Those searching for the “purrfect” Valentine’s Day cuddle buddy need look no further than the Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area’s Love Unleashed Adoption Event.

“We’ve got a lot of really cool animals and in honor of Valentine’s Day, we wanted to get the word out,” society director Sarah Hammond said. Through Feb. 22, adoption fees for all pets over the age of six months are half-off, with dogs at $60 and cats at $30. All pets are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped.

The humane society is also hoping their adoption event will remind the public to send some love their way.

“It’s kind of a two-pronged event, because we also want to let people know there are so many different ways you can help,” Hammond said. Though 2020 saw the society averaging fewer dogs than usual, 2021 has brought an influx that seems to be increasing, Hammond said.  

“So we went from being pretty comfortable all year last year, as far as dogs go, to feeling the pinch again, and that just makes us really uneasy,” she said. “The more dogs that are here, the more stressed out they get, the more behavior problems and health problems they have. To keep everybody healthy, we want to keep our inventory down.”

The humane society understands that not everybody can adopt right now, however.

“We get that, but there are a lot of folks who can come in and volunteer for a couple of hours a week,” Hammond said. “They can foster a dog in their home for a few weeks, or a cat that maybe needs some extra attention. They can even just spread the word that we’re here and we’ve got plenty of great animals. And of course, donations.”

Last year’s donations were dramatically lower than in previous years, Hammond said, and with more dogs coming in, the society is in a tough position.

“It’s understandable — a lot of folks were out of work, a lot didn’t know what was around the corner,” she said. “But that really puts us in a bind when we’ve got an animal that’s sick or injured and needs veterinary care. We work with a lot of vets around town that give us a huge discount, but we can’t expect anybody to do anything for free. Those bills — we really need help with those.”

The society is also struggling to find and obtain cleaning supplies for the shelter.

“Just like for you and me for our households, cleaning supplies have gone up in price considerably — things like gloves that our staff wears to keep from spreading illness from cage to cage,” Hammond said. “Those gloves are not only hard to come by, but they’re also about four times as expensive as they were at this time last year.

“We have all of these extra expenses coupled with our donations being so much lower last year than they were in previous years, and we’re really in a bind,” she continued. “We want to help every sick animal but when we have to think about how much it’s going to cost, we have to make some tough choices.”

Often it’s a life or death situation, Hammond said.

“Vet visits, microchips, vaccines — all of those things have a dollar amount,” she said. “Everything’s inching up and our donations are inching down and it’s a bad combination.”

Food, toys, and other things that make the animals’ stay more comfortable are also needed. They can taken to the shelter anytime during hours of operation, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Because the shelter’s lobby is too small to allow for social distancing, the society asks visitors to schedule appointments ahead of time.

“We want to limit it to being able to help one family at a time. There’s no way to social distance in our lobby — there just isn’t,” Hammond said. “If we can get a ballpark on when you’re planning on coming in, we can get it on the calendar and stagger our visitors.

“Just say, ‘Hey, I’m looking to come in Tuesday afternoon or maybe Thursday morning,’ just so we can keep our traffic flow regulated and don’t have a bunch of people in our lobby at the same time.”

Those interested in adopting, should go ahead and complete an application on the society’s website, so they know what sort of pet you’re looking for, Hammond said. 

“It gives us a chance to enter everything into the computer and then we can make an appointment for when you want to come and look around,” she said.

Though the gates will be locked, people can contact the office to be let in through a panel outside.

To schedule an appointment to visit adoptable pets or make a cash donation, go to The Humane Society of the New Braunfels Area is at 3353 Morningside Drive. For more information, call 830-629-5287.

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