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Adoption is a Great Option: This Week’s Interview is All About Adoption at UPAWS

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Marquette, MI  –  10/13/2019  –  For this week’s interview I sat down with Ann Brownell, the Community Outreach & Volunteer Coordinator for the Upper Peninsula Animal Welfare Shelter in their brand new, beautiful facility. UPAWS is an non-profit organization, now located in Gwinn, with the mission to “improve the quality of life and welfare for domestic animals and to provide a safe haven while finding lifelong homes for the animals in their care.” They find homes for homeless, unwanted, abandoned and abused domestic animals.

This past Saturday, UPAWS held an event called Empty the Shelters. The Bissell Pet Foundation sponsors the remaining adoption fees at 125 or more shelters across the United States. For this interview, I wanted to focus on the process of adopting a pet from UPAWS.


Tell me about the Empty the Shelters event?

Bissell Pet Foundation holds an empty the shelter event across the nation for multiple shelters. You need to apply, and if you’re accepted, we will charge $25 for a pet, and they will pay the difference up to certain amount. The Bissell Pet Foundation is very homeless pet oriented, and really does a lot for animal shelters to find these animals loving homes. They do these events twice a year, and they’re critical. They do them in the spring and in the fall. Especially because the numbers seem to be really high during those times. It’s a wonderful event.

Do you know when your next big event will be?

We do multiple events. Our next big event is going to be Fox Marquette, Find a Friend with Fox. We’ve been partners with Fox Motors for probably 12 years or so, and I’ve been working with them putting on adoption events. We had a micro chip event happening last weekend through Fox Negaunee. On October 30th, we will be having a big adoption event at the Fox Marquette dealership. It will be free adoptions paid for by Fox. (Advertisements for this event will be posted soon to UPAWS Facebook page and Website.)

Could you give me run through on what it’s like adopting a pet from UPAWS?

You would come in and fill out an interest form. We’d look over the interest form, then match your interest form with the appropriate pet. After doing a friendly one on one talk with you, we would find the pet that meets your needs. As long as it is approved that you are the right type of home for that pet, you are able to adopt. The right type of home means we would not adopt a pet out to a family that has toddlers if the pet has been known to not be very good with children. That would be irresponsible of us. We do not have any holds or call lists, we’re much too busy too handle that.

Are there any other restrictions a person would face when wanting to adopt a pet? 

We’re more Adopters Welcome, which is through the HSUS. It’s more of a conversation with folks. We are just looking for people who will be a good match for the pet. We check them in our computer system for any any prior incidents or such, because we have a do not adopt list which we do check all of our adopters with. We try to match the best pet with your family’s needs.

Are all of the pets spayed an neutered when they leave here?

Yes. It is required that all of the pets are spayed and neutered. They’ll have their rabies vaccine, health check, and be micro chipped.

What other pet adoption programs do you have?

We have a pet adoption program called The Lonely Hearts program, which is sponsored by Swick Home Services. Any pet that is here over 60 days becomes a lonely heart, and Swick pays for their full adoption fee. Shinning the light on pets that might be shy, or not acting as outgoing as some of the others. We also have a veterans program for military veterans. Pets six months and up can be adopted for free to a veteran.

Anything else that you would like to add about adoption?

We need people to adopt. All shelters across the nation are in critical numbers right now and if you can go out and support your local shelter, please do it. They need you. They need your donations, they need you to volunteer, they need you to bring in wish list items, and they need you to adopt their animals. Adoption is a great option, and please adopt from your local facility.


UPAWS Empty the Shelter Event that took place last Saturday, helped 7 dogs, 14 cats, and 3 other animals find their forever home. Right now, through October 20th, UPAWS is running a “Free over Three” Cat adoption event. All cats ages 3 and older are no-charge. Please consider volunteering your time at UPAWS. Click here for more information about how you can start volunteering!

Talking to Ann answered all of the questions I had about adoption. UPAWS staff is very eager to assist you in finding your forever friend. Please consider adopting from your local shelter. If I missed anything you were curious about, you can contact UPAWS by phone at (906)475-6661, or send them an email at info@upaws.org. UPAWS is newly located at 815 South State Highway M553 in Gwinn, Michigan.To view a full list of UPAWS adoption programs, click here.

Check out my blog, The Weekly Talk, to read more of my interviews, as well as weekly recommendations, upcoming events in the UP, and my favorite UP Bargains item of the week!

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