Who would be crazy enough to wear a fur coat in 100-degree heat?

Probably not anyone you know, but for many Huntsville residents, taking off the coat is not an option. Pets can have a hard time beating the Texas summer heat, but Rita B. Huff Animal Shelter is doing its part to help the animals in its care.

“We’ve put a sprinkler system on top of the kennels with shade cloths,” said Brenda Guidry, assistant manager at the shelter. “It sprays dogs every 15 minutes to half an hour. There are also fans out there to help push the water. It’s a misting system.

“The money for the fans was donated by Jack and Yvonne Kerr and Ruth Cady,” she said. “They’re very supportive of the shelter.”

Putting in a misting shelter was the brain-child of the shelter’s new veterinary technician, Heike Ness. She said she felt the summer heat may be too much for the canines and wanted to do something to help them stay cool.

Guidry said pet owners can take precautions in their own backyards, as well.

“Make sure dogs have plenty of shade and plenty of water,” she said. “Dogs are going to eat less in the summer, that’s just a given.

“We watch our dogs very closely,” she said. “Right now, we have a collie and he has so much hair that we will not put him outside. We’re very careful who we put outside.”

Many animals perish in the summer heat, but it’s not always because pet owners aren’t paying attention. A summer jaunt about town can leave dogs dangerously close to death if the animal is left in a vehicle, Guidry said.

“Don’t leave a pet in a car unless you’re going to leave the air conditioner on,” she said. “So far, we’ve only had one phone call about a dog in a car here in town. We tell anyone concerned to call animal control and the officer handles that.”

For residents who don’t have pets, the shelter always has a fresh supply.

“We have around five rat terrier puppies, males and females,” Guidry said. “We’ve got so many special ones. They’re all my babies.

“We also have a weenie dog and a pair, Peppy and Katie, that need to go together,” she added. “They’re five and Katie is a dachshund and Peppy is a rat terrier. They’re both housebroken, spayed and neutered. They are both on heartworm preventative and the adoption fee together would be $50 because we would like for them to stay together.”

In other shelter news, donations are needed for the annual Rita B. Huff garage sale fund-raiser to be held Sept. 9-10.

To make arrangements for pick-up or drop off items for the sale, call the shelter at (936) 295-4666 or (936) 295-3321 or stop by at 530 Bearkat Blvd.

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