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It is 'not a coincidence' two women get new dogs close to National Puppy Day

Experts say season for puppies and kittens peak during the spring

POSTED: March 20, 2017 5:30 p.m.
ERIN O. SMITH/The Times

Kristin Edwards and Millie Perez hold the dogs, Baxter and Bentley, they adopted from the Hall County Animal Shelter at the Buford Community Center. Perez found the first of the two she adopted, Baxter, at an adoption event at Laurel Park in Gainesville. She then returned to the Hall County Animal Shelter three weeks ago to take home Bentley.

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When a 2-month-old boxer-border collie mix puppy came into the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, she stole Lizzy Higgins’ heart.

Higgins, who is the marketing communications manager for the shelter, couldn’t resist bringing Cappuccino — Chino, for short — home March 15.

“She’s really spunky, loves toys and does a really good job at mirroring what (her fiance’s dog) does,” Higgins said.

Her fiance, Johnny Phillips, has one dog, Charley.

Higgins adopted Chino about a week before National Puppy Day, which is Thursday when “puppy season” gears up. But it wasn’t the reason she finally took the plunge.

“I finally felt like it was my time, and it was the right puppy,” Higgins said. “It’s amazing how much love you have for something so little, so quickly.”

Higgins said she chose to adopt rather than buy a dog from a breeder, because she believes in the humane society’s mission of helping homeless animals find homes.

Chino’s backstory also touched Higgins. Chino was brought to the shelter after she, her siblings and mother were found under a porch. Their mother was adopted the first day she was available. Chino and her five siblings were in foster care for a month before they were available for adoption. Higgins adopted her the day she became available.

“She’s an exceptionally good puppy,” Higgins said. “Her foster mom did a really good job training them to use a pee pad to go to the bathroom. She hasn’t had any accidents inside.”

The Humane Society of Northeast Georgia accepts hundreds of animals every month, the society’s executive director Julie Edwards said. She said by adopting a puppy, it allows the organization to rescue more.

“It allows us more space to rescue another animal in its place,” Edwards said.

Cindy Langman, program coordinator at Hall County Animal Shelter, said rescuing a shelter dog helps cut down on the homeless pet population.

“Many people in our community have a big heart when it comes to adopting a shelter pet,” she said. “Thank goodness for them, because it helps to rehome the animals.”

And the animal shelter needs the space, especially in the spring as it tends to be peak season for puppies and kittens in shelters. Animals are more active in the warmer months yielding more puppies and kittens. Colder months don’t see as many litters, Edwards said.

Langman agreed.

“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that National Puppy Day is in March,” she said. “March and April are the beginning of the puppy and kitten season.”

Puppy season is a good news-bad news situation for shelters. The good news is both have a wonderful selection of puppies available for adoption. The bad news is an increase in homeless animals having litters.

The influx of puppies led Millie Perez and her family to adopt shelter dogs.

Perez adopted her first dog, a Norwich terrier named Baxter, from Hall County Animal Shelter a couple of years ago. She met Baxter at an adoption event at Laurel Park in Gainesville.

The Buford woman brought Baxter home and spoiled him. When she decided to expand her brood, she again turned to the animal shelter.

“Three weeks ago we adopted Bentley, a Shih Tzu, when we heard she was at the animal shelter,” Perez said, indicating the 3-month-old dog tends to have more energy than her old dog brother.

Dogs and puppies adopted from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and Hall County Animal Shelter go to their new homes in the best health they can — and that means being spayed or neutered, as well as being up-to-date on vaccinations.

Adoption fees at the Hall County Animal Shelter are $85 and include a health check, vaccinations and spay or neuter.

“You know that you’re getting a healthy animal when you leave here,” Langman said.

Adoption fees at humane society are usually $150, and the pets are spayed or neutered before adoption, as well as vaccinated. Depending on their age, they will start a flea and tick and heartworm prevention.

Edwards said it’s a great deal because if you were to pay for the veterinary care yourself, it would likely cost more.

Money brought in from higher adoption fees go toward helping care for animals in the shelter for longer periods of time since the humane society does not euthanize animals.

“We try to send home the healthiest animal possible,” Edwards said. “Plus you’re saving a life. All the animals we take in here are either rescues, owner surrenders or from other facilities that have to euthanize.

The humane society works with a lot of rescues, sometimes rehoming animals as far away as New England. Sometimes an animal shortage is in other areas because animals are required by law to be spayed or neutered.

For more information about National Puppy Day, visit www.nationalpuppyday.com.  For more information about the Hall County Animal Shelter, visit www.hallcounty.org/276/Animal-Services. For more information about the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, visit www.hsnega.org.



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