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Our Programs

Animals with Special Needs

We often help injured animals as well as those with illnesses. We work with abused and unsocialized animals so that they can become adoptable companions. These animals can be “sponsored” with a regular donation - a great opportunity for those who can’t adopt. 


Since 2010, Adopt-A-Pet found loving homes for over 15,000 cats and dogs. Many of those animals required significant medical care and attention.


TNR (Trap, Neuter and Return) 

Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is a unique program to the area. We do not receive any government or county funding for this program. Thousands of these community cats are killed in shelters each year because they are unadoptable. Feral cats are unsocialized cats that do not enjoy being around humans. Stray cats may be aloof but will still enjoy some attention. Both cats are considered community cats. Killing community cats is not the solution – it’s just taking a life. These cats deserve to live as much as any other.


Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is widely recognized as the most humane and effective strategy for reducing the community cat population. People who are caring for a colony of feral or stray cats may fill out an application and have those homeless animals spayed or neutered. They will no longer reproduce. We will not relocate these cats. Studies have proven that is not the solution – cats come and repopulate the area.


These cats must not belong to anyone and must have adequate shelter and food outside. The person filling out the application must agree to continue feeding and providing shelter after the animals have been altered. This program will greatly reduce the amount of homeless cats euthanized each year.


If you are interested in this program, please fill out the application as well as read the two supporting documents from Alley Cat Allies: 


Ear Tipping 


K-9 Enrichment

We are honored to share that Adopt-A-Pet uses a new and exciting Enrichment Program to benefit the lives of our shelter dogs during their stay at our center.  Although dogs can’t say when they’re bored, they can express their boredom, stress level, and anxiety in any number of ways. Common behavioral responses to the tedium and stress of kennel life include: barking, jumping, spinning, chewing, snapping, resource guarding, and withdrawing.


How the Enrichment Program Helps

Shelter enrichment programs can make a major difference in the daily life of these rescue dogs: A variety of in-kennel and out-of-kennel experiences engage dogs and make their days more interesting. When engaged in enrichment activities, dogs are less likely to develop inappropriate behaviors that are their own efforts at relieving boredom and stress. Enrichment helps dogs maintain their mental, physical and emotional health so that they remain good adoption candidates and don’t become behaviorally at risk.


Enrichment Tips

Think like a dog. A rope toy soaked in meat broth, frozen and then offered as a chew treat may sound messy and gross to you, but dogs are fine with messy and gross. You can offer canine enrichment without creating a lot of extra work for shelter staff.


Adopt-A-Pet incorporates enrichment activities into the daily routine. You can create a robust program on a tight budget. For example, Adopt-A-Pet created food-dispensing devices out of free and low-cost paper products, such as lunch bags, toilet paper and paper towel rolls. We also use old cupcake tins, bundt cake pans, etc. Great enrichment opportunities are available in your recycle bin! Variety and change themselves are enriching experiences, and you can use this to your advantage. We fine-tune the program for individual dogs’ needs and preferences. If the dog doesn’t interact with it, it’s not enrichment.


A toy or treat that sits untouched in the kennel does not enrich that dog’s environment. Enrichment doesn’t replace training and behavior modification. We build some basic positive reinforcement training into activities with staff and volunteers. Dogs who are behaviorally at-risk still need separate behavior modification sessions with a staff member or trained volunteer. Because dogs are social animals, social interaction is extremely important to most dogs, especially dogs who are confined separately in kennels. For dogs with no known aggression toward other dogs, playtime with other dogs and time with humans are the highest-value enrichment experiences that we can provide. Your support in the program helps keep these rescue dogs very happy, which in return, makes them more adoptable! Thank You!


Adopt-A-Pet incorporates daily in-kennel enrichment for their dogs into routine activities that shelter staff already perform, such as cleaning kennels and feeding.


Daily kennel enrichment focuses on three sources of sensory stimulation:

  • Different scents throughout the week (olfactory stimulation)

  • Music playing in the background (auditory stimulation)

  • Different toys each day (varied stimulation depending on the toy)


Variety is key to the success of enrichment and is itself enriching. Modest but pleasant changes in the dog's environment help prevent dogs from becoming at-risk behaviorally during their stay at the shelter. Adopt-A-Pet varies the scents, music, and toys when possible. They would do it more frequently if they had a larger staff. Remember that enrichment is enriching only when the animal chooses to interact with it and it has the desired effect.



We introduce different scents. We have aromatherapy using diffusers throughout our kennels. Common scents used are Lavender, Thieves, Peace and Calming, Rescue Remedy, Peppermint, Stress Away, Serenity, and Trauma Life. Some scents are not well received. These are removed from the rotation.


Music for the Soul

Some classical music can be soothing and calming to dogs who have been in the shelter for a long time. Recordings of household sounds and children may help acclimate puppies and kittens to their future homes. Natural sounds like birdsong may be interesting to bored, long-stay residents or in very quiet shelters.


All animals have quiet time each night. We are aware that if the same music plays all day every day, the animals will filter it out. We strive for variety in the music and alternate it with quiet time.


