When Florida residents evacuated prior to Hurricane Irma, some made the decision to leave their dogs behind or to take them to a shelter like Sumter County Animal Services. The shelters were overcrowded and Sassy, a hound mix, was fortunate enough to be transferred along with 10 other dogs to the Humane Society of Carroll County.
"Sumter County was getting so many dogs and they had nowhere to go with them," said Michelle Fidler, Humane Society of Carroll County's director of animal care. "We took some of the dogs already in the shelter so there would be space for the stray dogs to stay until they were reunited with their families."
Fidler said 11 dogs were put into foster care so they wouldn't have to stay in the kennels. The dogs will be up for adoption Friday, Oct. 13. The adoption event will take place 5 to 10 p.m. at the Petsmart on Urbana Pike in Frederick.
"We want them to be well socialized," Fidler said. "The nice thing about adopting a foster dog is that you'll get a little more information about how they'll act in the home. That helps with retention in their new adopters' homes."
Lara Moody, a volunteer with Sumter County Animal Alliance, which facilitated the transfer, said the organization reached out to Fidler after learning about the Humane Society of Carroll County on Facebook. They spent a week corresponding, and Fidler found the dogs foster homes before they arrived Saturday night.
"We are always looking for rescues for our dogs, whether it's a hurricane or not," Moody said. "Our shelter is a high kill shelter, so the dogs have three weeks at most. Having an opportunity to send them out en masse was just too good to be true."
Moody said making contact with Fidler was like the answer to a prayer.
"Michelle went to a lot of trouble to match the foster with the dog. She got as much information as she could about their temperament, history, age and size to match them with foster parents," Moody said. "I think she did a masterful job. We get to watch this unfold through Facebook and these people seem so grateful to us for sending them the dogs. It's the purest gratification we can get."
Sassy's foster parents, Dan and Katy Gaffney, of Westminster, said they were happy to help.
"We could give a few bucks to the Red Cross, but we thought this was a way we could really help," said Dan Gaffney. "We have two other dogs and thought it might be a fit. So far, it has been."
Gaffney said like any shelter dog, Sassy craves attention.
"She seems happy. She seems grateful that she's at a place where she's fed and has some land to stretch her legs," Gaffney said. "She's very sweet and playful. Someone is really going to be happy with her."