Love at First Sight
by Mark Vierthaler
The first time I saw Akila, she was overweight, walked with a limp and seemed jumpy whenever anyone got too close to her. She had already had a bit of a rough-scrabble life. She was well known to the authorities and had been in and out of lockup since she was just a kid. She'd grown old and grumpy, but with a heart of gold.
And it was love at first sight.
Let me back up. Akila is my family's Malamute that we rescued almost two years ago through Pet's Miracle Network just outside Dodge.
When my wife first sent me the listing for another dog, I was convinced she had lost her mind. After all, this was the same woman that drug her feet before we got our first dog – a Labrador named Titan. Why was she sending me a link to this chubby wolfish dog if she WASN'T expecting me to immediately adopt her?
After dropping a line to Pets Miracle, I scheduled a time to go out and meet Akila. She looked a bit rough around the edges, but that wasn't because of lack of effort on Pets Miracle's part. While chatting with the founder and owner, Monica Seaton, it was revealed that Akila had been brought in only a few days before she was scheduled to be put down in the middle of August. They paid for her to be groomed, got her teeth cleaned, made sure she was fixed, and got all of her vaccinations up to date.
There she came hobbling in, overweight and grumpy. And she immediately climbed up onto the couch right next to me, laid her head on my leg and began thumping her tail. How were we not going to adopt her by this point?
For the past 12 years, Seaton has helped pets find their homes not just in the Dodge City area, but across the world as well. Pets have found homes in Florida, Texas, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Washington State, Oklahoma Nebraska, Minnesota and even Germany.
When Seaton first moved to the Dodge City area in 1985, she began volunteering with the local humane society. However, as time went on, she began to notice that older dogs weren't accepted at many shelters. Most people, it seemed, were more interested in the young pup rather than the noble senior.
"Those dogs also deserve a good loving place to go until we can find homes for them," Seaton said. 'So I decided that I would start that. Senior dogs do not always get adopted so I do go to our shelters and pick them up. Sometimes, it's a miracle and they go right away. Other times they live out their years here."
Therein lies the true miracle of the Pets Miracle Network. The no-kill shelter gives countless animals of all shapes, sizes, species and ages another chance at life with a "forever home."
Pet Miracles Network is located on four acres of land just east of Dodge City. The crew consists solely of Seaton and a small group of volunteers taking care of an average of 160 dogs and a smattering of cats.
As they say on their website:
Pets Miracle Network is a licensed animal shelter by the State of Kansas. Our organization serves as a haven for young animals and old animals and species of all kinds. Pets Miracle Network will rescue, shelter and adopt animals in need. We are not-for-profit and are a no-kill organization. Pets Miracle Network is a new organization for the protection of animals. We have organized because there is a need in our community for a place for animals to stay as long as need be while trying to find forever homes for them.
And they work hard to ensure that their pets do end up in the correct home.
Adoption requires an application, which is individually reviewed, and the name and phone number of your veterinarian. Home checks are usually required to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all animals. They require that animals not be left tied outside for a long period of time.
Pets Miracle also asks that if the pet doesn't work out at your home that you bring them back to Pets Miracle as opposed to any other shelter.
If you cannot adopt a friend into your home right now, you can even sponsor a pet. This ensures money for necessities such as food, grooming, vet care, etc. You can e-mail or call Pets Miracle for more info on sponsorship.
In the end, Seaton said her main hope was to instill a sense of responsibility in people who own pets.
"They need to understand the responsibility," she said. "The animal is part of the family. It's a responsibility. In this throwaway culture, it's the animals that are suffering. They have a heart. They have a mind. And they cannot understand why they were abandoned."
For more information on how to adopt, call Pets Miracle Network at 620-225-6069, e-mail them at MMS3@dodgecity.net, or visit their list of pets at http://www.petfinder.com/pet-search?shelterid=KS44