Champaign County Humane Society seeking volunteers, 'fur-ever' homes

Champaign County Humane Society seeking volunteers, 'fur-ever' homes

URBANA — Live long and prosper.

That's the wish for animals at the Champaign County Humane Society, where dogs, cats, rabbits and a few other species can live safely for months while waiting for that special human who will give them love for the rest of their lives.

Yep, chinchillas and rats, too. Oh, and by the way, geckos.

"We've had a few geckos returned when the people said they took too much attention," said events and marketing coordinator Rebecca Ries.

Mainly, there are lots and lots of cats, and lots of rabbits, because they breed like ... well, you know.

"We are an open-admissions shelter, so we accept animals despite their age, physical condition or adoptability," Ries said.

In Catmandu, Barbara Jauhola is a volunteer who has 40 years of cat experience, as many as four of them at a time.

The retiree is between felines at the moment, and she's showering attention on Tanya, a longtime resident of Catmandu — here since Sept. 11.

"I don't know why she hasn't been adopted. She's so sweet," Jauhola said.

With students gone, volunteers are especially needed to clean up and to lavish attention on the Tanyas of the world.

Longtime loving keeps the kennel crowded, especially for cats.

The humane society has served Champaign County for more than 100 years and is the area's only open-admission animal shelter. After a stay in Bondville, it's been housed near county offices off Main Street since 1988.

"There's never been an addition in all this time," Ries said.

Thus, many of the cats and small animals are housed in the hallways and lobby due to lack of space.

Crowding is as bad for cats and dogs as it is for people.

It can be hard on the animals, said animal behavior specialist Breanne Tabbert. (She also supervises volunteers; "consistency is the key" for them.) Stressed animals are more susceptible to disease; healthier pets are adopted more quickly.

A big part of Tabbert's role is helping animals adjust to the communal life.

Ries said that the shelter's animals can have very long stays.

On a tour of the shelter, a few favorites who really need human friends:

Deborah, a tan and white spayed female chihuahua and dachshund mix, about 10 years and 4 months old. She was brought into the shelter on Dec. 26 as a requested euthanasia.

"She is a super sweet dog that would love nothing more than cuddling with someone on the couch!" she added.

Mildred is a spayed female brown tabby and white domestic shorthair, at the shelter since Sept. 2.

"Mildred can be a little shy at first, but with time, patience and the occasional tempting treat, will warm right up and be a big snuggle bug," staff members say.As a senior cat at the shelter, Mildred's adoption fee is waived.

Jackson is a 6-year-old cat "who loves to rub against your hands, arms and legs. He enjoys leaning in for snuggles and batting around string toys, followed by having a nice snack. Jackson would enjoy being in a quiet and more relaxed home, as he can get overwhelmed by too much excitement."

He's been at the shelter since July 11.

Vera is a female tabby cat in the shelter since Aug. 11. Vera has a history of urinary crystals, but a prescription diet has taken care of that, said medical lab supervisor Amanda Krawiec.

"Some people hesitate to adopt animals on prescription diets, but it's an easy way to manage certain health issues," said shelter veterinarian Dr. Traci Gilbert.

Right now, there are no long-term dogs at the shelter.

But you might consider Margaret, who is a ginormous spayed female albino New Zealand rabbit.

Margaret was brought in as a stray from an animal control facility.

She was quickly adopted out but didn't get along with her adopter's resident rabbit and was returned, staffers said.

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Topics (2):Social Services, Pets