By Maddie Orton
The thought of a waggedy puppy or kitten wrapped in a bow might be a tempting holiday gift, but online retailer Zappos is partnering with local shelters this weekend to urge pet shoppers to look there first. The company’s Home for the Pawlidayz event offers free adoptions at select shelters like the Liberty Humane Society from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
Irene Borngraeber is Executive Director of the Liberty Humane Society. She says the shelter often sees animals surrendered when they reach nine months to a year in age — basically when they’re full-size and training has either kicked in or hasn’t.
“They’ve actually done away with the stigma of no pets as gifts ever, but I would say surprises in general are kind of rough — especially when you’re dealing with an animal because you don’t know if somebody’s going on vacation, you don’t know if somebody is prepared to make that commitment to a pet at that time,” Borngraeber said.
Last year, over 6,200 pets were adopted nationwide through this Home for the Pawlidayz event. And this year, Zappos is pushing the goal to 9,000 — that’s to honor the number of dogs and cats put down across the country each day because they can’t find a home.
“In the facility now, about 150 cats total and 50 dogs,” explained Borngraeber. “And then in foster care, probably another 75 animals. The need out there just outpaces what we have in terms of resources.”
Less than 30 percent of pets taken into homes are adopted from shelters, according to the Pawlidayz event. Borngraeber says part of that is the stigma attached to shelter animals.
She said, “The stigmas against animal adoption are largely figuring out and not knowing where animals come from, possibly what their breed is, if they have any different behavioral challenges and then if they’re able to bond as adults with a new human. And I would say all of those concerns are things that are either completely unfounded or can be mitigated.”
In fact, pet shopping at a shelter can help ensure finding the right furry friend for your family.
“The personalities of animals are not fixed until they are approximately nine months to a year and a half old because, generally, a lot of the animals we have are above that one year mark, we know who they are; we know their personalities, we know their character and we know what would be a good fit for them in a family,” Borngraeber said.
If you’re looking to help, but can’t take on a new addition to the family this holiday season, no worries. The Liberty Humane Society is coming to the close of it’s 40,000 Pound Challenge. They’re seeking donations of foods and funds for the cats the dogs until they find their forever homes.