Pets endure weather at adopt-a-thon

Despite thunderstorm, heat, several animals find new homes

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— Hayden the dog was trying to get someone at the dog adopt-a-thon to take him home.

"I get along with all people and dogs, but I'm a little shy," read the page hanging outside the black Labrador/shepherd's cage. "I know I'm plain-looking, but if you spend some time with me, I know I'll win you over."

The dogs and cats on the Routt County Courthouse lawn endured a thunderstorm Saturday and intense heat on Sunday. Still, people of all ages came to see and pet the animals, with some taking home a new pet.

Amy and Russ West walked away with Junior, to be renamed Boomer in remembrance of the turbulent Saturday weather. They took Boomer as a companion for their German shepherd named Kodiak.

"I just liked him," said Russ West. Amy pointed out that he might have chosen Boomer for the numerous similarities he had with Kodiak: build, color and a funny little squeaking sound they both made.

"They're just getting to know each other; we have to give them equal attention so there's no jealousy, just like kids," said Amy West.

"I'm pretty excited. Probably need to get a bigger car."

Others just came to look. Jan Henderson was passing through from Texas and saw the adopt-a-thon as an opportunity to help granddaughter Raegan Stoglin, 2, overcome her fear of dogs.

Lynne Swanson, of the Animal Assistance League, was volunteering for the second year, taking a female named Jockey for a walk.

"They're life-long friends," Swanson said. "They really deserve someone to give them a commitment for the rest of their lives."

The local animal shelter had sold five dogs and four cats as of Sunday afternoon; the Utah-based Best Friends Animal Sanctuary had sold four dogs.

The event was particularly special for Chaz Blackmore, who ran the mobile adoption wing of Best Friends. It was a chance for him to visit with Keno, a brown shepherd/malamute mix whom Blackmore had nursed back to health after he had been abandoned at the sanctuary. He was adopted last September. Keno quickly pounced on Blackmore; the two exchanged an embrace that surprised even owner Kathy Coates.

"My son just wanted a big, huggable dog, and that's what he is," Coates said.

"He's a doll. He's the classic Steamboat dog."

Blackmore said that many of the new owners ran the entire spectrum; some were looking for children-friendly dogs, while others looked for more active dogs to take on hikes.

"It really depends on the lifestyle," Blackmore said. "There's a home out there for everyone."

"This is extremely important," said Chris Gay, also with Best Friends.

"You get a chance to talk to the people and let them know that there's an alternative out there, and euthanizing is not the only solution."

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