Cornelius Animal Shelter

(Elisabeth Richardson) If you’re thinking about adopting a dog or cat, a perfect place to start is the Cornelius Animal Shelter, located at 19110 Meridian Street. And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, it sometimes has birds, ferrets, rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, and pet rats. On average, 6-10 dogs and 30-40 cats are available for immediate adoption.

The shelter, which opened in 2009, is run by the Cornelius Police Department. Most of its animals are surrenders and strays, and many have been waiting for a home for months.

To begin the adoption process, stop by the shelter. The knowledgeable staff can match you with a pet that fits your goals and lifestyle. Then you fill out an application, the shelter completes a background check, and if there’s no history of animal abuse, you can finish your paperwork, pay the $85 fee for cats or the $95 fee for dogs, and welcome your new four-legged family member.

I love that each potential owner is background checked. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which these vulnerable pets can be abused, and one way to protect our furry friends is to be careful when homing (and rehoming) them. Recently, I read in a Facebook group about the dangers of trying to rehome a pet yourself. You always need to charge a fee because giving away an animal for free can be an invitation for a shady person to adopt. If the rehoming process is too daunting, consider surrendering your animal to this shelter. It will complete a rigorous adoption process to ensure a safe home.

Back to adopting! I met three dogs last week that are ready today for their forever home. Tank, a Labrador Retriever/Pit Bull Terrier Mix who was picked up as a stray, is around five years old, has been there for six months, and knows basic commands.

Caption: Tank resting after a good walk and sniff! Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson
Tank resting after a good walk and sniff! Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson

Mia, a 4-year-old Pit Bull Terrier mix, was surrendered to the shelter several months ago by a college student who couldn’t keep up with her care. Often left alone all day (and sometimes all night), she craved attention and activity. She has a sweet disposition and loves to cuddle and have her tummy rubbed. Also, as indicated below, she loves her couch time. (Another consideration before adopting is to think about how much time you have to devote to your pet. Many breeds require a lot of attention, which could mean daily walks, socialization, and plain old cuddle time.)

Mia poses with Tori on her favorite couch. Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson
Mia poses with Tori on her favorite couch. Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson

Tori, a volunteer (see above), was walking the dogs on the day I visited. She’s studying to be a veterinarian at Belmont Abbey and works part-time at Birkdale Animal Hospital. (A shout out to Drs. Mark, Sarah, and Regina. I adore them for the excellent care they’ve provided to our two furry family members: Cody and Cuddles. If you’re looking for a truly great veterinary experience, start there.) Also, as a side note, the shelter is always looking for volunteers. Visit its website to find out more and schedule your orientation.

And finally, here is Henry, who was reluctant to pose for photos because his walking time was just beginning.

Henry, giving me a little side eye, because he’d rather be walking than posing. Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson
Henry, giving me a little side eye, because he’d rather be walking than posing. Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson

But maybe you’re a cat person. Good news! The shelter also has a variety of cats that need a forever home. Angel, a five-year-old male, is a little shy at first (he has standards that must be met!), but once you have earned his trust, you will have a quiet, loving addition to your family.

Angel. Photo cred: Cornelius Animal Shelter
Angel. Photo cred: Cornelius Animal Shelter
Mia. Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson
Mia. Photo cred: Elisabeth Richardson

The cats get to play in this room and are well cared for during their stay here.

If you’re interested in adopting, check out http://www.cornelius.org/279/Adoptable-Animals and also stop by Tuesday-Friday, 11-1 and 3-5, and Saturday 9-12.

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