A strong first year – Friends of the Animals finishes 2013 with more than 500 adoptions

Recently, Friends of the Animals Baton Rouge (FOTA) marked a milestone. In 2013—its first year as a full-fledged rescue shelter—the non-profit re-homed 503 dogs and puppies that otherwise might have been euthanized at the city animal shelter.

In 2010, Paula Schoen created FOTA as a booster group to improve the quality of life for animals in the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Shelter. Besides engaging volunteers to exercise and socialize the dogs and to make improvements to the physical facility, FOTA began weekly adoption events at Orvis and the Arts Market so the public could meet shelter dogs.

“The shelter is a hard experience for [potential adopters],” says Schoen. “It’s in a remote location. The smell and the noise can be overwhelming. It pulls at your heartstrings because there are so many animals who need homes.”

Recognizing the best way to improve shelter animal’s lives was to expedite their exit from the municipal facility, the FOTA board decided to focus on fostering and adopting dogs and puppies as well as creating the Positive Alternatives to Shelter Surrender (PASS) program to prevent owners from dumping unwanted canines at the shelter.

Since June 2013, FOTA has been able to boost its adoptions with the opening of its Adoption House on Highland Road.

“We have benefited from our South Highland location,” says Schoen. “Lots of curious people have stopped in to see what we are all about. We’re happy to show them that we have a variety of dogs available. We’ve had a lot of families with kids stop by and they’ve told friends who are looking for a dog. We have been really open to volunteers just stopping by the house, and they have spread the word.”

Since its inception, FOTA has saved the lives of more than 1,114 dogs and an additional 38 cats.

These are among the great dogs and puppies available from FOTA:

Dixie is a one-year-old German shepherd/giant schnauzer mix, who weighs approximately 70 pounds. Dixie knows basic obedience commands, is housebroken, crate and leash trained. She’s good with all people and dogs. However due to her size and young age, she’s probably best suited for a home without small children or small dogs. Dixie is still a very playful and energetic pup and definitely needs a fenced yard for safe play. She loves to play fetch and splash in a kiddie pool in warm weather. While she enjoys being outdoors, she also needs to be indoors with people because she loves to cuddle. She’s very smart and eager to please; so, with continued training, she will be a wonderful forever companion.

Tonka is an adorable three-and-a-half-year-old Westie /Pekapoo mix. Tonka is housebroken and knows some basic obedience commands. While he likes to play outside and particularly enjoys running through the sprinkler in warm weather, he also loves to cuddle and lie close to his humans. However, he does not like spending hours alone. Tonka is an outgoing social boy who needs a stay-at-home mom and dad or dog friend for company. He is fine with all adults, but he has yet to be around small children. Tonka is a happy, friendly, playful boy who would love to find a forever home.

Jose is a cream-colored, male, Chihuahua. At approximately one year old, he weighs a whopping six pounds. Affectionate and shy at first, Jose quickly turns into a lap dog. However, he is best suited for a home without small children because they make him nervous. He gets along just fine with other dogs. In fact, Jose would do best in a home with another dog, as he does get lonely when left alone. In his foster home, he snuggles under the covers to sleep with his foster brother and sister Chihuahuas. So, if your family is looking for a snuggle buddy and the most dedicated, best friend forever that you have ever had, Jose might be your match. For more information, contact his foster at [email protected].

Sue is a six-year-old shiba inu mix. Sue is crate trained, leash trained, housebroken and knows several tricks and obedience commands. Sue is calm, obedient and very smart. She’s perfectly content to just hang out with you in the house; but, she does love going for walks and she’s a great jogging partner. She truly loves people and is protective of her owners when other dogs are around. Sue would do best in a home without other pets, where she can be the center of attention. Sue is ready to bond with a caring, forever owner. If you are looking for a loyal, loveable canine companion, give this great girl a much-needed, second chance at happiness. For more information, contact her foster mom at [email protected].

Bruce Wayne is a fluffy border collie/Labrador mix.

Jessie is a young female pointer mix. Quiet and playful, this beautiful girl loves people and gives great hugs; but, she doesn’t need a huge amount of attention. She ignores cats and enjoys the company of other dogs.

All these dogs have been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, heartworm tested and microchipped. Many other adoptable dogs and puppies are available through Friends of the Animals. For more information, click here.