ELYRIA ‚ÄĒ The Lorain County Dog Kennel‚Äôs second annual Dog Day gave attendees a chance to see kennel dogs outside their cages, and raise awareness of the pound‚Äôs work Saturday afternoon.
Kennel volunteer Samantha Vidnovic organized this year‚Äôs event, growing it from about 10 vendors in the field in front of the kennel lat year to more than 40 this year.
‚ÄúLast year we only had 10 vendors and we had about 75 guests come out,‚ÄĚ Vidnovic said. ‚ÄúThis year we have about 40 vendors and our girls at the main table are swamped. I worked really hard this year on planning earlier; last year I only planned like a month in advance, it was nothing elaborate, and this year I started looking at other events similar to this idea. I started in January contacting people and just getting the word out.‚ÄĚ
And her work paid off. Four dogs were adopted Saturday, freeing up space in the county-run kennel. The pound cannot turn any dogs away, meaning its cages can fill quickly. There are 25 dogs in the kennel awaiting adoption or redemption.
‚ÄúAny stray dog in Lorain County comes here. They can‚Äôt turn a dog away if it‚Äôs a stray. Hopefully they find their families, but more often than not we don‚Äôt see redemptions, we see adoptions,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúBut in the past four years we haven‚Äôt put down a dog for space, which is a huge deal because ‚Ä¶ we can‚Äôt turn away a dog, so when our cages run out we‚Äôre kind of out of luck. But we‚Äôre really lucky here that staff let us reach out to rescues so that we can get them adopted and we‚Äôre not put at the mercy of how many cages we have. Sometimes it gets tight, but we‚Äôre pretty good about getting the dogs out.‚ÄĚ
Saturday‚Äôs event included vendors the kennel partners with, like the Lorain County Pitt Crew and Friendship Animal Protective League, alongside pet-friendly businesses like the Grateful Dog Bakery, in the hopes of bringing people out to the kennel and break some of the stigma surrounding it.
‚ÄúNot a lot of people know that the kennel even exists, or they think that it‚Äôs this scary place where dogs get picked up and die, which is not the case anymore,‚ÄĚ Vidnovic said. ‚ÄúSo it‚Äôs just kind of getting our name out (and) obviously getting our dogs adopted and into homes.‚ÄĚ
County Commissioner Lori Kokoski agreed that the kennel was no longer a scary place, thanks to changes made over the past 13 years.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve been a dog lover my whole life and the dog pound‚Äôs been one of my projects that‚Äôs been near and dear to me since I got elected back in 2005,‚ÄĚ Kokoski said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve done so many improvements here ‚Ä¶ and now that we have the staff that we have in place and the rescues and the volunteers that we have, this place is amazing. We have not had to put a dog down for space issues for four years ‚ÄĒ they used to put down dogs for no reason back in the day; it was bad.‚ÄĚ
While the county commissioners are in charge of the kennel, Kokoski said Saturday‚Äôs Dog Day was organized almost entirely by Vidnovic, and the tur out was a testament to the support the kennel has from county residents.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm very pleased by the turnout, I didn‚Äôt come last year and I guess it was very small ‚ÄĒ this year it just exploded,‚ÄĚ Kokoski said. ‚ÄúWe have such a good community here. We haven‚Äôt had to buy dog food for the kennel for a couple years now because people donate; they donate collars, they donate leashes, they donate blankets ‚ÄĒ you name it, people donate. I can‚Äôt tell you how great the community is and really supportive of the dog kennel.‚ÄĚ
She said a lot of people think the kennel is the same as the Animal Protective League, so events like Dog Day were able to bring awareness to the pound and the dogs available there.
Hope Davis, of Cleveland, agreed. She came out Saturday to support the kennel, as she‚Äôs been a volunteer there since March. She said people often want to adopt puppies and don‚Äôt look at the dogs in the pound.
‚ÄúJust give (the dogs) a chance because a lot of them are really sweet ‚ÄĒ most of them are sweet,‚ÄĚ Davis said.
Vidnovic said many of the dogs currently in the kennel are larger breeds, though there are some smaller dogs available, and ages vary. A full list of available dogs is on the kennel‚Äôs Facebook page. Adoption is $66 and includes spay/neuter, a first round of vaccines minus rabies and a dog license. The kennel also works with local trainers to help ease dogs from the pound into new family settings.
Volunteers walked select dogs around the event, giving the dogs a chance to show their personalities to visitors, rather than first impressions made in a cage.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really exciting to see a dog that maybe doesn‚Äôt show well in its cage or something like that ‚ÄĒ we know how good they are, we walk them, we get them out, we play with them all the time ‚ÄĒ but it‚Äôs really hard to convince a person to adopt a dog that‚Äôs like jumping on its cage and barking all crazy,‚ÄĚ Vidnovic said. ‚ÄúLike (the dog) might hate his cage, but out here he‚Äôs the best dog ever, and this is more of a ‚Äėreal world‚Äô situation than being in a cage next to 40 other dogs. It‚Äôs better for us to see these dogs out and getting the community to see what we see in them.‚ÄĚ