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Archive for Sunday, July 11, 1999

VOLUNTEER FINDS HOMES FOR ANIMALS VIA WEB

July 11, 1999

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Amy Tramill was volunteering at the Humane Society three months ago when she noticed a dog was acting quite strange. When she tried to pet Molly, the dog cowered like she had been abused by her previous owner.

Tramill was concerned about Molly's well-being and decided to foster the dog temporarily. She took her home and put Molly's picture on her Web page Animal Calling (www.animalcalling.com).

The site, which was started Dec. 19, 1998, and received nonprofit status in May, posts pictures of dogs and cats from the Humane Society in need of homes. Animal Calling also includes other invaluable resources, including information about the importance of owners spaying and neutering their pets.

As Tramill waited to hear from someone interested in adopting Molly, she gave her some much needed affection. Molly soon began to change and act more comfortably around people. After a month, Tramill finally received an e-mail she'll never forget.

"Molly looks like the dog for us," a couple wrote.

"I almost started crying, and then I was laughing," Tramill said. "Clint (Tramill's husband) and I were dancing around the kitchen because we both loved her. We wanted her to have a good life, and she will. That was real rewarding."

Ironically, Molly's new owners live just two blocks from Tramill in Lawrence. The wife, in fact, was jogging with Molly the other day when she paid a surprise visit.

Tramill said the woman told her, "I just thought you'd like to see Molly. She's doing wonderfully."

"Molly looks like the perfect fit," Tramill said.

Tramill thinks that posting pictures and names of animals like Molly on the Internet will help people make a unique connection with the pets. She genuinely believes it's an animal lover's "obligation" to rescue a dog or cat from the shelter instead of buying one at the pet store.

"I think having a Web work in your favor for shelters is making a big difference in adoption rates," Tramill said.

Tramill actually started Animal Calling because she lost her own beloved dog, Kara, on June 19, 1998. Tramill thought she might have better luck finding her by putting her picture on the Web. While Kara remains on the site, Tramill still has heard no word.

"We always keep our eyes open," she said.

Just below Kara's picture is a quote from Ghandi, which sums up Tramill's mission with Animal Calling:

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."

-- David Garfield is a free-lance writer in Lawrence. His phone number is 832-9390.

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