Harold is a quiet and gentle older dog in need of a home.

We are so fortunate to live in a beautiful place, filled with good-hearted people wanting the best for the cats and dogs at the SPCA.

All the festivals and events have welcomed the SPCA team of volunteers and staff members at their events, and something wonderful always occurs.

For example, at the July StrOlean, the lovely new programming director at the Olean Public Library said she’d like to do an event centered on animals and invited the volunteers to meet with her to plan some programs.

Stop by the library in the month of September to see what they came up with, from classes on animal care, to displays and animal-themed films.

A pet photo contest is underway. Send in your favorites to LOliveira@oleanlibrary.org. All photos will be displayed at the reception and entrants will have a chance to win a gift card to Pet Supplies Plus. The opening reception is September 4th at 7 p.m.

SENIOR DOGS: At Art in the Park, everyone admired an elderly dog named Harold that had been found wandering and never claimed. One of the volunteers asked him to “sit” and he immediately sat, then shook hands and crouched down on gentle command.

So, clearly, Harold had been someone’s pet. The SPCA has volunteers who especially watch out for the older dogs, as it’s harder for them to adjust. Someone said, “Older dogs should not be in a shelter, they should be in ‘foster’ homes.

“How about pairing them with seniors who don’t want to adopt but would enjoy having a companion animal in the house with them?” A great idea, endorsed by all.

Outreach is being done to try to set up such a program, but if you would like an older dog or cat as a “foster,” please call the SPCA to make arrangements.

Staff member Justin Frazier reports on a dog named Bang, that was at the shelter for nine years before he finally found a family that loves him dearly and now has a house and many acres to call his own. A foster program would have made life much happier for him, and for many of the dogs and cats residing at the shelter now, of any age.

DOG ADOPTION GUIDELINES: Someone called to ask about the criteria for people who want to adopt dogs and cats. What guidelines must be followed in order to be accepted as an adopter?

This particular person, an older, experienced dog and cat owner, had been told by a neighbor that in order to adopt a dog the property had to be fenced in, and that older people were not eligible. Hard for this man to do, as he had hundreds of acres on his farm.

The neighbor was wrong on both counts, as the SPCA in Cattaraugus County has no fencing requirement and no age criteria, although other area shelters have different rules.

There is a two-page adoption application form that must be completed, asking pertinent questions about the adopter’s history with pets, current pets, household members and references so that a perfect match can be made. With the beautiful new full-screen television showing all the dogs for adoption, it’s easy to pick which ones you want to meet.

SPAY & NEUTER FACTS: Best Friends Animal Society has put out a sheet filled with great information on the topic.

n Did you know that every year more than 8 million animals are surrendered to animal shelters? If you spay and neuter your pets, this greatly decreases the number of homeless animals.

n Most dog bites are from unneutered males.

n More than 4,100 dogs and cats are killed daily in America’s shelters. Spay/neuter programs would help cut that figure tremendously. The only low-cost spay/neuter clinic in the area is Operation Pets in the Buffalo area. If cooperating vets can be found, the Allegany County SPCA has a new clinic that the director has offered.

CORRECTION: The SPCA is holding a Rock & Roll for Rescues dance in September at the Pulaski Club. The correct date is Sept. 21 from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets will be on sale at the SPCA, the Pulaski Club, and the Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce offices. Put on your dancing shoes and join the fun. Music by Generations.

ROLLER DERBY: If you haven’t attended one of these exciting events, come to the William O. Smith Recreation Center in Olean at 7:30 Aug. 17 to see our local “Hellbilly Heartbreakers.” At one time Cathy Young’s daughter was one of the stars, and her family was there to cheer her on.

A dog from the SPCA will attend on that evening, so come meet Riley the hound and see the skaters in action. And watch for the new SPCA tent at StrOlean on the 16th.

NEW VET TECH: Thanks to Jackie May for the two great raffle baskets she made and took to the Angelica Fair as a fundraiser for the SPCA animals. She’s jumping right in to help in many ways, joining the terrific staff and volunteers who do so much to keep things going smoothly and happily for the animals.

QUILT AUCTION DETAILS: Liz and Christian Tabone are holding a fundraiser for the SPCA by donating a beautiful handmade quilt. It’s now on display in the lobby of the Community Bank on North Union Street and will be there until Oct. 12, when it will be auctioned.

Tickets can be purchased from the customer service reps or call (716) 400-0576. There should also be some tickets available at the Rock & Roll for Rescues dance on Sept. 21.

PET SUPPLIES PLUS: Dogs and cats from the SPCA will be shown there monthly. Upcoming dates are Sept. 7 and Oct. 5. This is an easy way to pick a new pet.

BAKE SALE: THE SPCA has a lot of volunteers and staff who are great bakers, and they showed their talent at a recent bake sale, held on the grounds at the SPCA. They had apple pies, peanut butter pies, brownies with frosting that looked like dog paws, fudges of every kind, a fabulous display. Thanks to all for your sweet help!

The SPCA in Cattaraugus County is at 2944 Route 16 North, P.O. Box 375, Olean, N.Y., 14760; (716) 372-8492. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4p.m.; closed Mondays.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)