Voorhees Animal Orphanage truly cares for its animals and prospective adopters

Steve Mirsen, Eastside News/Features Editor

The Voorhees Animal Orphanage commits itself to compassion for cats, dogs, and humans alike. The no-kill shelter takes in over 1,500 animals each year, and cares for over 200 animals a day, according to its Facebook page. Animals are taken in as long as there is more room, and stay for as long as they need to.

“They stay here with us until they get adopted,” Operations Manager Dawn Mason said.

The shelter has been operating since 1988, “providing shelter, food, and medical care to orphaned dogs and cats until permanent homes can be found,” as the Animal Orphanage’s brochure stated.

The shelter contracts with town municipalities and animal control services and also takes in strays or no-longer wanted pets from people who bring the animals to the shelter. Additionally, the shelter rescues animals from high-kill shelters, where they would have been euthanized.

“They come in strays… through animal control, and on the streets,” Mason said, but these rescued cats and dogs leave the Animal Orphanage as part of a family.

The animals are evaluated shortly after they arrive at the shelter, so the shelter can learn about their health, behavior, and personality. Mason said that a large part of the information about the animals is used during adoptions. The employees and volunteers at the Animal Orphanage “see if they’re going to be the right [animal] for the family,” said Mason. On the outside of each dog’s cage, unless that dog is not available to be adopted, there are information sheets that contain the dog’s basic information, such as age and gender. But they also tell much more. Other information includes where the dog came from, the type of family the dog is comfortable with, as well as if he or she is aggressive toward or used to cats. They also state how much experience an owner should have to suit the particular dog’s needs.

There is sometimes an issue of space at the Animal Orphanage when the shelter is full. At these times, more animals cannot be taken in, so people who want to give up their pet sometimes have to wait, or else they have to find another shelter.

While there can be problems with space availability for new animals coming to the shelter, the option to have more animals stay at the shelter at once loses out to giving more space to the 150-200 animals that live there at the same time. The cats have their own room separate from the dogs to keep them more comfortable, and each dog’s cage area has direct access to an outdoors enclosure 24/7. There are also large exercise yards for the dogs to use.

Although there are still many homeless animals in need of help, the Voorhees Animal Orphanage does much more than simply taking them off the streets. By showing compassion and individual attention to each animal, the shelter helps strays become members of families. As its Facebook page stated, “the Voorhees Animal Orphanage is dedicated to enhance the quality of life for animals and people through compassion, respect, and education.”