The Lexington Humane Society helps animals find their forever homes

Jessica Kinsella

 Oscar the Grouch isn’t the only Oscar who lived in a trash can. In February, an officer found a tan dog in a garbage can in Lexington. 

“He’s such a good boy,” said Sarah Martin, animal care supervisor at the Lexington Humane Society (LHS). 

Dubbed “Oscar” by LHS, the two-year-old pitbull mix cautiously approached the female officer who came to his rescue, leaving his trash can behind. Tail wagging, he gave her a curious look as she encouraged him forward. Using an inviting tone and tossing him treats, she made sure that Oscar knew it was safe. 

Originally, they’d received a call about a dog hanging around, but he wasn’t the easiest dog to find. Eventually the officer was able to locate Oscar after a call explaining that he was inside of the trash can. 

Martin said that Oscar was very sweet to approach. Unlike some stray dogs, he showed his friendly demeanor as he came out of hiding, even allowing the officer to pet him a bit. 

Martin explained the process that animals go through when they are first brought into the humane society, noting that it varies case-by-case. 

Once an animal is brought in, they are provided any veterinary care that they need. They go through LFACC – the Lexington Humane Society’s partner organization Animal Care and Control – where they get their shots and are fixed before becoming available for adoption. 

Natalie Moak, fundraising assistant at the Lexington Humane Society, explained that all incoming animals must go through a process before being transferred over to the Lexington Humane Society. Some animals are surrendered by their owners, some are found and brought in and some are called in and picked up by officers. Each animal that’s been treated by LHS has information in a database, where anyone authorized to log in can view their records. 

LHS isn’t the only humane society in Kentucky – the others that use the same database are able to access the records as well, just not the personal comments on an animal (such as a don’t adopt policy). Also included are the current/past owners’ names, their phone number, address, email, and the animal’s licensing status. 

According to Martin, if there are no files of the animal on record, they are given vaccinations to ensure their health and safety. This is in case the animal hasn’t been vaccinated for something like rabies, which can be dangerous, especially if they have been out on the streets. If an animal arrives that is already in the system, LHS has the information of prior vet visits and vaccinations and is able to treat the animal accordingly. 

After going through the process and getting the care and vaccinations needed, animals are turned over to LHS where they are able to be fostered out/put up for adoption. Oscar has been up for adoption since Feb. 22. 

The Lexington Humane Society recently eased up on COVID restrictions for potential adopters; however, Martin said, “we ask that everyone is serious with adopting.” To visit Oscar, one would be required to fill out adoption information and be interested in having him as part of their family. 

Martin explained that the humane society doesn’t want any of their rooms to be too full at once, and monitoring the guests allows them to know how many people are visiting at once. For instance, they wouldn’t want the cat room full of 30 people, so to make sure it doesn’t get too crowded, everyone fills out a form before they walk in to visit the animals. 

Oscar has gotten a lot of attention since his arrival, making the local news and even being picked up by the Dodo, an animal video-sharing outlet, but he still hasn’t gotten any serious inquiries about adoption. For now, he waits for his forever family at LHS. 

Since Oscar was rescued, he’s been quite the busy boy. From having his picture taken by local news outlets to visiting with the sanitation crew where he proudly posed with his heroes, Oscar has gotten around. 

When he’s not meeting new people, he spends his time in his own kennel space in a room with the other dogs who wait for a family. Oscar isn’t always as loud as his neighbors. He’s eager to lick your hands if they’re nearby and adores treats. 

With a slightly wrinkled head and a butterscotch coloring described as “red” on LHS’s website, Oscar is much healthier than he was when he first arrived. 

At first, he was so thin that his ribs were visible, but after proper nutrition and care for a few months, he now appears stronger and healthier.  

A home without small kids would be good for Oscar, as Martin described how he can be a bit grabby with treats. Before a potential adopter takes him home, Oscar needs a meet and greet with any other dogs in the home. This means that he has to spend a little time with them first because, as Martin described, “he really likes to play – sometimes a little bit too much.” 

While Oscar waits for his family, he gets to spend some of his time with the employees and volunteers at LHS. Martin recently had him sitting up front with her when he started looking longingly at the garbage can. 

 “No, we’re done with that,” she told him. “We don’t need to eat out of the trash anymore.” 

Oscar may have had his days in the trash can, but he is certainly no grouch. He lays curled up in his bed at the Lexington Humane Society, ready and awaiting a home and family. 

Potential adopters can find more information at the Lexington Humane Society’s website.