PUBLIC PROFILE: Karen Evans, Executive Director, Southern Oregon Humane Society
Rogue Valley Messenger: Do you remember your first pet?
Karen Evans: My first pet was a Collie named Lassie. My parents got her for me when I was very young. She quickly became my best friend. We were inseparable. I believe she is the reason for my lifelong love of animals.
RVM: Do you have advice for someone who wants to adopt an animal? Is there a common mistake people make when adopting?
KE: The most common mistake that adopters make is not properly preparing their family and home for the new addition. Adopting an animal is making a long term commitment, and we often see people coming in to adopt on a whim or without much preparation. In many cases having a plan in place on how you are going to help acclimate your new family member to their new life can be the difference between a successful placement and that dog or cat being returned to the shelter.
RVM: Do you see an uptick for adoptions at the holiday time? Is this a blessing or a concern?
KE: We do see an uptick in adoptions as we approach the holidays, and it is most certainly a blessing. With that being said we do have policies in place that prevent people from adopting animals as a gift for another person, and have gift certificates available if someone would like to give the gift of adoption to a friend or family member. It is important that the person who is going to be caring for the animal has the opportunity to spend time with them before adopting to see if they are going to be a good fit for their lifestyle and home.
RVM: Can you provide some numbers—in terms of how many cats and dogs you manage each month or year?
KE: At SoHumane we handle roughly 1600 animals every year, which average to 133 dogs and cats every month.
RVM: Where are the animals most often coming from?
KE: The dogs and cats at SoHumane come from two sources, our Saving Train Program or local owner surrenders. The intake team at SoHumane schedules appointments with local owners who are no longer able to maintain possession of their dog or cat. A temperament test is performed and provided the animal can be safely handled and is adoptable they are accepted into the adoption program at the time of the appointment. Through the Saving Train Program SoHumane transfers animals from other local shelters as well as shelters in California. Many of these dogs and cats would be euthanized and are truly getting a second chance here in Southern Oregon with SoHumane.
RVM: Can you share a recent success story?
KE: Recently we were contacted by another shelter asking for assistance. Someone had surrendered a tiny ten-year old poodle to them that was blind and mostly deaf. They were not equipped to care for her and planned to euthanize her. Our team immediately went to pick her up. She was confused, scared and cried unless she was being held. Her name was Elena. Our team came up with ingenious ways to care for her and make her comfortable-like creating a sling to put her in. Elena felt safe and loved when carried close to the heart of a staff member or volunteer.
One week after Elena arrived at SoHumane she caught the eye of a kindhearted woman who hoped to find a special companion as a birthday gift for herself. She instantly fell in love and took Elena home. Her new Mom brought her in recently for a visit and said “Elena is quite adorable and I am blessed to have her in my life. She is the best gift ever!”