Loudoun County Animal Services staff, volunteers and—most especially—its animals had plenty to celebrate over the holiday weekend.
The shelter’s first free holiday adoption promotion saw 44 animals find homes, including all the dogs that were available for adoption. The promotion waived all fees for its adoptable animals, which included dogs, cats, horses and small animals like turtles, guinea pigs, gerbils, birds, and rabbits.
Nina Stively, who joined the county as its director of animal services in September, said residents began lining up as early as 9 a.m. for the event, which ran from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 26. Monday morning, she had some quiet time—with only one dog at the shelter currently—to assess the event.
“It’s been a really exciting way to end the year,” she said.
This is the first time the Waterford-area shelter has held a free adoption event during the holidays. The timing was right, she noted, as many take the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, making it an ideal time to transition a new animal into the family. Stively is already looking ahead to next year, and to future adoption events.
“This is something we’d like to continue. This showed us the people of Loudoun are really excited and want to help,” animals find homes, she said. “It’s really inspiring for staff. It has made us want to work that much harder.”
One of those adopting a new pet Saturday was county employee Dorri O’Brien and her boyfriend Scott Stover. Having recently moved to a home with plenty of land near Purcellville, and with Stover desperately wanting to add a canine companion to the family, the time was right, O’Brien said.
O’Brien and Stover looked at the animal shelter’s website in the days leading up to the event, selecting a few dogs they wanted to meet. Even though they lined up well before the event’s start, one of their favorites was adopted before they could even meet it. But, luckily for them, one of their choices was still available and went home with them.
Ranger, a two-year-old American Bulldog mix, is described by O’Brien as “the sweetest boy in the world.” The couple got an opportunity to interact with Ranger both outside on the shelter property and in a meeting room at the facility.
“I really appreciated the way they did the adoption,” O’Brien said. “It was a great process.”
O’Brien said they adopted Ranger with the contingency that he had to get along with their cat. She was happy to report on Monday that the introduction went well. Now, their work turns to getting Ranger leash trained and harnessing his puppy-like energy.
As to the adoption event, O’Brien had rave reviews.
“It was amazing,” she said, noting that each adoptive family was given a gift box for their new animal, an initial complimentary veterinary visit and they even got to keep a leash for Ranger. “The whole place would cheer when there was an adoption. It was a really fulfilling experience.”
With a quiet shelter, Stively said her staff has begun making calls to shelters in southern Virginia and West Virginia to see if they can help to take in some of their animals.
“We know other folks are not as fortunate to have an empty shelter,” she said.