dogs and cats given loving owners |

dogs and cats given loving owners

Frank Fisher, Of the Record staff
Cathy Clark, Director of Summit County Friends of Animals and her pups Dino and Moose. Photo by Sarah Ause/Park Record

It’s not so much that pets adopted from animal shelters deserve a second chance at life, more than likely, they never really got a first chance.

Cathy Clark, the director of operations of the Summit County Friends of Animals in Park City’s Tanger Outlet Center, finds homes for healthy, adoptable shelter animals. All of them.

Entering Furburbia, which is operated by Clark and FOA, the most noticeable aspect is on the right a wall of one-cat, multi-level condos, with cats and kittens lounging in their hammocks, sleeping in their lower-level cat beds, honing their claws on scratching posts, eating, playing with toys and in another partitioned area having a litter box at their disposal.

Just as noticeable is the cleanliness of the Furburbia adoption center which links loving two-legged animals with loving four-legged animals.. The Plexiglas’s windowed fronts on all of the pet "condos" are so clean; you wouldn’t know they were there, except for an occasional glare off the surface. The floor of the store is also clean except for a few stray chew toys and stuffed animals here and there.

Cats live in their condos until adopted. Dogs, 8-12 of them on any given day, spend the day at Furburbia, waiting for the right person or family to come along. When the shop closes, they are transported to a larger kennel-setting in Heber, to spend the night, and return again the next day.

Furburbia places only dogs and cats. Clark said she prefers the four-legged animals over something like snakes, which "give me the willies, but I’m sure I could learn to love one."

And then there are the foster families. Families volunteer to take home pets that are recovering from injuries received before being acquired by Furburbia, and need some extra care and love during recuperation. Clark said as of Monday, Jan. 8, 25 animals are out in the care of foster families.

Clark, a two-year transplant from Kentucky, happened into the job, beginning part-time, simply to feel productive. Now she has a full-time passion about her work of saving dogs’ and cats’ lives. She adopts them from shelters that send pleas for her help in finding them permanent homes. These are animals that have not been adopted over time, likely passed by in favor of the "youngest or the cutest," Clark said. But many of these are wonderful animals that simply don’t have someone they can love and be loved by.

All of the dogs and cats in Furburbia have names. They come from a book of 50,000 best baby names, and from customers.

Clark has two Rottweiler that she adopted who sometimes visit her in Furburbia. They are big, they are black and they are gentle. Moose, Clark said, doesn’t realize he is big and strong, and sometimes gets intimidated by a sassy cat. But Moose and Dino seem to get along just fine with the cats as if they were all mini Rottweilers.

Adoption fees are $95 for cats and $105 for kittens, $115 for dogs and $125 for puppies. But the new owner gets a lot for the money besides a new family member. Animals are spayed or neutered, they have had their vaccinations, they have an embedded microchip which can be scanned by animal shelters across the country to identify them and send them home.

However, not just anyone can buy one of these animals. The people have to demonstrate to the satisfaction of Clark or cat manager Darrell McCurtain that adopting a pet isn’t just a passing fancy. They go through interviews, application processes and follow-ups before they are accepted. "When we send one out with a family, we feel like were sending out one of our own pets," Clark said.

Furburbia offers an array of calendars, shirts and games, with proceeds going back to helping place the animals.

Does Clark like her job? "Oh gosh, yeah, it’s the best job in the world."

Friends of Animals is a non-profit organization. To volunteer, become a foster parent, to adopt, or to donate, call 649-5441.

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