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Animals bring Christmas joy

December 14, 2012
By Melissa Toothman - Staff Writer ( , The Inter-Mountain

A warm, cozy fireplace decked with holiday stockings in a living room filled with family, friends and neighbors can be a joyous and comforting setting. A furry friend resting by the fireplace can make the Christmas season even more joyous and comforting this year. Christmas is a reason to give, and the gift of a pet to a loved one is a great way to give this season.

"A pet would be the perfect Christmas gift because they provide unconditional love and can be a loving companion to anybody who is lonely," said Valerie Riddle, owner and president of Adopt A Friend Inc. in Weston.

By purchasing a pet from shelters like Adopt A Friend, Animal Friends of Barbour County or a local Humane Society, the buyer is also purchasing the gift of a home for their loved one's new four-legged friend. For those who cannot take home a pet, donations of money, food and supplies are accepted at most local shelters.

Article Photos

The Inter-Mountain photos by Melissa Toothman
Some cats at the Animal Friends of Barbour County shelter have indoor free roaming rooms leading to outdoor roaming rooms.

Christmas isn't the only time to give the gift of love, joy and home to a four-legged friend. When Animal Friends of Barbour County was in desperate need due to the lack of heat and water, power outages and the risk of outdoor kennels collapsing under heavy snow during Superstorm Sandy, an out of state shelter stepped up to help, resulting in the adoption of at least two of the shelter's cats. Chunley, Renee and Cotton, three cats who called the shelter home, were transported to the Little Guild of St. Francis in Cornwall, Connecticut with 26 other cats and 52 dogs. While at the alternative shelter, the three cats went to separate homes.

Cotton, a deaf cat who arrived at the shelter after being attacked by a dog and treated by a local vet, was adopted by a single man who didn't have any other pets. Renee was adopted and later renamed Ginny, according to the shelter's Facebook page.

Adopt A Friend Inc. is a nonprofit and no-kill animal rescue shelter. The shelter can house as many as 15 dogs and 60 cats at one time. The shelter is located at 125 U.S. Highway 19 South in Weston. Donations of food, toys, bedding, leashes, supplies, treats and office supplies are welcome. Volunteers are needed a few hours each week to visit, play with and walk animals, or to help clean the shelters.

Animal Friends of Barbour County also is a non-profit and no-kill shelter founded in 2002. On Christmas Eve, the shelter will have been serving the area for one year from its new location at 23 Valley Bend Road between Belington and Philippi. The 3.6-acre property is home to many cats and dogs. The organization's volunteers have found homes for thousands of animals since 2002.

Adoption from Animal Friends of Barbour County is interview-based, and interviews can be set up by calling the shelter and scheduling an appointment. All adult cats and dogs are spayed or neutered before adoption. Adult dogs can be adopted for $125 and adult cats for $75. All puppies and kittens can be adopted for $75 with the agreement that the new caretaker for the animal will have the pet spayed or neutered.

Money earned through adoptions helps to operate the shelter, funding general maintenance, utilities, food, medicine, transportation and having pets spayed or neutered. Animal Friends of Barbour County and other similar organizations often rely on donations and volunteers dedicated to the care and adoption of homeless cats and dogs.

To make a donation, inquire about volunteering or schedule an adoption appointment call Animal Friends of Barbour County at 304-823-2012 or e-mail Visit the official website for more information. To contact Adopt A Friend Inc., call Valerie Riddle at 304-884-6461 or 304-517-0856, or visit Adopt A Friend on the web at for more information.

Contact the Randolph County Humane Society at 304-636-7844, the Barbour County Animal Shelter at 304-823-1065, the Humane Society of Pocahontas County 304-799-6767, or the Upshur County Humane Society at 304-471-7387. For a listing of other adoption centers visit the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility website at



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