COLUMBIA – Glen Baum and Lacey Talley went to the Columbia Second Chance animal shelter Wednesday looking for a new pet, and they found Ned.
The gray pit bull terrier caught their eye immediately after they walked in the door.
The puppy eagerly licked the roof of his cage when Talley moved her face closer to him.
As a volunteer unlocked the door of the cage, Ned rushed toward his potential owners and prepared to go on a “test walk."
Columbia Second Chance, a private organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of animals, spent Wednesday celebrating “Adopt-a-Less-Adoptable-Pet Day.” Twenty or 30 people like Baum and Talley walked through the shelter that day, looking at all types of cats and dogs, but no one chose to adopt one.
It was the first time that Petfinder, a national directory for homeless pets and organizations, sponsored the event, encouraging shelters across the country to showcase special-needs animals.
“We want to show that these animals are worth adopting,” said Kerrie Vivion, a volunteer who has been with the organization for the past two years.
Columbia Second Chance never puts down an animal unless medical problems are so severe that donations or a volunteer cannot help. The number of pets in the organization varies from day to day, and they are temporarily housed with a volunteer or at the shelter until an owner is found.
Thirty percent of the pets waiting to be adopted in the Wednesday event were older; 15 percent had medical problems; 13 percent were victims of breed prejudice; 10 percent were very shy and another 10 percent had behavioral problems.
Potential owners are required to go through an application process to check background information prior to adoption. They must also pay an adoption fee of $125.
"We want to make sure this pet is a good fit for that person," Vivion said.
Before a final adoption takes place, potential owners are encouraged to have a sleepover with their pet to ensure that they are making the right choice.
Columbia Second Chance still has a number of animals without homes, including Ned.
“They’re bred to fight, but it’s all about how you raise them,” said Kimberly Newberry, another volunteer, explaining why Ned has not yet been adopted.
“It’s not about the breed; it’s about the animal.”
At the end of the day, although none of Columbia Second Chance pets were adopted, volunteers were still hopeful for the future.
"Everybody here loves animals," Newberry said.
"You just have to realize that you should never give up on an animal."