COLUMBIA - With her tongue lolling onto her chest and her paws signalling enthusiastically, the six-foot-tall dog and her sign reading "Dog Wash" were hard to miss for drivers headed through the intersection at Providence Road and Ash Street Saturday afternoon. The weather was mild, but it was a bit hot for this human volunteer in a dog suit advertising the Columbia Second Chance Dog Wash.
The fundraiser was an invitation for local pet owners to bring their furry friends in for a bath, support the organization and tour Second Chance's first public adoption center, which celebrated its first anniversary this month.
Columbia Second Chance is a no-kill animal rescue organization that has served Columbia for 23 years, working in close partnership with the Central Missouri Humane Society. Second Chance pulls dogs and cats that have the highest chance for adoption out of the Humane Society, said Shannon Kasmann, Second Chance president and board member.
"For us to have the most adoptable animals actually saves the most lives," she said.
This year alone, the Humane Society euthanized 9,000 animals, which is up more than a thousand from last year, Kasmann said. Second Chance saves 500 animals every year.
The new Second Chance facility, located at 205 E. Ash St., serves as a meet-and-greet point for the animals and potential owners and also facilitates adoptions for the organization, which houses a majority of animals at private facilities or in foster care.
"This is a facility that Second Chance has dreamed about for some time," Kasmann said. "It has increased awareness that we're here, that there are other rescue groups out there besides the Humane Society."
People who are interested in adopting can check Second Chance's Web site, www.columbia2ndchance.org, which has a list of all animals up for adoption. Animals that aren't at the downtown facility can be brought in upon request for visitation during regular hours of operation, Wednesday through Sunday.
Proceeds from Saturday's dog wash will go to support the general rescue operation, and a larger fundraiser will be held next month to reach a goal of $12,000 needed for next year's rent payments. The fifth annual "Paws in the Park" fundraiser will be held Saturday, September 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Dog wash attendee Porsche, a Yorkshire Terrier, and her owner Vicki Juengermann are sure to be there.
"I think it's fun to go out and see the different dogs and socialize them," Juengermann said.
She and Porsche will participate in the 5k walk, though Porsche will want to be carried most of the way, Juengermann said. The fundraiser will include other activities, such as games and demonstrations, as well as a host of adoptable cats and dogs.