- Associated Press - Friday, July 10, 2015

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) - The professional and friendly staff at the Hope Academy animal adoption event had all areas of the process well in hand.

They had thoroughly researched each species and prepared a cage or habitat in keeping with that creature’s needs. When animals had special needs, such as Rainbow the unicorn who eats only rainbows, glitter and the occasional rainbow-colored doughnut, or the bears who were mother and child and had to be adopted together, the staff made certain that those creatures went to a home capable of handling those needs.

“We give out applications and tell them to fill them out, and then somebody will come and take you back there (where the animals are),” said Katya Toliver, one of two greeters at the front desk.

Those applications were thorough. Potential pet owners had to say whether they wanted a fish, bird, mammal or amphibian, describe where the pet will live and promise to provide love, medical care, food and water for their new friend and never hurt their pet.

Fifth-grade teacher Merijha Branson said the idea for the adoption fair was a group effort, and she went out and collected a variety of plush animals to be adopted for a minimum of $1 each, though larger donations were welcome.

The students came up with jobs for themselves, including security guards who helped transport the pets out to their new families’ cars, a groomer who cleaned them up and brushed them so they’d go home in the best condition and a vet who checked them over and gave them up to date vaccinations.

And then there was their public relations agent, Ray’Lena James, who took potential adopters on a guided tour of the adoption area and pointed out that each animal had a name, age and history attached, including their usual diet.

The money raised will go to Homeward Bound to help support real animals and pay for food, bedding and medical care while they wait for their forever homes. Homeward Bound operates solely on donations, and every penny counts.

If any animals are left on Friday, the adoption center will be open during school hours, Branson said.

“I think it’s absolutely great,” said Linda Clary of Homeward Bound, who dropped by to see the project. “They used a lot of imagination to come up with the different kinds of enclosures for them. They assigned jobs to everybody. They’ve all worked together as a team, which is what it takes, and I love it.

“I really appreciate the awareness this brings to these young people to the fact that there are animals in need out there and there are ways to get them into good homes.”

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Source: (Decatur) Herald & Review, https://bit.ly/1IjudNz

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Information from: Herald & Review, https://www.herald-review.com


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