By: Mike Rhodes—
Muncie, IN— Melissa Blair was born and raised in Muncie and has been a lover of animals her entire life.
Blair is the new director of the City of Muncie’s Muncie Animal Care & Services, located at 901 W. Riggin Rd. in Muncie. While relatively new as director (she began her new duties at the end of 2018) Blair is no newcomer to animal rescue services.
(The video above includes just a few of the many adoptable animals that were available at Muncie Animal Care & Services on February 22, 2019. Video is 36 seconds in length.)
Prior to becoming director, Blair was the assistant director for Muncie Animal Care & Services (formally known as the Muncie Animal Shelter) for 3 years. She’s been in the animal rescue business for the past 25 years, beginning her career working at ARF.
“My first adult dog was a little black and white Shih Tzu named Harley,” she said. “I loved him desperately and just couldn’t imagine how some people could be so mean to these little precious creatures. The first time I walked into ARF, I was completely smitten, and completely passionate about what they were doing there. So, I began volunteering at ARF seven days a week.”
In 2016, the new facility opened on Riggin Road. The facility has several large open spaces for the cats to live in, etc.
“Our new facility here on Riggin Road is simply beautiful,” Blair said. “It serves humans and animals so much better than our old facility on Gharkey Street.”
I love what I do. I don’t just like what I do, I love what I do! I’ve been in animal rescue for 25 years, and I get to tell people that I’ve been so fortunate. Every day I get to get up and do EXACTLY what I love to do.—Melissa Blair
“Every day we come to work and have literally no idea what awaits us,” she said. “We could have a call that comes in about a “cat hoarder” situation and we may have to take in over 100 cats. And then there are days where we might just get in one or two stray animals. Every day we prepare for the worst. Every day is different.”
Blair said in 2018, the shelter took in 3,321 animals. The shelter includes 30 adoption kennels and 38 holding kennels for dogs, plus 2 free roaming cat areas. All pets are spayed/neutered before they leave the shelter. The shelter has been nationally recognized for their live release rate, and is designated as a “no kill” shelter.
Unique options for pet lovers
Blair says anytime the facility is open, members of the public are more than welcome to stop in and volunteer. There are outdoor play areas for the dogs, so you can easily stop by and walk/play with a dog if you want. The center has what they call “Doggie Dates” where you can come by, and pick up a dog for the day.
There’s also a doggie “Date Night” where you can pick up a dog, actually keep it overnight, and bring it back the next day. The “Date Night” option is particularly well suited for people who love animals, but can’t have animals long-term for one reason or another. “Date Nights” are very useful for Muncie Animal Care and Services because of the feedback about an animal a “Date Night” user can provide. Particularly for stray animals, the shelter gets to learn about the demeanor of an animal when it is out of the shelter. Shelter staff can then provide that feedback when someone comes in and wants to adopt a pet. It’s a win-win program.
The shelter has a Facebook page that is very useful to the community. If stray animals are picked up, the shelter will post photos of the animal and the approximate area where they were found, in an effort to connect owners with their animals. They also have an “adoptable animals” album where the public can see pictures of some of the animals available for adoption. Due to continual animal turnover, the public should visit the shelter in person when possible.
“We have such an animal loving community,” Blair said. “If we have a need of some sort and we post that need on our social media, the community responds in force and really steps up to meet the need. We are so fortunate in that regard.”
Muncie Animal Care & Services
901 W. Riggin Rd.
Muncie, IN 47303
Ph: (765) 747-4851
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MuncieAnimalShelter/