A Pet’s Second Chance at Life


Maia Matula and Elle Philpott

A Furry Friend: Barney, the shelter’s six month resident dog out of his kennel, January 12, 2023.

          “There are five homeless animals on the street for every one homeless human,” according to DoSothing.org

          Animal Control centers around the country help to get these animals off the streets and supply them with food and warmth until they can find a permanent family. At the Animal Control Center for Milford and Orange at the Silver Sands State Park Beach, there are currently 3 dogs and 1 cat ready to find a new home. 

          These pet’s lives range on a day to day basis from sleeping, going for walks, playing with volunteers, and eating food donated by citizens in their very own community. However, they lack the true meaning of “home” a good family can offer.

          The dogs at the shelter are a mix of pitbull and bully breeds; however, the word “bully” doesn’t quite characterize these particular dogs at all. 

          As for the shelter’s six month resident Barney, he is a lovely, playful, and high energy dog who has been there the longest. Spice is a very energetic, young, and hyper female dog with a connective personality who has been residing at the shelter for 5 months. Elijah is a five or six year old pitbull mix with a good energy.

          Petunia is an adult domestic shorthair cat who is very picky on who she likes but is very affectionate and protective once she finds them. The shelter also experiences an influx of cats, specifically kittens, in the spring months. 

          Head Animal Control Officer Ellingson explains at a deeper understanding of the care and heart it takes to care for these animals. He states, “A lot of people don’t realize pets are work. They are living things and cannot just be put on a shelf. They need food and play.”

          The Milford Animal Control center runs a food bank every year where they collect items such as blankets, toys, and food (wet and dry) for dogs and cats. There is an abundance of these resources needed, therefore a shelter could never have too many supplies because “there is always a dog in need,” says Ellingson.

          Donations are not all that can be given, another thing you can provide for the center is your time. They offer volunteer opportunities which would help the animals, the center, and even you. This job entails walking the dogs, sweeping, caring for the kittens, cleaning, and providing food and water for the animals; similar to kennel keeper and Assistant Animal Control Officer Marc Ruby’s daily schedule. 

Finding a Forever Home: Posing for the cameras, Petunia rests in her cage awaiting to be adopted into a great and loving family, January 12, 2023. (Maia Matula and Elle Philpott)

          Ruby cares for the dogs every day and when the weather is good he’ll even walk them. Ruby also patrols with another assistant officer to make sure dogs are on leashes and being picked up after. Along with responding to calls that come in throughout the day that involve rescuing found dogs, assisting the police and safe keeping dogs when their owners are unable to. 

          As for junior Julia Poffenberger, she has two rescue labs. Marty is a 6 year old black lab mix and Ginny is a 2 year old silver lab. Marty was rescued from a shelter in Maryland and Ginny was physically rescued off the street in Milford. 

          Poffenberger states, “I really like that my dogs are rescued because there are so many many dogs out there that never end up getting homes and need to be rescued.” 

          Shelter dogs are not just cheaper, but rescuing is also helping an animal in need. So before buying a pet, consider the life you could be giving to an animal that doesn’t have a forever home.