Post updated at 8:35 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 28:
Lawrence Humane Society staff members were tired Sunday morning after Clear the Shelter Day.
“All of us are just dragging a little today,” said Elina Alterman, director of development at the Humane Society. “It was absolutely fantastic. 159 animals went home and slept in what is hopefully their forever homes.”
To ensure a variety of dogs and cats were adopted throughout the day, foster families brought puppies and kittens to the shelter throughout the day Saturday.
“So there were puppies adopted in the morning, and puppies adopted in the afternoon,” Alterman said.
Sarah Watts, 17, stood in a 15-minute line to adopt a 2-month-old tortoiseshell kitten she named Bagel as a companion for her cat Maple, whom Watts got at the Humane Society a few years ago. Bagel looks like the seasoning on an everything bagel, Watts laughed.
“Bagel is absolutely hilarious. She is a kitten and she is interested in everything,” Watts said. “She’s staying in my room right now and she just runs around, and just bites on shoelaces a lot and nibbles on everything. She seems very happy.”
Elle Martin, 17, was volunteering at Clear the Shelter Day when she fell in love with her new dog.
“(In the morning) I was a dog packet runner; I was radioed to take the dogs’ packets that were getting adopted to where they were so they could be processed,” Martin said. “Seeing how many animals were adopted in the first two hours was amazing.”
Martin was transitioning to a new job and walking by the kennels when her eyes locked onto 3-year-old Wiley, an Australian Shepherd mix with striking auburn eyes. Martin had dreamed of getting an Australian Shepherd puppy in the future, but after getting closer to Wiley, she decided that he was as good as any puppy.
“I fell in love with Wiley and decided that I needed him to come home with me,” Martin said. “I got my parents over to help me adopt and bring him home. I then took him home and came back (to volunteer) for my last two hours of Clear the Shelter Day.”
It was a busy day, Martin said. During the first half of the day, there were at least 40 cars in the parking lot at any given time. Lots of people wanted puppies, which went quickly. But other dogs — like Miles, an anxious 1-year-old Australian Shepherd mix who’s a “nervous pee-er” — were adopted, too.
Martin had fostered Miles for a few weeks and was able to tell the couple who adopted him more about him.
“It was a bittersweet moment for me since I have fallen in love with him but I was glad to see him go to his forever home,” Martin said. “The (couple who adopted him) had no kids and no animals, so he was going to be their only baby.”
Even though adoption fees were waived, many people donated, Martin said.
“I love that so many people came out to support the Humane Society,” Martin said. “It was nice to see so many animals get homes.”
Especially Wiley, who is now named Whiskey.
Alterman noted that those younger than 18 needed their parents present to adopt animals.
Sponsors of the event this year included NBCUniversal, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Pawsh Wash, Free State Dental, Warren-McElwain Mortuary, Central National Bank and Stranger Creek Pools Inc.
“Thank you to all our volunteers, fosters, staff, and supporters for your hard work today!” the Humane Society wrote in a social media post Saturday evening.
Here are some photos of happy new furever families, plus some photos of the staff members and volunteers who helped make it all happen.
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Chansi Long (she/her) reported for The Lawrence Times from July 2022 through August 2023. Read more of her work for the Times here.