By: Alex Miller
Last year, on January 31st, 2020, I lost my childhood dog. He was 14 years old. His name was Machito. My family and I took time before jumping into getting another dog. Two months later we were quarantined due to COVID-19. At the start of quarantine, one of my mom’s friends forwarded us a picture of this dog.
We were still waiting and did not jump into getting a new dog right away. But, during the summer, we kept seeing this picture of Wawa. My mom said we should go check out the dog because he had been there longer than she thought he would be. We visited him at The Sanctuary at Haafsville, an animal rescue in Fogelsville, Pa, and he was the cutest Rottweiler I had ever seen.
We quickly fell in love with him and wanted to start taking bigger steps to make sure this was the right decision. We had him come visit for a day, then he slept over one night, then we went to the park with him, and then he slept over for the weekend. We finally decided to adopt Wawa and kept his name. We celebrated with a puppy cup at Rita’s.
All animals have a unique background. Wawa’s background isn’t completely filled in. The rescue told us the original owner nearly starved Wawa. Once the new owner had him, Wawa saw a meat stick in their little girl’s hand and went to bite her hand. Wawa was placed at the rescue and named him Wawa because of the exchange point. Thanks to the Sanctuary at Haafsville, we now have Wawa safe and healthy.
The Sanctuary at Haafsville is such a kind and welcoming place. They have between 15-20 dogs on-site with several more in foster care. They also have 65-70 free-roaming cats. In their first 11 years, they saved over 10,000 animals and gave them forever homes. They are a no-kill shelter. This means they don’t kill any animals to make room for more. Most of their animals are from the Lehigh Valley or they partner with regional and out-of-state shelters for when they run out of room in their shelters.
In 2020, they have saved about 1,100 animals. At the start of COVID-19, the Sanctuary cut back significantly on volunteers. When they slowly started to return, they only had 2 volunteers to help with the dogs and 1 volunteer to help with the cats. On a positive note, many people took pets in to foster during quarantine. This also led to many adoptions.
Their pet adoption process is simple. They have open hours to visit the animals. Saturday 10-2pm is when you can visit dogs and Saturday 10-12 for cats, are all by appointments. From 12-2pm, the Sanctuary is open to the public. If interested in any animals while you visit, you can fill out an application. Some obstacles they run into is when multiple families want an animal and they could all be perfect matches. What they try to do to solve that problem is find different animals that would fit well for them.
When interviewing the shelter’s manager, I asked her if there was any way the community could help shelters. “Help in any way possible,” said Amanda Kline. “Support local rescues and shelters, share their posts, like their pages and post positive comments/experiences.”
The Sanctuary helped us have an easy adoption. We were very lucky to find Wawa’s picture and to connect with the Sanctuary at Haafsville. He has filled our empty home with craziness and love.