West Volusia Humane Society is back in business

The queen — The furry residents of the West Volusia Humane Society include Stripes, a large brown tabby who is the undisputed queen of the shelter.

The queen — The furry residents of the West Volusia Humane Society include Stripes, a large brown tabby who is the undisputed queen of the shelter.

PHOTOS COURTESY ANNA SCHWAB

Another feline regular is Gingerbread, an orange tabby who resembles a gruff mountain man, but is actually a gentle old man. 

Mountain man? — Another feline regular is Gingerbread, an orange tabby who resembles a gruff mountain man, but is actually a gentle old man. 

Among the dogs is an energetic, sweet shepherd mix named Mia

Among the dogs is an energetic, sweet shepherd mix named Mia

... and Enzo, a beagle mix with a gentle temperament; both have lived at the shelter several years.

... and Enzo, a beagle mix with a gentle temperament; both have lived at the shelter several years.

A pig named Petunia lives at the West Volusia Humane Society

A pig named Petunia lives at the West Volusia Humane Society

By Anna Schwab

Opened in 1958 as a sanctuary for homeless pets, and designated a no-kill facility in 1999, the West Volusia Humane Society is a bit hidden away in its location at 800 Humane Society Road, between DeLand and Glenwood on the northern edge of the Old Plymouth Landfill.

Ask people about the establishment, and you might hear stories of a run-down facility, an unfriendly environment, and the last place some people would take a stray or unwanted animal. 

I want to tell you about a major comeback.

Today, this animal shelter is cleaner and brighter, with a welcoming staff headed by Director Gary Thomas. The team of four may seem small, but they work tirelessly to make certain each animal is given attention to both its physical and social needs, including trips to a local vet when needed. 

As for the pets themselves, including cats, dogs, and one pig named Petunia, it’s obvious they are happy. 

The furry residents include Stripes, a large brown tabby who is the undisputed queen of the shelter. She’s lived there since she was born, and lets all visitors know what a privilege it is to grace her presence. 

Another feline regular is Gingerbread, an orange tabby who resembles a gruff mountain man, but is actually a gentle old man. 

Among the dogs is an energetic, sweet shepherd mix named Mia, and Enzo, a beagle mix with a gentle temperament; both have lived at the shelter several years.

But not all the animals are long-term residents. The number of adoptions at the West Volusia Humane Society has increased from fewer than 10 a year to several every day, with some pets leaving with new owners almost as soon as they are surrendered.

Amanda Squire, who recently adopted a kitten named Buttercup (who has since been renamed Nora), said, “You can tell they’re doing a good job because there’s a higher turnover of animals, so more are getting placed into good homes.” 

The shelter’s Facebook page, run by staff member Arielle Perryman, features a “Pet of the Day,” helping fulfill the goal of finding every animal a forever home. 

You can help. There are plenty of options for getting involved: donating items such as cat and dog food, treats, cleaning supplies, blankets and towels, or — if you are 18 years or older — volunteering your time. 

You can also help spread the word that the “little shelter with a big heart” has had a renaissance, and is ready to serve the West Volusia community.

Schwab, an aspiring writer, lives in DeLand. She is a volunteer at the West Volusia Humane Society.

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