Deena C. Bouknight, Contributing Writer
Petco Foundation, which invests in life-saving animal welfare projects, annually selects winning adoption stories to feature nationally. This year a Macon County Animal Services’ adopter’s story – about how a pet has changed their life – was selected by the Petco Foundation as one of 50 national winners in the Holiday Wishes campaign. If selected through a People’s Choice voter competition at petcofoundation.org/vote, which lasts until noon CST on Dec. 16, Macon County Animal Services could earn up to $25,000 for ongoing needs and improvements.
Shawnna Pollak “met” Franklin, a pit bull-mix, when he ran out in front of her car. Pollak contacted Macon County Animal Services, which took in the stray dog to attempt to locate its owner. When no owner was found, and Franklin became available for adoption, Pollak decided to pursue adoption. However, not only had Pollak never owned a dog – she was “terrified” of them.
“I never let them near me,” she said in a YouTube video featuring Franklin. “But after I found Franklin, I realized he needed someone to care for him … he obviously had had a hard life. When COVID hit, I was isolated … he cuddled me every day, watched movies with me, knew when I was upset. The bond between a person and their dog is special. I’m realizing this as an adult. Shelter dogs need our love. I couldn’t be happier that I adopted Franklin.”
Pollak, who has suffered from depression, admitted that the shelter-in-place mandate may have caused her symptoms of depression to worsen had it not been for Franklin to provide companionship.
“We encourage our community of animal lovers to vote for our story,” said Jimmy Villiard, administrator at Macon County Animal Services. “If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that pets change our lives for the better. Your vote can help us earn lifesaving funds so we can bring more pets in need together with loving families.”
The Petco Foundation’s Top 5 People’s Choice vote will name: One first place winner of $25,000; two second place winners of $10,000 each; and, two third place winners of $5,000 each. Winners will be announced late December.
Since 2013, more than 20,000 adopters from across the country have shared how their pets have changed their lives; so far more than $5.8 million in Holiday Wishes have been realized for animal welfare organizations that make adoption matches possible. For more information about the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign, visit petcofoundation.org/holidaywishes. Petco Foundation affirmed it has helped more than 6.5 million pets find homes.