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Animals’ needs take top priority at A.D.O.P.T. - Part III of a III-Part Series

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TribLocal Aurora
By Linda Kane, A.D.O.P.T. volunteer
December 8, 2010

Lucky, a cattle-dog mix, was fortunate enough to be rescued by A.D.O.P.T. After his surgery, he quickly found a loving home. (Photo by S. Oslick)

Part 3 of a 3-Part Series: How We’re Different

Sherri Oslick, comfortable in her sweats, was ready to enjoy dinner in front of her T.V. and gear up for the work week ahead. After all, it was 6 p.m. Sunday.

Then came the call.

The Gary Animal Control had taken in a dog with its front leg severed at the “elbow,” said Laura Vivas, a fellow volunteer at Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment (A.D.O.P.T.). Vivas, part of a dog-rescue email group, saw the online posting and called Oslick, a volunteer since 2003.

Dinner would wait; a rescue trip was more important.

“We were the dog’s only hope,” Oslick said. “No one would take this dog.”

The dog, a cattle-dog mix, had allegedly gotten his leg stuck in a trap approximately a week before. “Basically, the leg was a stump with raw flesh,” Oslick said. “And when we got the dog back to the shelter, we found live maggots.”

Monday morning, Dr. Jerry Withers, a veterinarian at the Eola Animal Hospital, examined the dog. There was no doubt: The leg, the bulk of which was necrotic, must be amputated.

The dog, appropriately named “Lucky” by shelter volunteers, recovered well and got adopted quickly, Oslick said. “[Lucky] was so sweet; he would give kisses,” she added.

A.D.O.P.T. focuses on special-needs animals. “Many organizations wouldn’t take an animal like that [a dog with three legs],” Oslick said. “There’s no reason why these animals shouldn’t be given the same opportunities as other dogs.”


Besides spaying/neutering all of its own animals, A.D.O.P.T. partners with several other rescue groups, such as Aurora Animal Control (A.A.C.) and Fox Valley Animal Welfare League (F.V.A.W.L.).

Linda Nass, A.A.C. manager, said that it has always been her goal to get all their animals spayed/neutered prior to adoption. And so, when Rich Glessner (A.D.O.P.T.’s director of operations) approached her about its spay/neuter program, Nass said “it was a God-send.”

Every Friday A.A.C. transports cats and dogs to A.D.O.P.T.’s Naperville facility for spaying and neutering. As of Dec. 1, 2010, A.D.O.P.T. had spayed/neutered/vaccinated 552 animals for A.A.C., according to Nass’s records.

Prior to a few months ago, A.A.C. had to drive to Mokena for spaying/neutering.

“It’s a blessing to have these animals spayed and neutered and not have to drive a far distance to do it,” Nass said. “We now know that the animals leave here with a good start.”

F.V.A.W.L President Ellen Wullbrandt says both groups share the same philosophy – everything is for the animals’ well being.

“The people at A.D.O.P.T. are very caring,” Wullbrandt said. “I know that an animal is going to get phenomenal care here. I know that if a medical issue arises, [the animal] will be taken care of.”

And on two Mondays each month, A.D.O.P.T. sponsors a low-cost spay-neuter clinic so that low-income families can have their animals spayed/neutered/vaccinated for a minimal fee.


Volunteer Candace Adkins says the shelter staff and volunteers clean twice daily. “The shelter is bright; it’s welcoming,” Atkins said. “We’re a happy place. We try to give [the animals] the life as if it were their ‘forever’ home.”

Adkins said A.D.O.P.T.’s cats live in “community rooms,” not cages, which promote healthier, more sociable cats. They have more opportunities for interaction with other cats as well as humans. Thus, she said, they are better prepared for adoption.

Wullbrandt said that many innovations, like the cat community rooms, occur at A.D.O.P.T. “I look at A.D.O.P.T. and think, ‘Maybe someday we can have that at AAC/FVAWL,’” she said. “We like to be a part of this because we are inspired to BE this.”

A.D.O.P.T.’s dogs go outside several times a day. The shelter has a dog-walking program and play groups. “There’s nothing cuter than seeing three or four dogs playing together,” Adkins said. “How healthy is that for a dog–the social, the behavioral. It makes the dog ready to place.”

Adkins said the shelter has the protocols and processes in place that allow it to help animals’ needs.

“This is our mission; this is our vision,” she said. “Every day we achieve it. We have not lost sight of it, nor will we ever lose sight of it. And we’re looking forward to building upon it.”

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