If you’ve been near the Yukon animal shelter lately, you’ve seen construction under way on a future City of Yukon building. Landmark Construction Group is the contractor for a $2 million project that will be a new Yukon animal control facility expected to be finished by late 2019.
At the same time, Pets & People Humane Society has undertaken an ambitious project of its own. Pets & People has shared space with the City of Yukon in its animal control building for many years. This pairing at times has been tumultuous due to overpopulation.
Thankfully, times are a-changing. With construction proceeding on a new city shelter, Pets & People has announced plans to build a rescue site to the west on a three-acre property the organization owns. A dog park on this property will remain after this new rescue facility opens.
Preliminary plans have been drawn and the Pets & People board will soon engage an architect/engineer and contractor. It is a positive step for Pets & People to embark on its own and build a stand-alone facility for homeless animals.
This is a grand undertaking for the “no-kill” humane society. Over the past 25 years, Pets & People has rescued more than 50,000 cats and dogs. Pets & People endeavors to save all dogs and cats, when possible, and relies on local families that will provide “foster” homes until animals can be adopted out to loving “forever” homes.
My first cat, a Siamese mix named Whiskers, was a Christmas present in 2003 from friends Bart and Nancy Nicholson who had secured the furry bundle of joy from Pets & People.
When I started at the Yukon newspaper in the early 1990s, the first Pets & People meetings were held at Randel and Karen Grigsby’s newspaper office.
I fondly recall taking photographs of adoptable animals for our “Pet of the Week” feature. We’d usually pair a cute kid with an adorable pet for the photo shoot. It was often a challenge getting both to look at the camera!
One time, Denise Johnson brought her middle daughter Avery for a Pet of the Week picture. That little girl is now Avery Moore, the Yukon Chamber of Commerce president!
I have gotten to know pet lovers like Jody Harlan, Edy Bauer, Karen Musselman, Peggy Nichols, and others who helped Pets & People in its mission over the years.
Peggy, a longtime friend from our Yukon Jaycees’ days, regularly volunteers to walk dogs and work weekend adoption fairs. In the mid-‘90s, we Jaycees would bring Pets & People dogs to Yukon nursing homes to spread cheer to residents there. One Christmas, I even agreed to dress up as Jolly St. Nick for a “Santa Paws” fundraiser at a south Oklahoma City PetsMart.
Pets & People is working harder than ever to reduce our homeless pet population, but it takes committed pet owners to adopt these animals. Just go down to the shelter (701 Inla, near the City of Yukon transfer station) and you’ll see the challenge they face.
Unfortunately, people who sign contracts to adopt animals sometimes back out and return to Pets & People. During the week of spring break, 11 pets were returned to the local humane society. Well, at least they didn’t dump animals by the roadside like some idiots.
There are a couple ways you can help control the pet population – beyond spaying and neutering. Please support a capital campaign that Pets & People will soon launch. The organization has some seed money for its rescue site building campaign, but an estimated $300,000-$500,000 will be needed to complete the project. More details to come.
All you pet lovers are encouraged to visit the shelter or view animals awaiting new homes on Pets & People’s website. If you cannot adopt, consider serving as a “foster” home for animals awaiting placement. There are some animals that have been at Pets & People for years and, through no fault of their own, have not found the right forever home for them.
Check out Pets & People’s website (www.petsandpeople.com) and click on the word “Adopt” at the top. You will be directed to photo lists with descriptions of adoptable dogs and cats. Adoption fees are $130 for dogs and $85 for cats. The price for felines over one year old has been slashed to $40.
As an honorary lifetime Pets & People member, I appreciate more than ever the commitment its board of directors and volunteers have. Some dedicate many hours on their own time leading the organization and helping out at the shelter.
The professional leadership provided by board president Deena Smith and vice president Amy Young is critical at this time in Pets & People’s evolution. A bright future is ahead!
* * *
SPEAKING OF PETS & PEOPLE: One more way to help is by bringing your old electronics to 1000 Garth Brooks Blvd. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday for Pets & People’s annual recycling event.
Most electronics with a battery or power cord will be accepted; fees will be charged to recycle televisions ($20 each), monitors and printers ($10 each). No large appliances or air conditioners, however.
Free data destruction on hard drives (using Department of Defense software) will be provided. Bring down those old TVs, computers and other electronics Saturday and help Pets & People!