By Sarah Ang
Carrboro Commons Staff Writer
The Facebook page of Ashley Basnight, 25, now displays an alarmingly large photograph of a 2-year-old brown pit bull.
She adopted her dog, Gunner, after a friend showed her a picture.
Basnight made the trip the next day to Orange County Animal Services at 1601 Eubanks Road, Chapel Hill.
“I just fell in love with him, so I adopted him,” she said.
Basnight paid only $60, half the regular adoption price.
Why? At OCAS and nationwide, October is Dog Adoption Month.
“The purpose of Dog Adoption Month is simply to increase the number of dog adoptions in the shelter,” said Jess Allison, shelter manager for Orange County Animal Services. She oversees day-to-day operations, animal adoption and 29 enthusiastic employees.
Allison said animal shelters promote adoption during October because the month typically sees more dogs than the other 11 months of the year.
“There are more pets that come into the shelter than there are homes for them,” Allison said.
Luckily for strays, there are people like Basnight who wanted to adopt.
“I just wanted to give a dog a good home,” she said.
It was a good time for Basnight to get a dog because she just finished her degree in veterinary medical technology, she said. Once she passes the state board exam, she will be a registered vet technician at the Tri-County Veterinary Service in Graham.
“I grew up with dogs that I’d bought before, but after being in the veterinary field, I’ve seen so many dogs that need homes. I think it’s a wonderful thing, to give a dog a home.”
Basnight went into the shelter looking for whichever dog touched her heart. She ended up with Gunner, whom OCAS had previously named Brownie.
While some people shy away from adopting older dogs because of their unknown history, Basnight wanted to adopt an older dog because they do not get adopted as easily as puppies.
“People like the comfort of raising a puppy themselves,” she said, “but there’s so many out there that need homes.”
Basnight said OCAS impressed her. “I was blown away with how clean it was and how nice everyone was. The facility itself was nice. The process was really smooth.”
Because OCAS is an open admission shelter, they do not turn away pets.
Pet owners occasionally drop off dogs that they cannot or do not want to care for anymore. Sometimes they cannot afford them anymore, and sometimes they are moving and cannot take their pets with them.
“There are a lot of really sad circumstances,” Allison said.
For Allison, who has an adopted blue tick coon hound and schnauzer, seeing the difference OCAS makes in the community is the most fulfilling aspect of her job.
“What’s more rewarding than seeing a pet that came into your shelter go home with a family?” she said.
The new facility opened in 2009 and sports glass windows where you can see the cats and dogs up close. There are rooms where you can socialize with potential pets.
A 6-year-old mixed breed, aptly named Sparky, wagged his tail happily through a window. He is free for anyone who wants him.
Anonymous donors sometimes pay for a dog’s adoption fee, in hopes that it will find a home soon.
It’s a wonderful cycle of giving and receiving.
“I probably wouldn’t ever buy a dog ever again,” Basnight said.