After a dog or cat spends several weeks at the Central Nebraska Humane Society, it may seem like the pet is stuck there.

However, the shelter is working to provide each of these pets with a permanent, forever home.

Jacque Harvey, executive director of the Central Nebraska Humane Society, said there are currently 75 pets housed at the shelter. Of these pets, six dogs have been there for an extended period of time.

The Humane Society classifies an extended stay as one lasting more than three weeks.

“We do not put a time limit on it,” Harvey said. “As long as they are behaviorally happy and healthy, they can sit here as long as it takes to get them adopted and until the right person walks in to do so.”

Why might a pet have an extended stay at the Humane Society? She said for dogs, it can come down to their “generic look.”

“Some dogs just have a ‘generic look’ where they are all brown or all black,” she said. “There is not a specific characteristic about them or something that makes them stand out.”

Miquelle Levander, a kennel staff member at the Humane Society, said sometimes when potential adopters come to see the dogs at the shelter, they do not like it when a dog barks through their kennel and they think it is scary and aggressive when that is not the case.

Levander said another factor in extended stays for pets is that oftentimes, a dog will get adopted out and then be brought back to the Humane Society.

“A lot of that is giving these animals time to adjust to their new home,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you bring a dog from, it is going to have to adjust to your lifestyle and the routine you want for it in your home and with your other animals. We understand there are genuine circumstances where it does not work out, but two or three days is not enough time for these animals to adjust. They need more time than that.”

If a pet has an extended stay at the Humane Society, Harvey said, the shelter may move it to a rescue or a foster home.

“We don’t do many fosters, but if we have a dog that is getting a bit stressed out or has some behavioral issues that could be worked on to where they may be more adoptable, we do foster,” she said. “We work with breed-specific rescues and there are several other rescues that are not breed-specific. We do get some dogs who are animal-selective on who they like and who they don’t like. Sometimes they will be in a foster home where they can work on those behaviors.”

Harvey said most of the rescues are local. They provide a home-like environment where the dogs are able to interact with other dogs.

Since the Humane Society does not know the history of most pets at the shelter, she said potential adopters need to be mindful of the fact that certain behaviors may come out of an animal that were not exhibited at the shelter. Adopters need to be able to work with this and commit to their pet — good or bad.

Harvey encourages people to stop by the Humane Society, see the pets and experience their personality prior to committing to adopting them.

Levander said she has posted some videos on the Central Nebraska Humane Society’s social media pages to promote the pets up for adoption. There are also pet features posted on the social media pages.

The Independent also posts Pet of the Week videos on its website to promote pets up for adoption.

In order to get the dogs acclimated to potentially being adopted, Levander said the Humane Society has started play groups for dogs to socialize with each other.

“The biggest thing we do is we have play groups so the dogs are used to other dogs,” she said. “Right now, there are three categories of play groups. The first category are dogs who just love other dogs regardless of size, breed, age, etc. The second group is our trial group. So we will bring calm dogs in with some crazier dogs to try to see which group they can go into. The third group is our small dogs and our really old dogs.”

When an adopter comes in ready to adopt a pet, Harvey said, the Humane Society will ask them questions such as what their lifestyle is like and what type of pet they are looking for.

The adoption fee for puppies is $350. It decreases based on a dog’s age. She said all pets who are adopted out are spayed, neutered and vaccinated. The Humane Society plans to have some adoption deals to encourage people to adopt a shelter pet.

With Christmas a few weeks away, Harvey recommended buying a gift certificate to the Humane Society, rather than adopting a dog to give as a gift.

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