Canine Christmas aims to find homes for shelter dogs
Bella posing in her Santa hat

Canine Christmas aims to find homes for shelter dogs

All photos courtesy of Sergio Salinas

As Christmas shopping season approaches, everyone is out on the hunt for a special gift. One gift that is usually atop many kids’ wish lists is a puppy. Horror stories of breeders abusing their animals have detracted many potential buyers from purchasing bred puppies, leading to adopting from shelters to become more popular. The Bishop Animal Shelter Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (S.P.C.A.) of Manatee County, Fla. held a Canine Christmas adoption event on Saturday Nov. 16 to find loving homes for their shelter dogs.

The Bishop Animal Shelter works primarily as an adoption facility that houses cats, dogs, birds and other small animals, with the goal of finding them permanent homes. Bishop Animal Shelter receives their animals from other shelters who cannot hold onto those animals any longer or from owners looking to surrender a pet they can no longer take care of.

Adopting a pet is a big responsibility and the shelter vets potential adopters through a series of checks. First, the shelter sees if the person looking to adopt has had any charges of animal abuse or neglect in the past. Then, a home inspection is done to ensure the animal will have sufficient space and be comfortable. Occasionally, when there is another pet already in the home, a behavioral check will be done to ensure the two pets get along in the same living space. If all the checks go through then a pet can finally be adopted into a new home.

The Canine Christmas had a variety of events and booths for visitors to attend and learn more about adopting, the needs of the animals and the services shelters and rescue teams provide.

In one booth the Gulf Coast Golden Retriever Rescue (GCGRR) team brought three golden retrievers to show off. One was named Bella and she walked around the event with a Santa outfit and a vest where people could slip in donations. Bella was abandoned and found by a nice lady who took Bella in. However, she eventually could no longer take care of Bella due to health problems and turned her over to the GCGRR. Bella eventually found a permanent home over three years ago but remains a part of the GCGRR family. The GCGRR’s slogan reads “Healing Golden Hearts” and by simply meeting Bella it is easy to see that the GCGRR follows its slogan very closely.

The Humane Society of Manatee County (HSMC) also had a booth where they presented information about adoptions and volunteering. The HSMC has six volunteer programs: canine care, feline friends, office angel, outreach, fostering and veterinary center assistant. Like many other shelters, the HSMC is a nonprofit, fueled by private donations and volunteers. Of the three dogs the HSMC brought along to the event, two found homes.

Shelters provide a better alternative for animals without a home, as they operate without killing any animals. With a dedicated volunteer force and donors willing to pitch in, shelters are able to operate efficiently providing the care necessary for the animals in their care. With Christmas shopping season around the corner, plenty of people will be looking for new pets. Hopefully, there will be a lot of forever homes waiting for the animals of Bishop Animal Center and the Humane Societies in Manatee and Sarasota County. 

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