Toy Box

Rotating toys through the kennels is an easy way to make kennel life more interesting for shelter dogs. We use Kongs, balls, plush toys, squeeker toys, enrichment puzzles, Nylabones, etc.


Adopt-A-Pet staff changes the toys in each kennel daily. You can change the toys more frequently if you have the time. We always remember that it's not enrichment if the dog doesn't interact with the toy. If a dog doesn't show interest in a certain type of toy, we remove it and try a different one.


Adopt-A-Pet devised many clever, easy ways to turn food, even basic kibble, into stimulating experiences for our dogs to enjoy in their kennels. By presenting food in many different ways throughout the week, Adopt-A-Pet is able to use food to provide multiple sources of stimulation:

  • Taste and smell

  • Oral, tactile, and mental stimulation 


This variety of food experience is particularly good for dogs with food-guarding tendencies. Having an abundance and variety of food experiences throughout the day helps reduce these dogs’ impulse to protect their food by decreasing the “value” of food. “Mouthy” dogs who really enjoy a good chew also benefit.


Adopt-A-Pet rarely feeds the dogs out of regular bowls. They always have some kind of special way of eating in order to make mealtime interesting.


Note: Save the really good stuff, such as hot dogs, chunks of cheese, “cookies,” and other high-value foods, to use only in training and behavior modification. You want these treats to retain their high value as incentives for desired behaviors.


We love to experiment with other simple treats, such as:

  • Frozen cubes of diluted broth

  • Gelatin cubes of chicken or beef broth

  • Kibbles frozen in ice cubes

  • Rope/chew toys (natural fibers only) soaked in broth and then frozen

  • Fresh, crunchy fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, wedges of apple (cored), and cucumbers


We vary both the presentation and the food throughout the week. We monitor how the dogs respond to different foods and presentations and fine-tune our offerings. Adopt-A-Pet dogs were unimpressed by applesauce Kongs, so these were replaced with Kongs stuffed with canned dog food, which is much more popular.


SNAP(Spay/Neuter Assistance Program)

Adopt-A-Pet is committed to helping reduce the number of animals entering overcrowded shelters each year. These animals are often the babies of family pets, even purebreds. Spay/Neuter is the only permanent birth control for dogs and cats.  It is healthier and safer for your pets. This is why we implemented programs to help. 


Adopt-A-Pet began a subsidized spay/neuter program in 2008. The program has helped fix more than 15,000 animals. SNAP (Spay/Neuter Assistance Program) is designed to help people in our community who want to do what is healthy for their furry companion; however, are not able to afford it. The individuals pay a greatly reduced fee for the spay/neuter, rabies vaccine, heartworm or FIV/FELV testing, etc. Our veterinarians are experienced vets who want to help. People using this program receive quality care at a lower cost.  If you are interested in this program, please fill out this application.


There are several benefits to the SNAP program:


  1. Your female dog or cat will live a longer, healthier life

    Spaying—the removal of the ovaries and uterus—is a veterinary procedure performed under general anesthesia that usually requires minimal hospitalization. Spaying a female cat or dog helps prevent pyometra (pus-filled uterus) and breast cancer. Treatment of pyometra requires hospitalization, intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Breast cancer can be fatal in about 50 percent of female dogs and in 90 percent of female cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

  2. There are major health benefits for your male animal companion, too

    Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male dog or cat—the surgical removal of the testicles—prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.

  3. Your spayed female won't go into heat

    While cycles can vary greatly, female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house. Unspayed female dogs generally have a bloody discharge for about a week, and can conceive for another week or so.

  4. Your male dog won't need to roam away from home...

    An intact male in search of a mate will do just about anything to get one! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.

  5. …and he will be much better behaved to boot

    Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Indoors, male dogs may embarrass you by mounting furniture and human legs when stimulated. And FYI, a neutered dog protects his home and family just as well as unneutered dog--and many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.

  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat

    It's no use to use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

  7. Spaying or neutering is highly cost-effective

    The cost of your pet's spay or neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered male escapes and gets into fights with neighborhood strays—or the cost of cleaning the carpet that your unspayed female keeps mistaking for her litter box, or the cost of—well, you get the idea!

  8. It's good for the community

    Stray animals pose real problems in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause vehicular accidents, damage the local fauna and scare children.

  9. Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to witness the miracle of birth

    We've heard this one a lot. But you know what? Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping teaches your children irresponsibility. Anyone who has seen an animal euthanized in a shelter for lack of a home knows the truth behind this dangerous myth. There are countless books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a responsible manner.

  10. It packs a powerful punch in the fight against pet overpopulation

    Millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized annually or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unwanted, unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

Meet Hank

Prior to coming to Adopt-A-Pet, Hank had been left in a cage 24/7 for three months straight. He came to us with a large tumor on his side, and heartworm positive. While in our care, he was neutered, the tumor removed (and found to be benign) and his heartworm disease was treated. After an 8 month stay at Adopt-A-Pet, a happy, healthy Hank found his forever home.


Animals with Special Needs
K-9 Enrichment
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