It Happens Here: Douglas non-profit shelter places unwanted dogs into loving homes

DOUGLAS – The town of Douglas is home to the Douglas State Forest. Its existence led to a booming wood-cutting industry and the Douglas Ax Manufacturing Company.

Also, during the Revolutionary War, General Lafayette of France stopped in this town to meet George Washington.

And the Southern New England Trunkline Trail is in Douglas. You can hike these trails through Massachusetts and Connecticut.

It’s also home to the Dog Orphans. which is a non-profit, no-kill shelter. Their mission is to save dogs from pain and suffering and provide them with love.

“We have taken some dogs that need a lot of work. They do require a trainer and a special hand,” said Dog Orphans Director Ron Morse.

They house strays, homeless, and unwanted dogs until permanent, correct homes can be found.

“A lot of people go off the dogs looks. ‘Oh, that’s a cute, fuzzy, husky puppy. Well, a husky is a breed of its own. If you’ve never owned that type of dog, you probably shouldn’t have it,” said Dog Orphans Assistant Manager Hanna Shenian.

So how does all of this work? Well, the beginning of every week is picture day.

“Every Monday, we have a little photo shoot. I write up their little blurbs,” Shenian said. “And then I put them up online. And that’s when they mayhem starts.”

After that, the applications come pouring in. The adoption process takes between five and seven days and even though the staff loves to play, exercise, and provide affection for the dogs, placing them in loving homes is the ultimate goal.

“We place about an average of 400-to-500 dogs a year,” Morse said.

“There’s a time for every dog. Some take longer than others but the shelter is not a home,” said Shenian.

And none of this would be possible without the work of volunteers.

The volunteers take the dogs for runs and walks and make sure they get as much exercise and love as possible.

“It is such a good feeling to help. These dogs, they did nothing wrong, and they need homes, and we’ll be a part of the team that helps to get them home,” said volunteer Jay Rhodes.

Just a fabulous organization that has been doing great work for more than 50 years.

“It’s been great. That’s why I’m here,” said Morse. “I’ve been here doing this type of work for over 23 years.”

“I have my own animals and my own kids and stuff at home but I am constantly doing stuff for Dog Orphans, to help these dogs so they don’t have to sit in a shelter,” said Shenian.

For more information, visit their website.

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