TWINSBURG -- Potential adopters will soon have a new option to adopt an animal instead of visiting the Twinsburg shelter. The Humane Society of Summit County took ownership March 21 of a donated vehicle to serve as a mobile adoption center.
Humane Society President/CEO Diane Johnson said the vehicle was fully donated by the Remen Family Foundation. The donation came about as a result of a conversation between Director of Behavior & Outreach Kristin Branagan and Johnson about obtaining such a vehicle and realizing there just wasn't room in the budget for it. Johnson said the Remens, who Johnson said preferred not to be named, spoke with the CEO and the rest was history.
"They are such wonderful generous people," she said. "I explained our needs and what we were looking for and they just took care of it.
Branagan and Johnson said the vehicle will allow the humane society to maintain a presence in parts of Summit County the non-profit organization had not been able to before.
"This vehicle will allow us to have a presence throughout Summit County-increasing our awareness of our mission as the trusted caretaker and advocate for the abused, neglected and abandoned animals of our community," Johnson said. "Additionally, animals who have been hard to adopt or who may be delayed in finding their new homes, will now have a chance to be adopted much sooner because they will get in front of many more people and they will be highlighted as one of 28 animals and not one of 200 or more."
The new mobile adoption center, made by LaBoit Specialty Vehicles, Inc., is a climate-controlled, 27-foot vehicle custom-designed to house up to 28 animals safely and comfortably. The RV-like vehicle has a generator so the animals can be heated/cooled at all times, though Johnson said the vehicle won't run during the winter. The vehicle features built-in cages, which have sections that can be removed to contain larger animals, a sink, water tank and an awning that will roll out to provide shelter for Root and volunteers to sit under with potential adopters.
Adoption counselors and volunteers will soon travel with animals to community events, civic groups, corporate offices, local businesses, and more to provide on-site adoptions of available animals as well as animal welfare education. This vehicle allows HSSC to meet people where they live and work.
Barb Root, who has served HSSC as the volunteer coordinator for the past three years, will take on a new role as the Mobile Adoption Coordinator and will be in charge of all activities relating to the vehicle, including scheduling and taking the vehicle full of animals to events.
"I am beyond excited," Root said. "This is just going to blow us out of the water with adoptions, and people still aren't totally aware of us and what we do here so this provides a great opportunity to spread the word."
The shelter adopted out more than 100 animals in March alone.
She said the shelter serves all of Summit County but because it is located in the northern part of the county, many residents don't realize where it is. HSSC is the "trusted caretaker and advocate for the abused, neglected, and abandoned animals of our community," according to its mission.
Root said the vehicle will carry dogs and cats but she is not yet certain about "critters" or small animals.
"I would like to be able to bring rabbits and guinea pigs but we can't seem to keep them at the shelter," Root said. "Petsmart in Macedonia has been taking our small animals and adopting them out which is really wonderful. It keeps them from buying from breeders and helps us get homes for ours."
The mobile adoption unit will make it's maiden voyage April 29 to the Acme in Montrose, the Akron Zoo, the Fred Martin Superstore and back to the Darrow Road shelter where they will end the day with a celebration, which Johnson said will include the Swenson's food truck. It will also be at HSSC's pledge walk and pet expo Bark in the Park in Springfield Township May 6. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"One of the things that is so cool about this vehicle is that people can follow it on our website," Johnson said. "By clicking on our calendar they can see where we will be and when."
For more information about the Humane Society of Summit County visit summithumane.org or call 330-487-0333.
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432