Cooling off hot dogs: West Point animal shelter collecting Gatorade bottles to freeze water for canines during summer

 

Katy Wallace opens a kennel to place a frozen Gatorade bottle in a dog's water on Thursday at the West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter. The shelter currently has 48 empty bottles, but would like to collect about 100 more.

Katy Wallace opens a kennel to place a frozen Gatorade bottle in a dog's water on Thursday at the West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter. The shelter currently has 48 empty bottles, but would like to collect about 100 more. Photo by: Jennifer Mosbrucker/Dispatch Staff

 

West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter employees placed frozen Gatorade bottles filled with water in kennels to cool down the dogs' water bowls on Thursday in West Point. The shelter is actively seeking Gatorade bottle donations because they last longer than traditional water bottles.

West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter employees placed frozen Gatorade bottles filled with water in kennels to cool down the dogs' water bowls on Thursday in West Point. The shelter is actively seeking Gatorade bottle donations because they last longer than traditional water bottles.
Photo by: Jennifer Mosbrucker/Dispatch Staff

 

Gatorade bottles filled with water are placed in the freezer on Thursday at the West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter. The shelter is actively seeking Gatorade bottle donations because they last longer than traditional water bottles.

Gatorade bottles filled with water are placed in the freezer on Thursday at the West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter. The shelter is actively seeking Gatorade bottle donations because they last longer than traditional water bottles.
Photo by: Jennifer Mosbrucker/Dispatch Staff

 

 

Victoria Cheyne/Dispatch Staff

 

 

At the West Point-Clay County Animal Shelter on Thursday, a house-like building adjacent to a grassy field guarded by barbed wire, dogs languished in kennels, on the concrete floor of a structure once part of a livestock yard, surrounded by big fans and a misting system.  

 

The high temperature in West Point was 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and the heat index was more than 100.  

 

As temperatures continue to climb throughout the summer months, the shelter settles into its most difficult season of the year, and it needs a little help cooling down the dogs.  

 

The animal shelter is collecting Gatorade bottles -- because they're made of thick plastic that doesn't quickly disintegrate -- to help keep dogs' water cool.  

 

"We (put water in the bottles and) freeze them and put them in the water buckets for the dogs," said Leann Simpson, the shelter's veterinarian.  

 

The shelter has used the bottles every year to essentially make ice cubes, but this is the first year employees opened the effort to the public. The group posted a message about its need for bottles Wednesday morning on Facebook.  

 

The shelter's goal is 150 bottles, more than twice the 68 dogs it had Thursday. With that number, there will be enough bottles for all the dogs, and some can be in the freezer while others are being used, Simpson said. 

 

She said they are removed from water buckets every night and from kennels where the dogs chew on them.  

 

"In this extreme heat, we want to give them a little extra help," Simpson said.  

 

As of Thursday morning, 48 bottles had been collected. 

 

Cats are kept inside, in an air-conditioned room, so only the dogs struggle with the heat.  

 

The shelter has implemented other measures to keep them cool and hydrated in their kennels. Dogs are continually misted, fanned and fed "pupsicles": chicken broth, canned food and a treat frozen inside a plastic cup with water.  

 

"The heat's the hardest part," Katy Wallace, who has worked in kennel care at the shelter, said. "You don't want them to overheat or anything to happen to them."  

 

Bottles can be dropped off at the shelter, located at 5122 Old Tibbee Road in West Point. The shelter also accepts donations year round of items including towels, blankets, toys, Purina Dog Chow and Purina Puppy Chow.  

 

Simpson said donors can feel free to throw the bottles over the fence if the shelter is closed. Its hours of operation are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.

 

 

 

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