Gaston County Museum partners with animal shelter to help get dogs adopted

Gaston County’s “fur babies” have finally been adopted after the start of a new partnership between the Gaston County Museum and the County Animal Shelter.

“We’re just happy to help them find their home,” said Elizabeth Henderson, adoption coordinator for the Gaston County Animal Care and Enforcement shelter.

The museum reached out to the shelter to start a partnership this year where the museum promotes one dog from the shelter each month through a social media campaign.

The campaign, titled “Curator, Cats and, Canines!”, helped two of the three featured dogs finally find homes.


The media campaign kicked off in January with Olaf, a 6-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix.

Olaf arrived at the shelter in December last year. Henderson says Olaf was a stray found running in Gastonia with a dog named Elsa.

It lives up to its Disney movie-themed name with its love of breaking up frozen puddles and splashing through water, said museum curator Alicyn Wiedrich.

Olaf was finally adopted on February 11. His owners returned to the shelter last week to adopt another dog, Squiggles, to play with.

“He was such a big love bug,” Henderson said. “I don’t know why he was overlooked in the adoption pool, but he was probably one of the best candidates.”

Henderson says Olaf had a lot of fun with the museum staff during his photo shoot by walking around the backyard of the museum and creating online content with the staff.


Josie, the 3-year-old boxer, visited museum staff in February as the campaign’s second adoptable dog. The museum staff loved his gentle, laid-back personality.

“She was so adorable with great energy,” said Alexander Brooks, the museum’s education manager.

Josie was a stray coming into the shelter on Jan. 8 that no one ever claimed, Henderson said.

“She’s still with us and she’s a great dog, but I think the fact that she has heartworm disease is what turns people away from her,” Henderson said.

The shelter provides owners with free heartworm treatment for dogs, Henderson says.

Dogs can only be accommodated until the end of the treatment. After treatments, dogs can be legally adopted from the shelter.

Currently, Josie is still in need of an adoptive family and is staying at the county shelter.


Museum staff described Sam, a 5-year-old Terrier mix, as an “old soul” with a love for treats.

“He was a lot calmer than the other dogs but he was very sweet,” Brooks said. “He was a more dignified gentleman.”

Sam first came to the shelter in October last year after being abandoned by his landlord.

He was then adopted in December last year, but was found in York County, South Carolina, a few weeks later after his owner no longer wanted him. He returned to the shelter on February 3.

“He’s a little picky about the dogs he socializes with, but he’s a great dog,” Henderson said. “We’re glad the museum has captured how kind he is.”

Sam was adopted on March 5 by a family in Kershaw, South Carolina.

“The family had two little girls who picked him up after seeing his kennel saying, ‘I love cuddling,'” Henderson said.

Each of the dogs was part of the Love and Go adoption process at the shelter which costs $25 to adopt in addition to completing the approved adoption application process.

The shelter also offers the opportunity to apply for approved foster and volunteer roles. Approved foster homes are considered first for adoptions, and volunteers can help the shelter with major events.

Henderson says the application approval process involves background checks of home environment safety for applicants, veterinary references and more.

Approval of applications takes about seven business days, Henderson says.

“It’s phenomenal that the museum is doing this for us,” Henderson said. “The biggest challenge is matching the right owner with the right pet. We try to do this by looking at the personality of the home and the needs of the owner and the pet.”

Currently, the shelter has 55 dogs and 24 cats. Most dogs are between 1 and 5 years old. Cat ages range from kittens to adult cats.

If you are interested in adopting, fostering or volunteering, contact the shelter at 704-922-8677.

Contact Janiya Winchester at 704-869-1842 or [email protected]

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