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Jackson Galaxy, host of 'My Cat from Hell,' visits CHS to help train and adopt cats

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet series My Cat from Hell, greets a group of fans who came to meet him at the Columbia Humane Society on Thursday, Aug. 9. Galaxy helped deliver a group of kittens to be adopted out of the shelter by working with several nonprofit groups, including his own foundation. The Columbia Humane Society is now a grantee through Jacksons Catpawsitive Program, which trains cats to help them be adopted faster. Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet series "My Cat from Hell," visited the Columbia Humane Society last week while helping deliver nearly 15 kittens to the shelter for adoption.

On Thursday, Aug. 9, Galaxy delivered 126 kittens to the Oregon Humane Society and the Columbia Humane Society to be adopted. Working with Operation Homeward Bound, an organization established through the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, and Wings of Rescue, a nonprofit that transports animals from overcrowded shelters to areas with more space, the kittens were removed from a shelter where they faced possible euthan-

asia.

At CHS last week, a crowd of nearly 50 people crammed into the lobby to meet Galaxy following a public announcement about his visit. Some visitors opted for a quick photo with the TV celebrity, while others requested autographs or simply thanked him for his work and for visiting the shelter. After visiting with Galaxy, many visitors also went to see

the newly arrived, playful kittens.

Mandy Manke and her daughter, Ava, asked Galaxy to sign the handle of a purple cat toy for their cat "Bob," who was a rescue from CHS.

"We're huge fans of Jackson and we adopted our cat from this humane society, and (Bob) just brings us so much joy," Manke said, when asked what brought her and her daughter out.

Griselda Quiroz, dressed in a pink shirt covered with the word "meow" topped with cat ears, said she came to meet Galaxy because of the work he does with animals to help keep them in loving and caring homes. She said she has seen a few episodes of the TV show and appreciates his work.

"I love cats and I love what he does to save their lives by fixing their behavior," Quiroz said. "So many cats don't get a second chance."

On his show, Galaxy works with families whose cats are exhibiting extreme behavioral issues. He teaches owners how to manage their pets to correct behaviors so that they're not taken to shelters unnecessarily. Galaxy noted that he was surprised by the turnout at CHS, and said it was encouraging.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: NICOLE THILL-PACHECO - Jackson Galaxy, left, autographs a cat toy for Mandy and Ava Manke, far right, during his visit on Aug. 9. Galaxy posed for photos with fans and signed autographs on phone cases, cat toys and books during his visit. "Crazy, man. I was not expecting that at all. It makes me so happy, not from a celebrity standpoint, but because it's a community that rallies around their shelter, and that makes me really happy," Galaxy said.

The Columbia Humane Society was recently named a grantee for the Catpawsitive Program launched and supported by the Jackson Galaxy Foundation. The idea behind the program is for staff members to work with kittens and cats in shelters to train them to behave in ways that make them more adoptable.

"We go to shelters and we give them the know-how to do clicker training with cats, and to show them that clicker training helps cats be more adoptable," Galaxy said, adding that clicker training has benefits for the felines as well. "It also decreases stress and allows them to not go as kennel crazy, and it also helps get them into a routine."

The benefits are also positive for cat owners.

"So, if you take them home, then you have this routine you can work with, whether it's high five or a nose bump or sit — it gets that bond in place immediately," Galaxy added. "I'm not a big fan of teaching tricks just for the sake of teaching tricks ... but it helps them get adopted. If you walk by a cat and it gives you a high five, that cat is going home."

As a grant recipient, staff at Columbia Humane Society will now be trained in the Catpawsitive Program and will continue to work with the animals in their care.

"I think it just gives a spotlight to what we're doing here," CHS director Lisa Beggio said. "We are trying to do positive things in the community."

For more information about animals available for adoption, visit www.columbiahumane.com or callĀ 503-397-4353