T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter Director Deb Watkins realizes Christmas is probably going to look different this year for a lot of people, but the prevailing trend is, “People are adopting”.

This annual adoption event, offered now through December 23rd, attempts to house animals before the holiday stress of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Adoptions will be $50 for dogs and cats, while their high profile puppies will be offered at a higher price, and are expected to go out the door quickly.

“Right now we have about 13 dogs and cats available. So, let’s get them all in homes for the holidays so that they’re in their homes for Christmas,” Watkins said. “So far our numbers this year, you know, we’ve done 972 adoptions… It is a bit higher than normal and again, what really has been amazing is the average length of stay. That’s kind of shelter world talk, but the average length of stay for a dog is only five days. [This is] their second best home but, we want them in their forever homes.”

Watkins reminds you that before adopting, make sure that where you’re living allows pets.

“Our adoption counselors help with that. We can always do call and check. Because you know, we want to make sure that that pet is safe and can be in that home kind of prevents those returns from coming back,” Watkins said. “[The] counselors also help with matching up lifestyles. And so you know, there are certain animals that need more exercise than others and, you know, are a little bit more labor intensive. So we help people to match their lifestyles with the animals that they’re wanting to adopt.”

Urging caution, Watkins suggests that whoever this animal is for, bring the person down and meet with them  in person to establish a bond to determine whether this animal is what the person is wanting, and will work for them.

“Other options are, giving kids little gift cards or make something up and put it in their stocking, ‘Hey, we’re gonna go to the shelter together as a family, and we’re getting a kitten’”, Watkins said. “Some people have walked in the door and said, ‘I’m getting a gift for my girlfriend or significant other’, and we discourage that.  Come down and pick them out because I think it’s just a lot better, and the whole adoption experience is absolutely amazing… You are saving a life.”

Watkins says her hope is these pets will find their ‘forever people.’ She also says the shelter is in need of dog and cat beds, for those in the giving mood.

“We always need cleaning supplies, cat toys, dog toys, dog beds, and cat beds. Anything from towels or linens and even your old comforters and bedspreads, because all of our animals get fresh bedding and fresh toys every day, ” Watkins said. “That does create quite a bit of laundry, so we’d love it when people clean out their closets and give us that. Of course, it’s always nice to get Amazon gift cards and things like that, so that we can get really what the shelter needs.”

If you’re looking to find a furry friend today, call 785-587-2783 to make an appointment or search Manhattan on www.petfinder.com.

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