Regardless of the weather, it’s
always raining cats and dogs at the Cayman Islands Humane Society shelter on
North Sound Road. The establishment takes in approximately 1,200 dogs and 840
cats a year. And although staff try to find forever and foster homes for all
the animals, it’s a sad fact that if they are not adopted within a few months,
euthanasia is the only option to avoid inevitable overcrowding. The shelter
have an alternative to euthanasia for puppies and smaller dogs, the local
Humane Society has an arrangement with Broward Humane Society, which accepts up
to 20 dogs, on a quarterly basis, who have had their shots are in good health
and have been spayed/neutered. The dogs are transported on Cayman Airways with
two or three volunteers to the shelter in Ft. Lauderdale where there are usually
adopted within a week or two.
So how do you go about giving a cat/dog a home?
Having a pet can appreciatively
improve the quality of an owner’s life; while at the same time provide a
permanent home for shelter animals.
The shelter is open Monday through
Friday from 9am to 5pm and on Saturday from 9am to 4pm, and welcomes visitors.
Some visitors become volunteers and/or decide to adopt a pet.
Having decided which animal is most
suitable for you, the next step is usually to pay one or two visits to the
shelter to meet and hopefully bond with a shelter buddy.
Once you have decided on which cat
or dog to take home permanently, the shelter staff will give you an adoption
form and arrange a home visit.
The shelter’s new sleep-over
programme allows potential owners to take home the animal of their choice for
an extended stay for a few days before you decide whether to go ahead with
formalising an adoption.
“It is hoped that by allowing the
doggie or kitty to socialise out of the shelter they can bond and adjust to
their new home,” said the shelter’s liaison officer, Twila Escalante.
You don’t even have to be a
potential owner to have a sleep-over, and it’s free.
“We just ask that you complete an
evaluation form to help us to identify any issues that we need to improve with
the doggy or kitty,” said Ms Escalante.
The adoption process
Adopting a pet is relatively quick
and the paper work and home visit can be completed in a day.
The adoption fees include
spay/neutering and all the shots the animal will need for a year. Cats and
kittens cost $70 to adopt, and dogs and puppies are $90. Owners are asked to
keep their pets up to date with shots to prevent them from contracting fatal
and debilitating illnesses.
“The summer months are usually very
difficult as a lot of people leave the island without their pets, but we strive
onwards and never give up,” the liaison officer said.
The shelter, which is constantly
looking for new ways to match pets with potential owners, is currently holding
mobile adoptions at locations around Grand Cayman. The adoption team is
encouraged by the turnout at these events and has arranged dozens of adoptions
and sleep-overs since the programme started.
“We would like to stress and
encourage adopters to adopt a dog or cat for life,” Ms Escalante said.
As well as offering animal
adoptions, the shelter offers a range of assistance to those who have pets.
“If your pet is not behaving, or if
you have other issues, we can help with temporary financial assistance or
arrange for you to meet with our volunteer dog trainer, Mr. Kenneth Morgan,”
the shelter assistant said.
A shelter puppy formerly known as
Pirate chose her owners, Richard Bryan and Jenni Bradwell, four months ago. The
couple, who regularly volunteer to walk shelter dogs, were attracted to the
puppy’s pleasant demeanour having taken her on numerous walks. Once they
adopted the dog, they renamed her Puddles – an excellent choice given her
fondness for water.
“She particularly enjoys splashing
about on the beach, is usually well-behaved and is a good guard dog,” said Mr.
“Everyone thinks she’s cute.”
A great tale
Frankie Grainger owns Bella, a
soft-hearted Akita/German Shepherd mix. According to Ms Grainger, Bella was
picked up in East End with her puppy last December.
“Apparently, they found her with a
note requesting that the Humane Society find a home for her and her puppy. The
puppy was easy to find a home for, but as is so often the case, Bella being
older was harder to place for and was in the shelter for about six months
before we adopted her.”
Ms Grainger met Bella after a
friend chose to foster her so that Bella, who is heart worm positive, could get
the necessary treatment.
“Bella is amazing, I never knew I
could love a dog this much,” she said.
“When dogs find out what life they
can have with you they appreciate it so much,” she added.
“It can be hard at first, but when
the bond is made, it is forever. We have taken Bella out everywhere, including
on our friends boat, she really loved that, and she loves swimming and eating!
She has learned very quickly… When we eventually return to England Bella will
be coming back to England with us.”