COLUMBUS — One look from Tex was all it took to steal Deb Day’s heart.
The Norfolk woman was touring Erna R. Badstieber Paws and Claws Adoption Center shortly after the facility first opened in Columbus. She was there to get a look at the new shelter and gather information to start a similar facility in her community.
Day found what she was looking for and a bit more when she walked past the dogs. One of the canines in particular peered at her from his enclosure. She isn’t sure why, but Tex caught her eye.
The doberman pinscher mix wasn’t exactly her type of dog. She preferred her four-legged pals be tiny and fluffy, like the Shih Tzu she already owned.
Tex, who was about 2 years old at the time, was large with a smooth coat.
After Day left Paws and Claws and headed home, Tex stayed on her mind.
“All I could think about was that dog,” she said.
In the following weeks, she kept in touch with Paws and Claws, sending emails to check up on Tex and see if he had a new home yet. Eventually she decided to adopt him herself.
“He’s been perfect for us,” Day said of Tex, who was welcomed into her home about a decade ago.
That adoption was one of the first at Paws and Claws. Since the facility opened here on Jan. 1, 2008, hundreds of dogs and cats have found new homes.
The shelter has taken in almost 7,000 dogs and cats over the past 10 years. Of those, 1,633 dogs and 1,835 cats have been adopted. A high claim rate (56 percent for dogs and 4.5 percent for cats) helps reunite lost pets with their owners.
Paws and Claws is overseen by the Platte Valley Humane Society, which was established in the 1960s. The nonprofit promotes the proper treatment of animals, education and spaying and neutering to reduce the number of unwanted pets.
PVHS grew from helping stray animals through a foster program to purchasing and renovating a downtown property for a shelter that houses animals from Columbus, Schuyler and Platte and Colfax counties.
The local shelter has become more than just an adoption center. A number of programs have been initiated that are available to the community, including micro-chipping for dogs and cats, pet obedience classes and a spay/neuter assistance program. Upgrades have also been made to the shelter, such as an improved exercise area, storage garage to hold donations, outdoor cat enclosure and indoor cat condos.
Choosing to adopt an animal from a shelter can result in great pairing, like Day and Tex.
Jan Berry, manager of Paws and Claws, said shelter animals are just as good as pets purchased from breeders. Oftentimes, they are already house-trained and out of the juvenile stage.
“They just want attention,” Berry said. “If you take the time with them, they adjust. They live day to day. They don’t live in the past or the future.”
Shelter animals can also be less expensive than buying from a breeder and, if adopted from Paws and Claws, they have already been spayed or neutered and have all their vaccinations.
Day has been a volunteer for shelters in the past and is a big supporter of adopting animals instead of buying them from breeders.
“Shelter animals are not damaged or have something wrong with them. Just because they didn’t work out with another household doesn’t mean there is something wrong with them,” she said.