Austin Brown, of Bremerton, came to the Kitsap Humane Shelter on Saturday because he was looking for a friend for his 5-year-old cat, Mia.
Shurrina Galvez, of Bremerton, brought her son, J.J., on his third birthday, and daughter, Denise-Shurri Maclin, age 7, to look at kittens and puppies.
And just about every other visitor during the three-day adopt-a-thon hoped to leave with a new member of the family. All of them were helping to empty the shelter during the Mega Match Adopt-a-thon.
The Mega Match is an ASPCA-sponsored national adoption event to find as many homes for animals as possible in just three days, said Rachel Bearbower, marketing and events manager for KHS. Kitsap Humane Society’s goal was to send home 111 animals to forever homes, which was three-times the number of pets adopted on the same weekend last year.
And they met that goal by 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. In all, they adopted 198 animals (147 cats, 50 dogs and one bunny) during the three days. Seventy-seven animals were adopted Friday, 70 on Saturday and 51 on Sunday.
For Brown, the adopt-a-thon was motivation to get to the shelter.
“I’ve been wanting to find a companion for my other cat for sometime,” Brown said. “But I just hadn’t done it. When I found out about the adopt-a-thon, I knew now was the time.”
He had come out Friday and was considering a smaller cat that would fit with his five-pound Mia. But just as he arrived on Saturday, that cat was leaving with another family. So he wandered looking at the other available cats. His mother was on the way to the shelter to help him make a decision.”I just need a smaller cat, maybe a kitten,” he said. “I don’t think a big cat would work because Mia is pretty small.”
As he looked a a tortie kitten named Sam, more than 75 volunteers were helping potential pet parents make their matches.
“We’re making sure to counsel everyone who comes in today just as we do every day,” said Bearbower. “We want to make sure that we make the right matches because we don’t want these pets to be coming back when things don’t work.”
As many as 30 staff members were working during the three day event which began Friday and ended on Sunday. Along with volunteers they were counseling adopters, cleaning cages, showing animals, and entering the necessary paperwork in the computer, keeping track of where all the dogs, cats, kittens. puppies and bunnies were going.
Each animal that was adopted went home with a collar and identification tag for free, said Bearbower. Each animal was microchipped, spayed or neutered and had been given the necessary vaccinations.
And because of the event, adoption fees were reduced. A special deal was offered for those who wanted to take home black kittens.”We have so many this season,” Bearbower said. “Some people won’t adopt a back cat or kitten because they have that stigma of bad luck. And black cats don’t seem to show as well because you can’t always see them in their kennels.”
While many animals went to new homes, there were a few “special needs” pets that found new homes that stood out to shelter staff. Faith, an overweight white shorthair cat, who had been in the shelter for a year, found a home.
She found a great home,” said Natalie Smith, director of animal welfare at KHS. “We’ve already gotten pictures from her new family showing her lounging on the couch in her new home.”
And Buster, a pit bull-mix, who had been in the shelter several months, also was adopted.
As for the Galvez family, they found a match — a cat named Ponch — to take home for their other cat, Rye, to meet.And Sam — the female tortie — went home with Brown.
“She’s doing great,” he said Sunday, of the kitten which he’s calling Sammy. “She’s fitting right in and she’s running Mia ragged because she’s a kitten and she’s got lots of energy. But that’s a good thing.”
For Bearbower, the adopt-a-thon was a great way to motivate folks to come to the shelter.
“I don’t think it’s the discounts so much as it is just giving people a reason to take the time to come to the shelter,” she said. “The discounts do help some people. Whatever the reason we’re just so glad we’re doing this. This is our first real effort like this and it was a great success.”