Students in Animal Club at Mt. Pleasant Middle School will be hosting an animal adoption fair this Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to noon in the gym at Mt. Pleasant Middle School at 400 North Adams Street in Mt. Pleasant. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Kristi Emerson, teacher sponsor for animal club, said that when the seventh-and eighth-grade students brought the idea to her to organize an animal fair, she didn’t think it would be an attainable goal. The students, however, were “relentless.”
“They took one step at a time, made contact with the shelters, networked. This was 100 percent their idea,” Emerson said.
At least three shelters will bring cats and dogs to the middle school Saturday to be adopted. The fee to adopt a cat or dog will be $100. This includes all shots and documentation needed to own the animal. Pet supplies will be available to purchase during the pet fair.
Audrey McShane, 14, said she feels happy whenever she is around her three pets, who were adopted and is “really excited” for the adoption fair and helping animals find a home.
“Animals need a place to live, to play with people and to have a house to live in instead of being kept in cages,” McShane said, adding that it’s important potential adopters are ready for the responsibility.
“You can’t just abandon them if it gets too hard,” McShane said. “Making sure you’re ready is the hardest part.”
McShane said it’s also important to take the time to get to know the animal after they are adopted. “Know their background, how they like to be treated, how they will act if they get scared,” she said.
Hannah Reinier, 13, has three dogs and two cats at home. She said she is a huge animal lover, and as an introvert, connects better with animals than most humans. Reinier said she hopes that the fair will help animals up for adoption find really good homes.
“Some shelter animals have really bad pasts,” Reinier said, whose own dogs are rescue animals. “The look in their eyes when we found them (on the side of the road), that sparkle of hope, I’m really happy we got to give these animals a good home.”
Reinier and other middle school students will be available to talk to prospective pet owners about what it’s like to have a pet and advice for what pet supplies they need.
Reinier said at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year when clubs were first formed, the animal club was trying to figure out their purpose. An adoption fair seemed like an obvious and good idea.
The club has been collecting pop cans and bottles to raise money for the fair, hoping to give a small donation to each animal shelter that brings animals.
Emerson said that the animal shelters are “gracious” in saying they will bring the animals to the middle school at no charge, and she hopes the pop cans can at least help cover their mileage.
The class took a field trip to Paws & More Animal Shelter in Washington last month to meet some of the animals and talk to the director about the shelter about transportation.
The shelters will set up tables and bring animals in individual cages for people to feel free to wander around and meet the animals.
“It’s not just about people wanting a pet. They have to be the right fit,” Emerson said.
Kalli Messer, 14, said patience when adopting an animal is important because it takes them awhile to get used to new surroundings. Messer, who trains horses, knows that it takes time to connect with the animal and get them to trust you.
“Don’t try to rush into things. Let the animal get used to it on its own,” Messer said.
Debra Ott, 13, owns a dog and a cat, and has vast knowledge of what it means to adopt an animal, especially since her mother works at a doggy day care. She said people adopting a pet should “think of it as a kid and not as an animal.”
Erin Gavin, 14, said she is impatient for the adoption fair and is looking forward to talking with potential adopters about how they can get to know their new pet.
Gavin said their dog absolutely loves cheese. “It’s the only way you can get him to take a bath is if you show him cheese,” Gavin said with a smile.
Summer Carver, 14, adopted a dog her family found on the side of the road and he’s been the “love of our lives” ever sense. Their cat was found in a dumpster outside her mother’s office. Adoption is important to Carver, who said, “Without animals, life can get lonely. Everyone needs companionship.”