Animal chorus: Just love us

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The chorus was in full voice as I followed Jessica. Meows and barks, mostly barks, filled the air. Paws reached through cages inviting us to share a moment of contact.

I was amazed listening as Jessica told me about every animal in every cage. She knew them all, their names and most of their stories.

“This one was left tied on the porch when the family moved,” she said, introducing me to one of the dogs and cats.

“Oh, this one’s owner died and there was no one to take it. Someone left this one at our door. This one got too old and the owners didn’t want it anymore.

“I’m not sure about this one, but he came in with almost no fur; look at you now,” she said touching the outstretched paw.

Cage after cage. Animal after animal looking at us with kind eyes. Each one a potential pet.

My visit to Opp Paws and Claws was an eye-opening experience. I knew, or thought I knew, about the overpopulation problem, but seeing it firsthand was a completely different thing.

To say this non-profit organization’s goal is saving companion animals whose lives are in jeopardy does not begin to describe what it does. Perhaps the best way to tell you what they do and how they feel is to share what they say on their website.

“All members of OPC are volunteers who are animal owners themselves and are deeply dedicated to the welfare and safety of every homeless or unwanted animal that we take in.”

And, they take in a lot of animals.

Jessica, a dynamo when it comes to OPC, is quick to say they could not do what they do without the support and hands-on involvement of her mother, Dr. Faith Drumheller.

“She is the reason we are able to do this,” Jessica said. “Without her providing the medical care and her financial support — I don’t know what we would do.”

We walk past a cage where three adult cats sit. A solid white one with beautiful blue eyes meows and sticks a paw out.

“They have been here since they were kittens,” Jessica said. “I don’t know why they haven’t been adopted.”

I touch the outstretched paw and get a purr back in return.

The number of animals housed and cared for by OPC is overwhelming, and I know it must be expensive. Both Jessica and Faith tell me the cost of what OPC does is high and funding comes in bits and pieces.

As we visit two dogs in the last cage, I hear their story from Jessica. She sounds like she is talking about good friends.

“Oh, they are brothers and they have been here since they were puppies,” she said. “They are such good dogs.”

I leave feeling overwhelmed and I wonder how people can abandon, abuse and not take care of God’s creatures. I also think about what we can do to stop the problem. OPC lists ways to help reduce overpopulation.

* Spay or neuter all pets. If you can’t afford it, many places offer low-cost surgeries.

* Do not let pets outside to roam unattended (cats and dogs).

* Support your local animal shelter—whether it’s through donations or volunteering.

* Tell friends and neighbors about the importance of spaying and neutering.

* Educate your community. You can make a difference.

I add to that, support the efforts of OPC because they are doing amazing work, but they need funding and they need people with hearts for these animals.

As I drove away, I still heard the echo of that animal chorus, barks and meows singing out a simple request — love us and give us a home.

To help OPC, send a tax-deductible donation to Opp Paws and Claws, 207 Highway 52 East, Opp, AL 36467, 334-341-4577, . Also, visit on Facebook to see photos of adoptable pets.