Detroit Free Press (MI)
January 15, 2004
NEW ADOPTION CENTER RESCUES FURRY FRIENDS
Author: GINA DAMRON FREE PRESS SPECIAL WRITER
Willie did his best to greet potential parents by gently jumping, resting his front paws on their legs and staring up with his big, brown eyes.
The 3-year-old furry, white poodle-bichon frise mix said goodbye to his foster mom, Rose Phelan, and hello to a new family at the grand opening of the Michigan Animal Adoption Network’s (MAAN) new facility in Livonia on Saturday.
Before MAAN came to his aid, Willie was living in a
basement and hadn’t been house-trained.
In her office, Marie Skladd, president of MAAN, flipped through a folder filled with stories of animals like Willie that have been saved by the network, which adopts out more than 500 cats and dogs a year.
“I think that a portion of the population isn’t aware of what’s going on,” network manager Amy Wettlaufer said. “People just don’t comprehend the magnitude of the problem.”
The rescued animals are fostered first by MAAN’s
volunteers. This sets the organization apart from
traditional shelters, which typically keep animals in
cages most of the time, Wettlaufer said. MAAN volunteers also make rounds to more than 100 residences weekly to provide food, water and supplies to pets of low-income families.
The network’s new facility has 2,400 square feet of
space and can hold up to 60 animals during its weekly adoption clinics on Saturdays. Wettlaufer said the number of adoptions is decreasing, but animals still are coming into the system at a rapid rate.
The increase of animals entering shelters has caused an overflow at some local facilities. MAAN has been called on by nearly every shelter in the metro-Detroit area, at some point, to help relieve the overcrowding of their facilities, Wettlaufer said. MAAN tries to adopt out
every pet they get.
Phelan, one of more than 100 volunteers with MAAN, said more people need to consider adopting from shelters, rather than buying from stores or kennels.
“If we could stop backyard breeders and pet stores from selling pets we may just be able to get the situation under control,” she said.
The network, which adopted out seven pets on Saturday, is particular about its clients. People under age 21 aren’t permitted to adopt, and living situations are also taken into consideration.
“When you add a member to your family, you shouldn’t rush into it,” Phelan advised Wendy and Michael Dupuis of Plymouth. “I think (Willie) would adjust very nicely to you.”
The Dupuis family paced the green Astroturf-and-concrete floor for over two hours, looking at the more than 60 animals before daughter Ashley, 12, finally chose Willie.
Phelan, who has worked with animal rescue organizations for 15 years and has fostered hundreds of pets, had a Polaroid photo taken with Willie, then handed him over to Ashley.
“My baby,” Phelan said, then scrunched her face into a frown as the family walked out the door. “But its worth it.”
MAAN’s new facility, located at 31639 W. Eight Mile, is open every Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and Tuesday-Friday by appointment. For more information call 248-474-2646,
or go to www.mi-aan.org.