When Adam Balsamo talks about Freely, the mixed breed dog he and his wife adopted, it’s with a tenderness in his voice.
“Oh, he’s our baby,” Balsamo, executive director of the Wicomico County Humane Society, said.
When Freely was a puppy, he broke his hip and it healed badly. Veterinarians, during surgery, had to break it again and set it correctly.
“He’s fine now. His leg kicks out when he runs,” Balsamo said, explaining the dog is a rescue from Kentucky.
“It’s rewarding to see where he is now, compared to where he was. Dogs and cats are such constant companions,” he said.
And, they make wonderful holiday gifts, for owners willing to care for them and take responsibility for their well-being.
Balsamo is hoping to see more adoptions from the Humane Society, currently full with 16 dogs, six puppies, 33 cats and 10 kittens.
“Because we are so limited on the amount of dogs we can have, we are trying to get the word out. We have everything from puppies to older dogs. We have a pretty good mix right now. We’re pretty full. If you are thinking about adopting a dog, this is the time,” he said.
“The biggest thing with holidays is, we do have people who want to get their son or daughter a new dog or cat, but we want to make sure they are able to care for that animal long term. It’s always exciting and everything but there is a lot of responsibility. It’s almost like having a baby,” he said.
“We are here and we want to find these dogs good homes. A kennel is not like a home environment. Some of these dogs sit in those kennels for so long,” he said.
“Some of our dogs we have had a little trouble with, so before we put them up for adoption we have a trainer we work with, to give the dogs obedience training,” Balsamo said.
“We will have puppies available in the next couple of weeks. They came in positive for ringworm so they had to be isolated. It took us eight weeks of medication and treatment and a decent amount of money for medicine to treat the puppies and their mother,” he said of the pit bull mixes.
Dogs and cats adopted from the Humane Society are spayed, neutered, up to date on vaccinations and microchipped.
“They have everything you could need,” he said.
Those interested in adopting must go through an application process. Renters need permission to own a dog and families that already have dogs must allow the animals to meet.
Details, costs and photographs of pets available are on the Web site, at wicomicohumane.org.
The Humane Society also has a Facebook page.
Those who can’t adopt, but want to help, can donate cat toys, canned cat food, blankets and newspapers.
Cleaning supplies and puppy pads are not currently needed, Balsamo said, because so many were given in the spring after more than 300 sick and neglected dogs, mostly Pomeranians, were rescued from a home on Cooper Road.
Donations of money are also appreciated. The humane society’s annual budget, for FY 2017, is $402,000. Funding comes from the county and the city contributes. Money is also raised by casual Fridays at local businesses and other fund-raisers.
Volunteers, including Salisbury University students, help by walking and playing with the four-legged residents.
Those who want a pet by Christmas still have time to complete the application process, Balsamo said.
“I’ve had pets ever since I was a kid. Almost as long as I can remember I’ve had a dog or a cat or something,” he said.
“As you train the dog and grow with the dog, it’s really rewarding to have that in your life.”
Reach Susan Canfora at firstname.lastname@example.org.