FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — All they wanted for Christmas was a loving home to spend the holidays, and that’s something every dog at the Allen County SPCA got this year. Now, the shelter is helping out other animal shelters in need.
The Allen County SPCA opened up their shelter December 26 to an unfamiliar sound: silence. That is because the only animals in the shelter were the cats. All of their dogs had either been adopted out or placed into homes thanks to a pilot program called Rovernights.
“This was the first year we did Rovernights, where we did the short-term fostering so it was kind of a pilot program,” said shelter manager Stephanie Tippmann. “It’s not something that’s usual so it was pretty awesome to be able to send all those dogs into homes for Christmas.”
The shelter announced on Facebook that the kennels were clear by Christmas Eve but just three days later some new furry faces were moved in. The new residents are a mix of pups from Allen County Animal Care and Control and a shelter in Portland, Indiana. Even though the SPCA was happy to have empty kennels for Christmas, Tippmann says full kennels are actually a good problem to have.
“That makes it way easier on our colleagues in animal welfare and so it’s something we don’t every want anyone to make hard choices for animals and so we want to pull those dogs in,” said Tippmann. “If we’re moving them out, and we have open kennels, we want to bring dogs in.”
While they are firm believers that pets are commitments and not presents, they do not think the pups bought for Christmas will find their way back to the SPCA anytime soon.
“Especially in Indiana, our shelters are relatively good at making good matches and so there’s less of that than you would think,” said Tippmann. “It’s something that we work really hard to keep our returns rates very low.”
According to Tippmann, the return rate for Allen County SPCA is under the national average of three percent. Based on the success of Rovernight, the shelter will consider holding more in the future.