It’s 10:30 Friday night and a dedicated lover of animals is working diligently to prepare for successful dog and cat adoptions the next morning at the Tractor Supply Co. store, 469 Roosevelt Trail in Windham the following day. The devoted individual is Erlene LeBorgne, founder and owner of Maine Lab Rescue in Windham.
As part of their monthly visit to the Tractor Supply Co. store as well as Saturday visits to other businesses in the greater Windham area; Maine Lab Rescue volunteers and foster families donate three hours of their Saturday afternoons to help find homes for dogs and cats who are rescued and transported here from Georgia. This Saturday’s event was a true success with a total of 15 out of the 24 animals that were brought in were adopted in the three-hour timeframe. (14 dogs and 1 cat.)
Saturday’s event at the Tractor Supply Co. store was no different.
First, there is the adoption success story of Prissy, an 8-month old female pup, thought to be a retriever mix. Prissy hadn’t arrived at the store yet and her future adoptees, Kathy and David Garrold were anxiously waiting to “meet and greet” the golden four-legged sweetheart. As they waited, they shared their story, “this whole process has been a dream come true. We found Miss Prissy on Maine Lab Rescue’s Facebook page Tuesday this past week. We both fell in love with her picture and information. She was exactly what we were looking for.”
After filling out the adoption application and Garrolds’ references were checked and passed with flying colors, the Garrolds were accepted for adoption and made the two-hour trip from Monroe to meet Prissy.
“It was love at first sight,” Kathy Garrold stated, regarding the moment she saw Prissy walking in with her foster family, Angela Littlefield and her daughter, Neve.
After meeting Prissy and learning about her easy personality traits and simple needs from Littlefield, the Garrold’s signed the necessary papers and left with Prissy by their side.
Success and smiles continued on Saturday when foster parents, Michelle Diment and her daughter Samantha got to meet Zarah, a puppy they fostered a month ago, who now has a permanent and loving home in Windham. When asked if she had advice for future animal adopters, Michelle stated, “It’s important to educate and remind people that a puppy is a real commitment. People have a hard time believing or forget that those cute little 20-week old puppy faces will chew up your favorite shoes, go to the bathroom on the floor, or jump on the nice furniture.” However, Diment continued to say that with gentle commitment and training, the puppies grow out of this phase and become the dog people expect.
“The same goes for some older dogs. Although they have passed the puppy stages, commitment and patience is still required to teach them manners,” she added. Diment explained that they may have just come off the streets or they have spent a majority of their life in kennels. But with persistence, they too can become an easy loving family companion.
The real success on Saturday, however, was the organization itself. LeBorgne explained that Maine Lab Rescue (MLR) is a result of a kitten she adopted from Georgia nearly 5 years ago. “I became aware of the challenges faced in the South and wanted to become part of the solution.” As a result, LeBorgne established MLR in 2012, which is headquartered here in Windham. Macon, Georgia serves as the center of operations in the south.
When asked why there is a pet overpopulation in southern states, LeBorgne explained that there are both cultural and financial reasons. “There is often a different perspective regarding spaying and neutering in the southern areas that we assume and take for granted in New England.” Financial barriers also play a large role. LeBorgne went on to say that there are many committed rescue volunteers in George that MLR works with on a daily basis.
“They are just as caring, passionate, and determined to find a good home for the dogs that come into their care as we are.” Without them, she said, her job would be very difficult. In fact, Georgia foster parents are available around the clock to give a dog/cat a temporary home until they are transported to Maine on a weekly basis.
The adoption process includes an application with references followed by a public meet and greet. Adoption fees for cats are $185.00 and $425.00 for dogs. The adoption fees pay for medical care, spay/neuter, transportation, as well as the day to day expenses associated with operation of the rescue. LeBorgne stated, “We are very grateful that most veterinarians will provide services at a discounted rate.” However, the costs remain substantial.
LeBorgne added that there is a constant need for foster parents. For those who are interested, please email email@example.com. To see the latest adoptable pets, check on the Maine Lab Rescue Facebook page, the website at www.mainelabrescue.com or to view a full photo album, visit www.mlradoptables.com.
As for Prissy and her new parents, Kathy Garrold wrote, “I cannot say enough good about Maine Lab Rescue and the whole process. We feel very lucky to be a part of their family now and to have Miss Prissy in our lives.”
Maine Lab Rescue will have another adoption event at the Blue Seal Feeds, 43 Main St, Windham, this Saturday, September 24th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.