Don Eames gets a visit from a 4-week-old kitten as Bridge Adult Day Program supervisor Kelsey Wood watches on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Animals from the Gastineau Humane Society are brought to the program for an hour long visit every month. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Don Eames gets a visit from a 4-week-old kitten as Bridge Adult Day Program supervisor Kelsey Wood watches on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Animals from the Gastineau Humane Society are brought to the program for an hour long visit every month. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Shelter animals visit adult day program

Jean Hoover prefers big dogs, but this small one was just fine.

Hoover, a regular patron at the Bridge Adult Day Program, held a 9-week-old puppy in her lap that had come to Juneau’s Animal Control recently from Angoon. The dog is currently named Opus but will take on a new name, Angie, when she goes to her new owners soon.

“She must have been able to tell you’re a dog person,” Bridge Director Kelsey Wood said to Hoover, smiling.

On Thursday, Angie was one of six animals that accompanied Animal Control Officers Andy Nelson and Karen Wood to The Bridge. The program, which provides a place for adults who are looking for daytime activities and ways to stay busy, has been in operation since 1985. One of its newest programs is a monthly visit from Animal Control, which has been visiting The Bridge for the past six months.

The animals are different every time, as many of them get adopted and find homes quickly. For this visit, Nelson and Wood brought two dogs, three 4-week-old kittens and a jet-black bunny named Rasputin.

“It’s great for the residents and the animals,” Karen Wood said. “The animals get to socialize and the residents get to visit with critters. I know when we go back, (the animals) just crash. They’ve had so much fun.”

Angie got a bit of a workout, bouncing around the room and visiting with the patrons. She spent a few minutes with Hoover, who had a seat next to the window. Hoover said she’s had dogs her whole life, and felt right at home with the two dogs that took turns sitting on her lap Thursday.

Hoover lives with her daughter but comes to The Bridge during the day twice a week.

“It gives me a social life,” Hoover said, “and people to sit with, get to know and enjoy very much.”

A few seats down, Don Eames held one of the small kittens up to his face, cradling it just below his chin. The kitten was making high-pitched, squeaky meows for much of the hour that it spent at The Bridge, but it was quiet now. Eames was too, sharing a silent couple of minutes with the palm-sized gray kitten.

Eames, who has been sidelined for the past few years due to seizures, has been coming to The Bridge for a few months. Spending time there helps to keep him from sitting at home and doing nothing, Eames said, and these visits from Animal Control are days to look forward to.

At the end of the hour, Nelson and Wood reluctantly gathered the animals and put them back into their carrying cases. Eames handed his kitten over and bid a, “Bye friends” as he watched Wood load them up for the trip back to the shelter.

“I can bring them back next month,” Wood said. “That way you can see how much they’ve grown.”

 


 

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at alex.mccarthy@juneauempire.com.

 


 

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