Miami-Dade animal services workers say local dogs and cats need homes more than ever as pet adoptions drop off after the holidays.
Jodi Sklawer is doing more than opening her home. She adopted a kitten in April, and decided to stick around and volunteer at the county shelter. "I never found anything that really got to me," she said of volunteering. "But this really got to me."
Sklawer spends five to eight hours a week giving tours, running with dogs, and just plain making shelter life easier on them. "It's like jail," she said, looking at cats whose fate is uncertain.
"I sometimes go home crying for hours," she said. "And other times I go home very happy and fulfilled."
Sklawer points out donations of more than just dollars can make a big difference at the county shelter: shoe boxes, blankets, and time.
And when it comes to adopting, she wishes people would keep their minds and hearts open.
"A lot of people come to the shelter with just one idea, 'I want a chihuahua,' even though there's so many other dogs that may be perfect for them," said Sklawer.
Kennel superviser Gary Eubanks said the shelter is currently taking in 50 to 100 cats and dogs a day. On one recent morning, the shelter held 94 cats and 268 dogs. He said about 50 animals a day are euthanized there.
Sklawer hopes more people will come forward to help bring that number down.
"All they want is for someone to love them and take care of them," she said.
To find out how you can help, go to www.miamidade.gov/animals.