the shelter getting out into the community is a wonder for him and the shelter!" she said.