The dog kennels at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia were packed full Friday, but not just with dogs.
More than 30 Humane Society supporters, volunteers and employees participated Friday in the Adoption Angels Lock In, according to Sam Threadgill, community relations director.
“We have a program called the Adoption Angel Sponsorship Program,” Threadgill said. “So you can come in and donate to a specific animal, to sponsor their adoption fee.”
The event set an initial fundraising goal of $10,000, and participants set their own goals, ranging from $100 to $1,000. They would be “locked” in their kennel until meeting their “bail” or fundraising goals, and participants used social media to fundraise in the weeks leading up to Friday, according to Threadgill.
The goal was met quickly and then raised to $15,000. Before the event started Friday morning, nearly $20,000 had already been raised.
But the purpose of the event was not only to raise money.
“People are being locked in here to experience for one day — or even a couple hours — what the dogs experience every day,” Threadgill said. “It’s not only to raise their bail money, but to raise awareness of how they live their lives here and how important it is to find their forever homes.”
Some volunteers met their goal prior to the event and were not locked in, but many chose to raise their goals and continue to fundraise from the kennels.
Participant Taylor Lee said she recently had to put her own dog down, and wanted to participate in his memory. She had already raised $550 by 10 a.m. Friday.
Fellow Participant Terri Chase said she has four dogs of her own, two of which were rescues from the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia. She’s worked with rescue organizations for 20 years, she said.
“I just wanted to be part of it,” she said from a kennel with a dog named Phyllis. “God just gave me a heart for animals.”
Tara Holland, publisher of the Gainesville-Flowery Branch Macaroni Kid website, brought her 2-year-old daughter Emi to participate in the Lock In. Macaroni Kid of Gainesville-Flowery Branch is a website for family-friendly events and activities in the Hall County area, and Holland partnered with the Humane Society to support the event.
Friday marked the first Adoption Angel Lock In for the Gainesville-located Humane Society at 845 W. Ridge Road, and Threadgill said she was pleased with the success of the event.
Because the initial goal was met, all dogs in the large dog room have had their adoption fees waived, she said. Fees can cost about $100 per dog.
“We’re really excited,” she said. “It’s really cool because it’s all been done through social media, word of mouth and people having friends and family donate to bail them out. And this really helps the dogs get adopted.”