At 6-months old, Amelia waited and waited to find her people. Amelia and her sister had arrived at Lollypop farm back in August and after three months, the joyful Great Pyrenees mix knew she had found her forever home.
Michelle Brown and her two children Sophie and Max walked back to the front desk in tears due to the happiness they found in Amelia. The family had recently put down one of their dogs due to illness, and Amelia will be the newest furry friend in the house to keep their other dog company.
Lollypop Farm is a locally known animal rescue business known for finding forever homes for all its animals. Recently, however, Lollypop has been reaching full capacity in many of its animal departments.
Lollypop takes in not only dogs and cats, but also reptiles, rodents and barn animals like horses, pigs, and goats. It is known as the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, located in Victor, NY. Vicky Pape, the Director of Animal Placement sees firsthand how many animals come to the facility.
“Somedays we can get 30 cats, and some days we get no cats. It really depends on the season,” Pape said. “Summers are obviously busier. But the thing we’re really trying to manage is who’s coming into the shelter so that we can provide the best care for them. We work with the owners when they call, and we try to determine if it’s an emergency so we can set up an appointment for them to come in, that way we’re never overly full and we can ensure we are providing the best care,” Pape said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the frequency of adoptions and surrenders changed dramatically. Pape says that there are a limited amount of kennels at the shelter especially due to the increased number of animal surrenders.
“We’re not seeing people who adopted and are returning [ the animal] just because they are going back to work, but we are seeing animals that have some odd behaviors because of the pandemic,” Pape said. “There are basically teenage puppies who grew up during the pandemic and we’re not able to be properly socialized, because we were not socializing. They never met other dogs and are afraid of strangers and things like that,” Pape said.
Pape also discusses how many of these animals have separation anxiety due to their owners just leaving after being home for over a year.
Lollypop highly depends on its foster program with around 130 animals in foster care. This allows for them to intake more animals than they have space for within the facility. Even with this much needed help, there are still many animals that they just do not have space to take in.
Programs like senior-for-senior, adopt a dog month and free cat days are just a few examples of programs Lollypop puts on to get some of their long-time residents into forever homes.
Some animals however have been there for a long time, and directors like Pape wave their adoption fee to see them go to a happy home that may not have been able to afford the fee.
Carl’s Jr. is an 8-year-old tabby cat that has been a long-time resident at Lollypop farm. Carl has had his adoption fee waved and is one of their “spirit cats”, meaning they tend to come from difficult beginnings. Storm is a 7-year-old mixed breed girl that has been at Lollypop since August and has free adoption as well.
Lollypop Farm has a save rate of 93%, meaning most animals that arrive leave with a positive outcome. A positive outcome could ether mean adoption, transfer to another shelter or foster care. Lollypop’s goal is for all its animals, like Amelia, to find their forever homes and to give the best opportunity to those who weren’t given one.
For more information on animals available at Lollypop farm or how you can volunteer, visit www.lollypop.org !