FURever is a long time, especially if you’re a pet.
It almost was inevitable Melba Evans and Shawn Bateman would meet online, with both using Facebook to help keep pets out of shelters and find them good homes.
Evans was using the social networking site in July 2011 to gather funds for people wanting to adopt a pet, but who could not afford an adoption fee or the other immediate costs of adopting a pet. She named the fund the FURever Friends Funds.
“I felt sorry for the animals and the people who wanted to adopt but could not afford fees,” she said. “I’ve helped quite a few people, I’m guessing about 30.”
Bateman took in five dogs from the Garber Animal Shelter that were scheduled to be euthanized, eventually finding homes for four of them. He continued to keep finding homes — foster and permanent — for other dogs to keep them from being put down.
“I started it for people who found a dog, to keep dogs out of shelters,” he said. “I used the power of Facebook to find people a good dog or to find dogs new homes.”
Bateman said he began sharing dogs at the Enid SPCA and Enid Animal Control shelter on his site, as well as pets others had found.
He said he and Evans began talking online, and eventually they teamed up online to place pets into homes.
“I think I posted something, and he said, ‘I didn’t know you had FURever funds,’” Evans said.
“I had (my site), and it was booming,” Bateman said. “It went from zero to 60 and went on from there.”
He said the group’s page had 500 members as of last month and now boasts more than 630.
Evans and Bateman said there is a form they have for people who want to adopt or foster a pet. Those adopting must have a fenced yard.
“Most of our pets are free to a good home,” Bateman said, noting some costs for vaccinations or care may be charged for an adoption.
“But that money goes back into the fund,” Evans said.
Bateman said: “If there is a fee it is not going to be enormous. It’s going to cover what we’ve got into the dog.”
Bateman said he and Evans have worked with shelters across the state, saving animals from being euthanized and finding them homes.
“Hopefully, we can put the pound out of business,” Evans said.
Bateman said all of the dogs he’s rescued are placed in foster care.
“If we rescue one from the pound, we give it a foster home until we can find it a FURever home,” he said. “We try to make sure they go to a good home and don’t go to the pound.”
Mator, the last of the original five from the Garber pound, still remains in foster care.
“He’s been in three foster homes so far,” Bateman said, “but he’s a good dog.”
Applications can be downloaded from the I Need a FURever Home page or can be picked up from M&M Cleaning, 902 W. Broadway, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Donations can be made to the FURever Friends Fund at any Bank of Kremlin location, M&M Cleaning or through PayPal. Links are available through the Facebook sites.
Donation jars also are located at Wee Too Restaurant, Baymont Inn, M&M Cleaning, Reflexions hair salon in Enid and Country Cabin in Garber.
The groups also takes donations of food, collars and leashes, fencing, crates and other pet supplies.