Shasha, a Pitbull Terrier mix has been at the shelter for more than a year. She is part of Midcoast Humane’s No Paw Left Behind initiative. (Courtesy of Midcoast Humane)

BRUNSWICK — Maui the cat has a personality every bit as big as her 20-pound frame. She is sassy, smart, and goes after what she wants (usually food) and according to volunteers at Midcoast Humane. Despite her big personality, which volunteers assure is very sweet, Maui is one of several long-term overlooked pets at the shelter and has been waiting to find her forever home for more than eight months.

Maui, a plus-sized feline at Midcoast Humane came to the shelter more than eight months ago after her previous owners dumped her on the side of the road. She is looking for a quiet home with a family who will help her lose weight. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

Friday, Midcoast Humane launched No Paw Left Behind, a new initiative to help animals like Maui find a family within 90 days.

Most of the animals have some kind of barriers that make them harder to place. Maui, for example, would do better in a quiet home and requires a special diet food that she is apparently not happy about, though it’s helped her lose five pounds already.

Others, like Shasha, a 9-year-old pit bull terrier mix, might not “show” well in the shelter nor do well with children. Paul Lemont, a volunteer who visits the Midcoast Humane almost daily since he retired from Bath Iron Works two years ago, said that Shasha is an entirely different dog once she is out of the stressful kennel environment. She relaxes, gets playful and loves a good scratch and a walk.

“I think she’d be a big couch potato” in a home, Lemont said.

Shasha has been at the shelter for over a year — 429 days as of Monday.

“While the average amount of time that dogs and cats waited for a home was around seven and 10 days respectively, there were noticeable outliers,” said Mandie Wehr, director of shelter operations in a press release. 

“The hardest to place dog sat 12.5 times longer, and hardest to place cat waited nine times longer, to find their forever home,” she added

Volunteer Paul Lemont spends time with 9-year-old Shasha outside of the kennel, where her personality really shines. Shasha is one of the animals in Midcoast Humane’s new No Paw Left Behind initiative. She has been at the shelter for more than a year. (Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

Last year, 64 animals waited 90 days or longer to be adopted, “and sometimes much, much longer,” Wehr said. Right now there are at least nine long-term animals. Tyson and Shasha are the only two dogs included in the campaign right now, but cats Mabon, Ingrid, Lillian, Boz, Dill and Irving are all in the same boat as Maui, looking for homes.

Organizers are trying to harness the power of social media through a specific No Paw Left Behind Facebook page, where they are posting the stories of the cats and dogs, and asking others to share with their friends.

“If we can get enough people to see it,” they think the right family or owner might be found, Wehr said. 

For those who may not be the right family but still want to help, shelter officials suggest donating funds and supplies or sponsoring adoption fees.

“In some cases, a fee-waived adoption can help draw attention to particular animals,” said Wehr. “Our trained adoption counselors make sure animals go to the right home and that it’s a great fit on both sides, but if the fee-waived adoption sparks someone’s interest, then it’s worth it.”

Both Maui and Shasha’s fees have been waived.

For more information and other adoptable animals visit Midcoast Humane’s website, midcoasthumane.org.

Maui the cat waits expectantly outside Midcoast Humane’s kitchen door. (Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

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