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Michele Baillies with Clarence the cat

Columbia County Humane Society Board President Michele Baillies holds Clarence the cat Saturday during an open house at the group's shelter.

Clarence the cat whipped his head around, peeking at strangers who had come check out the shelter cats, as Columbia County Humane Society Board President Michele Baillies held him and greeted visitors Saturday.

Despite a break-in and small fire that were reported last week, the humane society’s open house went on as planned.

Adoptive owners take Lennon the lab home

Ardith Xander, right, and Richard Martinson stand with their new Labrador dog, Lennon, outside the Columbia County Humane Society on Saturday. They attended an open house event and adopted Lennon to take him home.

“We have to jump right back into the daily routine here,” Executive Director Susan Bratcher said. “There’s a lot of people in the lobby, which is really good.”

The shelter is usually packed with cats in need of homes around April and May, she said.

A total of 812 cats and 302 dogs were adopted in 2018. So far this year, Bratcher said 56 cats and 19 dogs have been in foster care.

“We have young dogs, old dogs, big dogs, furry dogs,” Bratcher said.

One such young dog — Lennon the black Labrador mix — went home with new owners Saturday.

Ardith Xander, Lennon’s new mom, said she’s lived on a farm all of her life and has always owned a dog. She expected 1-year-old Lennon might initially prove to be a challenge, but one she was eager to take on.

Eric and Gia Shimpach at humane society event

Incoming Portage Common Council Member Eric Shimpach and his wife, Gia, surrender their fingertips to a calico-coated cat at the Columbia County Humane Society on Saturday. The newlywed couple hopes to adopt a kitten in the near future.

“He’s kind of a wild guy,” Xander said.

Richard Martinson, a friend who helped Xander with the adoption process and plans to help care for Lennon, said he believes the dog will need a lot of attention and handling at first.

Martinson said the family that provided foster care to Lennon prior to adoption had taken good care of him.

Jennifer Stolinas said her family loved having Lennon around, and she added that helping out with foster care through the humane society can prevent dogs from being euthanized elsewhere or taken to a pound.

Stolinas said foster care also provides families that can’t afford a new dog a chance to get a similar experience of owning a puppy.

“Foster care is a great alternative,” Stolinas said. “You always have a new dog. You can’t get bored.”

Stolinas said she was glad to meet Lennon’s new family Saturday at the shelter.

Eric Shimpach, who assumes his seat on the Portage Common Council on Tuesday, and his wife, Gia, showed out to look at cats up for adoption. The newlywed couple is hoping to adopt a kitten in the near future.

It appeared as if Lily, a calico-coated kitten with a quiet meow, was among the top contenders.

Humane Society Board member Kory Morgan paced down a hallway packed with barking pit bulls, stopping to pet a few along the way. He lifted up a 1-year-old stray terrier mutt and kissed her on her fuzzy forehead.

Morgan said he enjoys finding homes for dogs both big and small.

Follow Brad on Twitter @BradMikeAllen or call him at 608-745-3510.

Reporter

Portage Daily Register public safety reporter

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