Dog and cat find the long way home


Sharon Tillett of Wanchese with Phoebe, a petite black stray that had been the Currituck Animal Shelter's longest resident before being adopted over Christmas.


BY Cindy Beamon
Albemarle Life Editor

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Phoebe was one of those dogs people worry about.

The petite black stray was brought into the Currituck Animal Shelter in November 2015. She was very thin and was obviously nursing puppies, said shelter administrative assistant Rachael Stone.

Phoebe was reunited with her puppies, she was happy for a while. But life at the shelter on Aviation Parkway in Currituck Community Park in Barco can change quickly.

Her puppies were adopted and Phoebe was left alone. She was heart-worm positive, which meant it would be more difficult to find someone willing to adopt her.

Month after month passed by, and many pets were adopted, but Phoebe remained. She was at the shelter longer than any of the other animals -- which made the possibility that she might be euthanized greater.

As the holidays neared, it looked as if Phoebe would spend a second Christmas at the shelter... or worse. Fortunately, a generous donor sponsored her heart-worm treatment earlier, so anyone wanting to adopt her was spared the extra expense.

Local shelters were offering special promotions to encourage people to adopt a pet over the holidays.

The SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina reduced its adoption fee to $25 for dogs and cats as long as the shelter had been waiting at the shelter for at least three months. Normally dogs are $90 and cats are $50 for adoption, so the discount was significant.

One of the cats on that list was Coastie, a three-year-old brown and black tabby, that had been at the shelter since June.

Nikita Haughton of Roper noticed Coastie on the SPCA's website, but she waited. Haughton, said she frequently stops by the shelter to visit the pets.

"If I could help all of them I would, but I can't afford it," she said.

Haughton, a nursing student at Beaufort Community College, fell in love with Coastie after going to the shelter with a friend who needed to neuter her newly adopted dogs.

When she walked into the cat room, Coastie ran up to her, and Haughton was won by the cat's affections. Now Coastie -- renamed Teddy Bear -- has found a comfortable spot in the family with children, dogs and another cat.

Ann Pitts, executive director, for the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina on Enterprise Drive, said the holidays were good for adoptions.

"We have been fortunate to be able to offer this special for many years running now," said Ann Pitts, the shelter's executive director. "It looks like last year we had more dog adoptions, but this year we had more cat adoptions -- 37 to be exact. Twenty-two dogs also found loving homes."

The holidays were also good for animals at the Currituck Shelter.

Seventy-nine animals found homes between Nov. 1, 2016 and Jan. 1, reported Stone.

Two animals that have been at the shelter a long time are still waiting to be adopted, however. Marcie, a brown tabby, is the last of her litter left at the shelter. She been there since May 2016

"Marcie...is so sweet. I am not sure why she is being overlooked. I think brown tabby cats are so plentiful that they just get overlooked," she said.

For Phoebe, the long wait has ended happily.

Amanda Tillett of Wanchese was looking for a pet for her mother Sharon Tillett who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Amanda said her mother was brokenhearted after the dog she had for 16 years died last April.

"I decided. 'why not give a dog a home,'" said Amanda, who works at an animal hospital.

Amanda said she especially likes the shelter and workers at Currituck, so she began searching there. Phoebe, a mild-mannered, loving dog, about three years old, caught her attention.

"We fell in love with her instantly and brought her home for Christmas," Amanda said.

At first Phoebe was skiddish, but eventually she warmed up to her surroundings.

Now Phoebe loves to dig holes in the sand and lie in the sun in the big back yard where she goes out to play. She's also made friends with other dogs in the neighbohood, noted Amanda.

The dog has also become a bright spot in her mother's life.

"My mom is absolutely in love with her. She brings so much joy," said Amanda.