Gunville speaks to Golden K club about the animal shelter

Judy Sielaff photo Gilbert Engel, Golden K chair, introduces speaker Shelly Gunville of the Almost Home Animal Shelter with Luna. Gunville spoke on the daily duties of the animal shelter and how they work to match families with an animal to adopt.

KINGSFORD — Flowers are blooming, trees are budding and grass is beginning to look green. As a bonus to those wonderful events, the A&W is open. Spring has finally arrived. Sporting one less layer of clothing, the Golden K members were punctual for their Monday meeting.

Chairman Gilbert Engel rang the bell to signal everyone to find their places. The “Pledge to the Flag” was followed by singing “God Bless America.” With so many countries in chaos, these two formalities remind us of the freedom we cherish.

Pianist Alyce Derwinski picked up the pace as Bill Roberts led the singing. “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You Are My Sunshine” were a couple of lively old songs testing out the vocal cords.

Keeping the momentum going, welcome was sung for guests Shelly Gunville and Dustin Beaulier. Joe Santi received Happy Birthday wishes and Kathy Bourdeau gladly picked up the winnings from the 50-50 drawing.

Engel introduced Gunville as guest speaker. She works with the Almost Home Animal Shelter. The facility has two main functional areas. Gunville works on the main floor with the animals. Downstairs there is a dog training area. She performs evaluations for The American Kennel Club, as well as leader dog training for the blind.

Shelters are a great place for animals that find themselves homeless. Paid and volunteer staff spend countless hours cleaning, feeding, and facilitating exercise for the dogs. Dogs can be like people: some get along fine while others do not. With an average occupancy of 20 dogs, the care takes patience and time.

Cats at the shelter have similar care and cleaning requirements. Cats are given donated toys, and encouraged by volunteers.

Volunteers walk the dogs most afternoons and some evenings. Gunville explained the difference between a trained Service Dog, a dog used for emotional support or therapy, and a household pet. Dogs are trained based on specific owner needs.

People come to the shelter to give up their pet or to search for one. The staff spends time getting to know the potential adopter and their family to decide which pet would be best.

Many people overlook the many factors to be considered. Some examples are the size, energy and personality of the dogs. Also important is the interaction with family members and other animals in their household. The age of the animal as well as feeding and health care are also important factors.

The shelter provides spay and neuter service. They check the behavior of each animal to determine whether it is compatible with other animals. She believes all dogs need to be trained because manners matter.

Maximum enjoyment occurs when animals and owners work well together. The shelter takes in strays, animals surrendered for various reasons, and litters of kittens or puppies. They handle paperwork, interviews and care for each animal under their roof as if it were their own. Volunteers and donations are always welcome. Stop by some afternoon and take a dog for a walk. Check out the shelter to see for yourself how things work.

Golden K meets every Monday at the First Presbyterian Church. The next meeting will feature a talk about a local event called the Snowshoe Stomp. Meetings begin at 10 a.m., with a program scheduled at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome.


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