Tuesday morning, the only dogs at the Animal Adoption Center in Hobbs were big dogs who looked as if they might have American bull dog or pit bull in their ancestry.
Adult cats in their glass enclosures obviously came from a great variety of ancestors, including plain black, tortoise shell, calico, black and white, orange and white and a variety of others.
Whatever their ancestry, the dogs each had a red Christmas stocking hanging on its kennel, waiting for it to be filled by people who may not be able to take on the responsibility of a dog in the house, but who want to provide for an animal.
The cats also got stockings, although the liveliest of them might believe they are playthings to be batted about.
All but one of the dozen or so dogs rushed to the bars of the kennel, wagging tails in a frenzy of joy that someone had visited them. They smiled and stood on their hind legs with as much of their noses against the bars as they could get. They were, of course, trying to persuade someone to take them to a forever home.
The cats were more subtle, most of them preferring to appear aloof and disinterested. Some, however, climbed on shelves close to the glass, rubbing against it and lifting a paw to entice some soft-hearted person who was just looking.
Whether a dog or a cat, the staff at the Adoption Center, along with the officers and members of the Lea County Humane Society, are hoping that Santa will visit the center with gifts of food, blankets and suitable toys.
Missy Funk, who directs much of the work at the center and assists the Humane Society in its transport program, said they are feeding both cats and dogs dry food right now.
“We need Purina or Pedigree dog chow,” she said. “And we need Purina Cat Chow or Meow Mix. People also can bring toys. For the dogs, toys made of plastic or other material that can’t be chewed up easily. For the cats, toys that can be batted around. We can also use blankets or large towels.”
Funk said the Adoption Center is running a program to encourage people to adopt a pet. During the month of December, people can pay the adoption fee of $25, which will get them a pet that has all its vaccinations and has been spayed or neutered, or they can bring a new toy, worth at least $10 as payment for their new fur baby.
Pete Turner, president of the Lea County Humane Society, said he always hopes that the animals sheltered at the Adoption Center will be adopted locally, “but we keep our transport program going every week. We send 35 or 40 animals to other rescue groups or humane societies to places where animals for adoption are scarce in the van the Humane Society bought last year. That’s a lot of animals.”
Turner said animals transported have already been spoken for in the places where they are left.
“Missy and others send pictures of the animals and people pick the one they want, so every animal has a home when it gets to its destination,” Turner said.
Providing food, blankets and toys for animals and paying for their transportation to other places is expensive, Turner has said in previous interviews.
That’s why, in addition to the food, blankets and toys Santa will bring to the Adoption Center, it would also be nice if some of Santa’s helpers provided money to help pay the bills.
Turner said that one of the fundraisers next year may be asking individuals and businesses to sponsor a kennel in the center.
“If we decide to do that, the sponsor will get a tag with his or her name on it placed on the kennel,” he said. “We did this about two years ago, and we may do it again next year.”
In the meantime, people who want to make a monetary donation can mail a check to Lea County Humane Society, PO Box 1192, Hobbs, NM 88240.