A long line of people waited patiently outside the Humane Society of Vero Beach and Indian County, hoping to find and bring home a new furry family member on the day National Clear the Shelters.
By the end of the day, 80 animals had found their permanent homes: 38 dogs, 40 cats and two pigs. These figures brought the total number of adoptions during the period from August 1 to August 28 to 236 – 101 dogs, 127 cats and eight other animals, including these oinkers.
“This is the best day of my life. Look at this crowd. We had four adoptions right off the bat,” HSVBIRC CEO Kate Meghji said at the start of the event.
“This is a national event that was started by NBC and Telemundo in 2015 to help shelters empty out in the summer when they are most crowded. And it turned into this spectacular success. It is a party.
Although shelters, sadly, still have an endless supply of animals available for adoption, Meghji says there’s something about the collective response when shelters say, “We need help.
“It inspires people who may be considering adopting to say, ‘We are ready and want to support this great initiative on this incredible day,'” Meghji said. “I mean look at this, you can feel the energy.”
Many staff and volunteers, wearing T-shirts that said, “Saving animals is kind of my thing”, effectively managed the orderly crowd, which had been separated into lines of dogs and lines of cats.
Those looking for kittens or older cats were brought into these rooms, and if one of the purring felines melted their hearts, volunteers handled the paperwork on site.
Many of those chasing dogs had already looked online for available puppies and dogs and, once registered, were escorted to meet their future companions. Others, who wanted to graze, were brought back with dog handlers to meet the dogs. After the paperwork was processed, there was space for family photos.
Among the most wanted were a dozen adorable puppies, all of whom have found homes.
One of those lucky puppies was 3-month-old mixed-breed Delaney, who returned home with Cassandra and Charles Mergott and their 18-month-old daughter Shaylee, who was completely in love with the new family member.
Totally adorable, no one could guess the pup’s heritage, but Charles said they were told the mother was a shepherd and a husky and a boxer were likely in the mix.
“We saw them online and decided we wanted to come see the puppies,” Cassandra said, noting that they were among the first to be there.
Pointing to her husband, she added: “Her old dog’s name was Delaney so it was just kind of fate because her name is Delaney.”
In the kitten room, 4-year-old Isabella hoped to convince her parents Brittaney and Alexander Colon-Figueroa to adopt an adorable little black and white “tuxedo cat”, who sported white on the tip of her nose and paws and some impressive white mustaches.
The kitten was clearly looking to make an impression as he lovingly licked Isabella’s hand.
“It’s her first time with cats, but she loves cats,” Brittaney said, noting that her mother in Michigan has one that Isabella sees when they Facetime. “Bella sees the cat all the time and she begged us, so we thought we’d come over today.”
To anyone unable to adopt that day, Meghji advised, “There will be more animals tomorrow, next week and the week after. So the problem is there. We will have dogs and cats 365 days a year.
HSVBIRC had waived adoption fees for the day, and as with all animals they adopt, they had been spayed or spayed, were up to date with vaccines, and were microchipped. The non-profit organization is “dedicated to helping and protecting the animals of Indian River County and helping owners keep their pets in their homes.” In addition to adoptions, HSVBIRC operates a wellness clinic and owns thrift stores in Vero Beach and Sebastian.
For more information, visit hsvb.org or call 772-388-3331.
Pictures of Joshua Kodis