By Katie Smith

Pets can bring such joy into your life. Now more than ever, people are looking into adopting pets and it’s no surprise there are many heartwarming stories about cats and dogs finding their forever homes. However, there are still many pets who need good homes and for Bangor Humane Society, it hasn’t been without its struggles this last year.

“We’ve been managing well with the pandemic, although we have run into the same issues that so many other businesses and organizations have in the last 18 months, which is that sometimes staffing has been a challenge,” said Kathryn Ravenscraft, Director of Development at the Bangor Humane Society.

Ravenscraft adds they’ve had to close a number of times because of positive Covid cases in the building which was unavoidable due to all the people out there wanting to adopt a pet.

The biggest challenge for the Bangor Humane Society over the past year has been the number of animals with medical and/or behavior challenges being surrendered or picked up as strays in the area. 

“It has put a little strain on our capacity. We may only have a dozen animals listed as available on our website, but at any given time we have more than a hundred animals in the building that need our care before they are adoptable.”

BHS is committed to their mission of championing humane treatment and adoption. Their live-release rate remains an outstanding 99%, but the resources required to make sure all of their special friends find homes is substantial. They simply ask that those seeking adoptable animals continue their patience and support while they triage, treat and prepare to release animals to the adoption floor.

The BHS building went through an extensive renovation which wrapped up during the summer of 2020. “It’s pretty spectacular and has helped us not only be better able to manage the capacity of animals we see, but has cut down significantly on disease transmission, especially among cats,” said Ravenscraft. 

The renovation added administrative space, increased clinical space and upgraded their cat kennels to cat condos so that the cats have more room to move and climb. It also included an upgraded HVAC system, which has improved air quality for animals and people. “No more cat litter smell when you walk in the doors. It’s pretty great,” Ravenscraft said of the new space.

A freshly upgraded building has helped their mission to get pets to their forever homes and BHS has some inspiring stories to share from 2021.

Princess & Shawn

One of their most special adoption stories is that of a beautiful female pitbull named Princess. 

“An absolutely beautiful dog, she was surrendered to us in April 2020 and was immediately apprehensive. It was clear she had some stranger-danger and needed some work to build up her confidence and trust again,” said Ravenscraft. “She was one of those dogs that I discussed above — a GREAT dog, but placing her was a challenge because she needed to be the only animal in the home, which is tough to find.”

Ravenscraft explained that most folks who visit shelters are looking to grow their fur families and rarely don’t have other animals in the home so this was a challenge to say the least.

However, after spending more than a year in the shelter, her fur-ever friend walked through the door and it was love at first sight. “Our staff was so excited to see Princess finding the home she so deserved and word spread quickly that she was being adopted. A few of our staff members hurried in on their day off to say goodbye. Her new owner, Shawn, says she settled in beautifully almost right away, goes everywhere with him, and that they are a match made in heaven,” said Ravenscraft.

Three Sisters

Another inspiring story involved three sister cats who needed a home. 

“Dream, Destiny and Divine were three cat sisters who came to us with vision challenges,” said Ravenscraft. “Two of them were blind and one was visually impaired.” 

The cat sisters needed to be placed together because they grew to rely on each other to feel safe and secure. Adopting three cats at once is a tall order, especially three that needed some specialized care, but the right person came through the shelter at the right time and they all went home together after a relatively short stay.

Home Fur the Holidays

In the new year, Bangor Humane Society is embarking on an adoption campaign called Home Fur the Holidays for a few of their special friends. Ravenscraft explains that some of them have been at the shelter for a year or more and “it would mean so much to us to have them find their forever families before the new year. They all deserve it,” she said. 

A snuggly, chonky 7-year-old tabby named Sammy was surrendered by his owner in August 2020 following a diagnosis of diabetes. “After more than a year of working to get his levels controlled, Sammy is now healthy and happy and ready for a home of his own,” said Ravenscraft. Sammy does need insulin shots twice a day and a special prescription food so a  vet relationship will be required for the family who wants to take him home. He’s not a fan of other cats either, but as long as dogs and kids are willing to give him space, he should do fine with those groups, added Ravenscraft.

Lavender is a friendly and playful 2-year-old Treeing Walker Coonhound surrendered to BHS in June 2020 after her owner sadly passed away. She is a young dog with lots of energy; she’ll need room to ramble and consistent supervision. Though Lavender gets along with other dogs during play, she is food possessive and cannot be housed with other dogs. She also likes to chase cats, so she’ll need to be the only pet in the home. 

Lavender has allergies that make her skin red and itchy, but a special diet seems to be working nicely and will be easy for new owners to keep up with. “With a little training, this dog will give years of kisses, smiles, love and loyalty,” said Ravenscraft.

Bailey also needs a home. She is a sweet, energetic 8-year-old hound mix. Originally surrendered in 2017, she quickly found a home where she lived for four wonderful years. 

“Unfortunately, her new owners recently moved and were unable to take her with them, so Bailey is back, hoping her next placement really is forever,” said Ravenscraft. “Bailey’s got a little stranger-danger and can get over excited when she’s exposed to too much stimuli, so her new family will need to be patient. Even though she’s moving into her senior years, this ball of energy has years of love left to give.”

Duke was adopted from BHS as a puppy in February 2020. In January 2021, he was returned because his owners could no longer care for him. Duke is housebroken and crate-trained, and exhibited no destructive behaviors if left by himself at home for extended periods. He lived happily with two children and his previous owners think he may do well with dog-savvy cats. He has a sweet, friendly disposition.

“Shortly after arriving, Duke became protective of his kennel and was selective about the staff he allowed to leash and handle him,” said Ravenscraft. “We worked hard to make him feel safe and comfortable so that he could begin meeting with prospective adopters. We think he may have a tendency to be protective of a new family and home, so we simply suggest cautious introductions of new people.”

Delilah also needs a fur-ever home. She was rescued from the mean streets of Miami and brought to BHS in April 2019. “We believe her experiences from her time being homeless made this little Parson Russell Terrier mix very people selective. Her perfect match is someone who will let Delilah take her time getting comfortable and learning to trust,” said Ravenscraft. 

Delilah can’t go home with other dogs or with cats, and will need a home with only adult humans not prone to sudden movements or loud noises. Delilah loves to snuggle and once you’ve earned her trust, she is adoring and loyal.

If you have been thinking about adding a pet to your family, visit BHS and you may just find your fur-ever pet. Visit bangorhumane.org, where you can also find a wishlist of donation items.

See this Section as it appeared in print here