By Steve White, Grand Island Bureau Chief - bio | email
Tomkins is going home.
Zach and Payton convinced their mom and dad it's time for this family to grow. Katharine Coplen said, "They've always wanted a dog."
"It's our first dog," added Chris, the dad.
The shepherd mix stood out when the Coplen's visited the Central Nebraska Humane Society.
Now he's part of the family.
Chris said, "He's good with kids, he's not too aggressive, he's playful, he's like having another kid."
Katharine and Chris can't agree on how long they've been looking for a dog. He says it was a spur of the moment decision, she says they've been planning on it for a while. Regardless, Tomkins fits the bill.
His adoption is number 1,051 for the year, breaking the Humane Society's goal.
Executive Director Laurie Dethloff said, "We're so excited and we're not even to the end of the year. It's just awesome."
Not only did they find homes for all those cats and dogs, 700 animals were returned to existing homes.
"So they're off the street and safe and not hit by a car," Dethloff said.
Every animal is vaccinated, along with health and behavior assessments. Dethloff said people are starting to choose shelter animals first, for that reason.
That's what attracted Chris Coplen. He said, "You know where it comes from. These guys take care of them. Buy from private, you don' t know how well they're taken care of, if they're abused, how aggressive they're going to be."
Dethloff said, "They're not broken, they're not damaged, they're just needing someone to stick with them."
The shelter sticks with them too. Here since August, Tomkins would've been euthanized if not for community support to maintain such a large facility.
Dethloff said, "He's our longest resident as a dog and then you have a family teaching them how to care for animals and I think the boys and Tomkins are equally matched and it's going to be a wonderful opportunity."
It's a picture of success, as Tomkins finds his forever home.
What does six-year-old Zach think? "Good," he said with a smile.
The shelter surpassed their goal of 1,050 adoptions with three business days left in the year and still have a variety of cats and dogs they'd like to find families for.