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New ‘Hope Express’ attracts visitors at Indian Hammocks Park on July 26

New ‘Hope Express’ attracts visitors at Indian Hammocks Park on July 26

‘Hope Express’ attracts visitors at Indian Hammocks Park on July 26.

An estimated 30 stray dogs and cats and more temporarily adopted by a “foster parent” are enjoying new homes after Miami- Dade Animal Services toured three Kendall parks during July.

“People are responding to our new fostering program,” said Gustavo Melendez, a student supervising adoptions and foster care sign-ups beneath a tented canopy erected alongside “Hope Express,” a new air-conditioned mobile trailer that debuted July 7.

Thanks to an ASPCA grant, the $84,000 carrier with 24 compartments for orphan canines and cats provides easy viewing of potential adoptees through Plexiglass windows under shaded awnings.

During its inaugural monthly tour, the new van visited Indian Hammocks Park on July 26 after stops at West Kendall’s Dog Park, July 20, and Continental Park, July 24. Future area visits scheduled include Sunday, Aug. 10, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Tropical Park and Tuesday, Aug. 12, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Tamiami Park.

New ‘Hope Express’ attracts visitors at Indian Hammocks Park on July 26

Adoptable armfuls delight (l-r) Anna Olson of South Miami, Adelaide Diaz and Heather Lowe of Miami.

At all three stops, Kendall residents took home stray dogs or cats needing a temporary home, while the county department seeks new owners. Others signed up to become a foster parent.

“I think it’s great,” said Anna Olson of South Miami, cuddling a shepherd-mix male who now has a caring mistress. “I’m not sure if I can adopt him permanently but at least he has the care he needs until someone else does.”

The “Foster a Pet” program based at the Animal Services Shelter, 7401 NW 74 St., is quickly gaining temporary caretakers who can provide homes for wandering strays, a countywide population estimated at 27,000. Contact coordinator Jeannie Dykstra at jdykstr@miamidade.gov for more information.

The shelter also seeks volunteers, like Melendez, who give of their spare time for dog walking, cat care, special events, bathing and other necessities. For details, contact Erica Fernandez at 305-418-7159 or visit eafdez@miamidade.gov.

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