The call goes out to all pet lovers: Please consider adoption at your local (and recently opened) animal shelter in Independence.

Despite a recent increase of pet adoptions due to the holidays, the Great Plains SPCA animal shelter of Independence still needs help in providing unwanted cats and dogs a home.

“We are definitely over where we should comfortably be at,” says Jackie Lightle, manager of Great Plains SPCA in Independence. “but we are maintaining.”

Since last April, Eastern Jackson County, particularly Blue Springs and Independence, now has an animal shelter of their own. Located on 21001 Missouri 78 (23rd Street) in Independence, the exclusive refuge for pets is a ‘no-kill shelter,’ meaning they do not euthanize pets in order to curb the overpopulation.

Lightle says the shelter has anywhere from five to 20 pets going to new homes per day. However, Great Plains experienced a surge in pet adoptions this past holiday season where the average adoption rate doubled, perhaps even tripled, Lightle said. It was perhaps due to the discount offered for Christmas.

“From Dec. 20 to 31, dogs who have been here longer than 30 days were $30,” says Lightle. “and fees were waived for cats five months or older plus kittens under four months had a two for one special.”

Although the special pricing is now over, there are still several incentives included when one adopts a pet at Great Plains. Most notably, all the ones adopted are either spayed or neutered before leaving the shelter.

“All of our pets are also micro-chipped, have their age-appropriate vaccinations, 30 days of pet insurance, heartworm, flea and tick treatment and a supply of pet food to help them get acclimated to their diet at their new home,” Lightle says.

And on top of that, all adoption fees go toward Great Plains SPCA operations.

But what if adopters suddenly regret their decision since their new addition is not acclimating well at home? Lightle also pointed out there are certain protocols implemented at Great Plains to ensure adopted pets are going to a suitable environment. Before one adopts either cat or dog, they fill out a questionnaire to determine what kind of pet the shelter has available that will best fit their preferences.

“We ask people who are interested in possibly adopting from our shelter where will the animal stay when they’re not at home, what behaviors we will not tolerate and so forth,” Lightle adds. “And if they already have pets of their own, we encourage them to bring their dog or cat here to see if they will get along in the future.”

Of course, nothing is foolproof and the shelter offers a replacement pet in exchange if their selection wasn’t an ideal match, according to Lightle.

And just what kind of pets are looking for a home of their own exactly? Look no further with Salty and Jonesy.

The two dogs who are believed to be siblings due to their similar size and same-colored coat have a special bond.

“Salty and Jonesy were rescued from a hoarding issue earlier this summer where they lived among 33 other cats,” explains Lightle.

The relationship between the two is extraordinary: Salty is the seeing-eye dog for Jonesy, who is blind.

“When they first arrived here, the volunteers noticed Salty would place his head underneath Jonesy’s chin before he walked into a wall,” she said. “He also helps him turn a corner in the building, herd him in his pen and go on walks.”

Both dogs are a packaged deal if adopted, says Lightle. Unfortunately Salty suffers from a skin condition where he will require extra care as well.

“Their adoption fee is already covered, too,” Lightle mentions. “They are both free to a good home.”

Since the Independence Campus of Great Plains SPCA opened its doors less than a year ago, Eastern Jackson County residents don’t have to feel guilty anymore whenever they come across the ASPCA commercial on television featuring that signature Sarah McLachlan song. Adopt a pet at Great Plains SPCA of Independence this new year.