Like some of their human counterparts displaced by the 2011 flood, Pepper and Euthy are still looking for permanent housing as they wait in temporary quarters.
Souris Valley Animal Shelter brought 13 cats, six dogs and a rabbit back to its shelter after caring for about 540 pets at emergency headquarters at the North Central Research Extension Center last summer. The emergency shelter operated from early June through Aug. 31.
Today, Pepper, 10, and Euthy, 19, remain the only flood evacuees still awaiting adoptive families. Their previous owners were not able after the flood to find housing that allowed them to keep the cats.
Pepper, a flood evacuee still looking for a home, keeps watch over the printer in the Souris Valley Animal Shelter office June 13.
Susan Wagers, shelter manager, said age has worked against adoption for Pepper and Euthy, especially Euthy.
"A lot of people want to adopt a cat as a forever pet. We don't know how long his forever is going to be," she said.
As the two kitties continue to wait, their lovable natures have made them popular shelter pets who enjoy hanging out in the office.
Their contentment is shared by shelter staff, who look back over a challenging year and see that activities are going much more smoothly these days.
"It took a long time for even us to recover," Wagers said. "It took the rest of 2011 just to kind of feel like we were OK. We just want people to know that we are still plugging along and we are doing great."
Wagers said the shelter is fortunate to maintain not just full staffing but a dedicated staff at a time when finding employees have been difficult in Minot's market.
Adoptions are steady, organization membership is up and volunteers keep coming. Wagers said there's room for more volunteers, but the shelter has benefited from the people in the community temporarily who miss their pets so come to the shelter to volunteer.
The shelter continues to provide financial assistance to spay or neuter pets and provides cremation and burial as well as grief support.
"Facebook has been a valuable tool for us, just to get the word out about what we are doing," Wagers said. "We are able to reach hundreds of people."
The primary concern for the shelter is maintaining its financial support.
Because of the financial strain much of the community is under due to the flood, the shelter has turned to fundraising avenues that avoid taxing people further. Examples are the rummage sale this Friday and Saturday and a program enabling businesses to assist by asking customers to make a small donation of just a dollar to the shelter. The Bagel Stop, Gourmet Chef, Pinkerton Animal Hospital, West Oaks Animal Hospital and Minot Veterinary Clinic have been or will be participating this summer.
Wagers said shelter staff were overwhelmed by the community's show of support during the flood.
"We can't even express the appreciation we feel," she said. "We needed something. We asked. They delivered. If it wasn't for the volunteers we had, I don't know what we would have done. It would have broken us financially."
Instead, the shelter has stayed on track.
"We look back a year later and where we are right now, and we are OK. There was a time a year ago when I wasn't so convinced that we were going to be OK," Wagers said. "The road to recovery was long for us, but we managed and we made it through."