That was true for Sophie, a 5-month-old purebred basset hound whose owner could no longer care for her.
But once her photo was placed on the Internet, prospects began looking up for a new home for Sophie.
Bill and Pat Hutchings of Silver Creek, who have seven dogs, including six basset hounds, found out about Sophie and recommended her to The Sterile Feral Inc., which lists animals for adoption on the Internet.
The 2-year-old nonprofit organization usually takes in wild or stray cats, gives them a three-year rabies shot, neuters or spays them and then releases them back into the wild.
But occasionally a cat is adopted out by the organization, which lists dogs and even an occasional bunny.
The cats are tested for feline leukemia and all animals are given current vaccines, said Jane Berry, president of the organization.
A search on www.petfinder.com matched Ron Kichton of Colorado with the perfect family pet — Sophie. Kichton wanted Sophie so much that he spent two days driving from Colorado to pick her up.
“I promised the family that I would get them a dog, and I made good on that promise. And she’s beautiful. She’s exactly what we were looking for,” Kichton said as he picked up his new pet in Rome Thursday.
He said he searched about two weeks ago on the Petfinder Web site.
“It was pretty easy to find her. And the day after Christmas we left to come get her,” he said.
Kichton traveled with his sons Nick, 11, and Tony, 9, while leaving wife Donna and daughter Stacey in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“I like her a lot,” said Tony.
Brother Nick agreed. “She’s great,” he said.
Berry said the organization also has adopted out animals to other parts of the country. She said a dog was recently adopted and sent to New York.
“Next week a three-legged Chihuahua is going to New Jersey,” she said, adding the dog was found in that condition.
Carol Ann Adams, adoption coordinator, said the Internet helps find homes for the orphaned animals.
“Since Oct. 1, we’ve adopted out 27 cats and 14 dogs. We’ve been on the Internet only a couple of months, and most of these adoptions have come to us through the Internet,” Adams said.
Adopters are asked to fill out applications, and their references are checked.
“We give the animal to the person who we believe will give it the best home,” said Adams.
And if animals are too small or tame to release back into the wild, they join the lineup of animals at the center hoping for a new home.
“We have volunteers who help socialize the animals,” she said. “They play with the animals and get them used to being around people.”
There’s no fee to adopt an animal, although donations are welcomed at the nonprofit organization.
Also, local veterinarians volunteer time and services, and hospitals volunteer supplies.
It’s not unusual to see cats lounging around the center.
“We can’t bear to keep them in small cages. We let them roam around,” said Berry. “We only use the cages for a 14-day quarantine to ensure the animals are healthy before allowing them around other animals.”
The center houses about 30 animals at any time, including dogs that roam in a fenced yard.
There’s Midnight, a black cat whose owner was expecting a baby and didn’t want a cat.
And Sunshine lives there, too. She is a Himalayan cat whose owner brought her to a veterinarian to have her euthanized. She’s been there almost two years.
An adult tabby cat is there because her owner died and she has nowhere else to go. And a small kitten was brought in Wednesday that was found in the tire department at Sears.
“We never euthanize an animal. If they’re not adopted, they’ll live here forever,” Berry said.
But they need to be adopted to make room for other animals that need a home, she said.
And what’s next on the adoption list?
“We’ll be listing a goat soon. We need to find it a home,” said Adams.
To adopt a pet, visit www.petfinder.com, list 30161 as the area to search, then click on The Sterile Feral — or visit www.thesterileferal.org.
To donate money or supplies, contact the organization at 232-2418, or leave supplies outside the center at 722 Kingston Ave