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Gone to the dogs

Lake City & Live Oak Humane Societies have busy Saturday

By Tami Stevenson

Lake City Dog Wash - Photo: Submitted

North Florida went to the dogs (and cats), Saturday, as both organizations were out in their respective cities doing what they do best the day before Father’s Day, promoting and improving the lives of some of man’s best friends.

The Suwannee Valley Humane Society set up inside Tractor Supply in Live Oak off Highway 129. The Lake City Humane Society held a Dog Wash and bake sale next to Empire Gold and Pawn on Highway 90 in Lake City.

At the Live Oak location they were promoting awareness concerning pet adoption and the crucial need for pets to be spayed or neutered. They brought two fluffy kittens that stole everyone’s hearts. The kittens, Makena and Cody, enjoyed taking walks through the store and meeting new friends with Animal Care Supervisor Barbara Fink and Cathy Mellinger. Although they were not adopting pets out that day, they brought a photo album with a current photo of each adoptable dog and cat so anyone wishing to adopt a pet could begin falling in love before they even met. The Suwannee Valley Humane Society shelter is located in Lee.

Cody is 2 mo. old -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

Makena is 3 mo. old -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

They have a capacity of around 70 animals. At the moment they have approximately 40 cats and 25 dogs, according to Mellinger, who has been with the society for four years. The animals stay until they are adopted as they are a no-kill organization. Whenever someone adopts a pet from them, they not only give a pet a forever home, they make room for another forgotten stray that desperately needs their help. Mellinger wanted to emphasize that spaying and neutering is the key to managing stray animals and pets. They work closely with Madison County Animal Control. If they pick up strays and the shelter has room, they will take them, she said.
In Lake City the Humane Society held a Dog Wash that included not only a shampoo, but other options like nail clipping, blow drying, the works – a fun way to pamper your pooch and help raise money for a worthy cause. Delilah Grant and Ashley Crane, along with volunteers, made the day a success. They also held a bake sale for pets and humans alike. The Sugar Cakery in Lake City donated the most scrumptious cupcakes for humans to enjoy. They each had a surprise of chocolate or other delectable filling in the center and went fast. They also had pet treats made by some of the volunteers. Among the assortment of tasty looking home made pet goodies were peanut butter puffs and apple cinnamon treats dogs were sure to love.

Perry enjoyed a good shampoo! - Photo: Submitted

Dale Griffin is the director of the Lake City Humane Society. He said their capacity is about 80 dogs and 40 cats, comfortably. Over 4,000 animals come through the shelter each year.
“Just because that is our capacity, doesn’t mean that is all we have. We generally run sometimes double capacity, thanks to people that will foster the pets.” One couple that volunteers has 6 puppies, currently, at their home, and their mother. The cost to adopt a pet from the Lake City shelter is around $120. But, Griffin said when they are really over crowded, they sometimes let them go for as little as $10.

Anyone wishing to adopt one of their adorable, furry friends and give them a forever home doesn’t have to worry about shots, the society has all that done ahead of time, unless they are too young to have them all by the time they are adopted. For instance, if they still need a rabies shot, they will give you a coupon and it will be totally free. The cats and dogs are all spayed/neutered and microchipped. All the cats are tested for feline leukemia and all the dogs are tested for heartworms. The cost to adopt a cat from the Suwannee Valley Humane Society is $50; dogs are $70. In comparison to the cost for the shots, the spay/neuter and the microchip, new pet owners will see a substantial savings by adopting a pet from a Humane Society. Also, since they are non-profit, there is no tax or any other fees involved. The microchips are registered with 24PetWatch.

Barbara Fink said she still feels the same way about animals today as she did 17 years ago when she began working at the Humane Society.
“The animals are rewarding, I tell people that all the time,” she said.

Studies show pets can be a health benefit to their owners. Just the act of petting an animal can lower blood pressure, according to studies. The list of health benefits pets give to their owners grows every day as researchers are finding they range from things like stress relief all the way to helping their owners prevent heart disease. Pets enhance emotional and psychological well-being.

According to Berkeley University, heart attack survivors and people with serious abnormal heart rhythms who own dogs live longer than people with the same heart problems who don’t have pets. Some animals have even been known to be able to detect seizures before they happen.

The Suwannee Valley Humane Society especially wanted to thank Live Oak Tractor Supply, along with Manager Richard Wynn for allowing them to be there. Wynn said he is an animal lover as well and would like to be able to do this on a regular basis.

The Lake City Humane Society would like to thank Empire Gold and Pawn for allowing them to be there and the Sugar Cakery for donating their delectable cupcakes. A special thank you went to all the volunteers and pet owners that brought their dogs for a shampoo.

A Pet Show for Cats and Dogs, sponsored by the Suwannee Valley Humane Society, is planned for Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Camp Suwannee in Advent Christian Village. Admission is free and they would like to invite everyone to attend. Contact them for more details or to become a Pet Show sponsor call 850-971-9904 or visit their website at

Suwannee Valley Humane Society handed out pamphlets and information. L-R: Live Oak Tractor Supply Manager Richard Wynn, Cathy Mellinger and Animal Care Supervisor Barbara Fink.  -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson

Lake City Humane Society set up next to Empire Gold and Pawn and held a Dog Wash and bake sale for pets and their owners alike. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson