Purring, tail wagging and squeals of delight were intermixed at the inaugural First Saturday Celebration monthly adoption event Aug. 2 at Hillsborough County’s Pet Resource Center, formerly Hillsborough County Animal Services.
Pet lovers of all ages sought furry friends to take home. Employees showed off available pooches and kitties, processed adoption applications and signed up volunteers.
Barbara Kestler, of Valrico, who shares her home with two dogs and two cats, began volunteering weekly at the center eight months ago.
“I really enjoy it,” she said.
When she and other volunteers walk the dogs, they add notes to the descriptive tags hanging on the cages. Comments such as “Likes to chase balls,” “Friendly” or “Skittish around other dogs” help prospective families make choices.
Although Virginia Brown lives in Holiday, since May she has fostered 12 cats from the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center. She helped out at the First Saturday Celebration.
“My kids love it!” she said. “I started with five bottle feeders, and my 8-year-old helped me with them. I’m taking home two kittens today. I take care of them and bring them back after they hit 2 pounds. It usually takes three months for them to reach that. At that point, they can be neutered and adopted.”
About a dozen adoptable cats romped around volunteer Laine Armstrong, of Tampa, in a cat-colony viewing room. She currently fosters four cats and two terriers while working as a full-time fire sprinkler designer.
“I really hope someone adopts these. They’re great,” she said, picking up a wiggling gray kitten from the beehive of activity around her.
Three-year-old Erick Ford; his 1-year-old brother, Jonathan; and their dad, Dwayne Ford of Riverview, adopted a dog from Hillsborough County a while back.
“Erick has come back several times since then to donate to the Pet Resource Center,” said Ford. After Erick heard about First Saturday, he wanted to come again.
Why does a 3-year-old want to help the shelter? It’s simple, really.
“I like dogs,” said Erick.
First Saturday celebrations will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first Saturday of every month at the Pet Resource Center, 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa. Adoptions cost as little as $20 and include spaying or neutering, vaccinations, a microchip and county license tag.
Normal operating hours — for adopting, searching for missing pets and buying pet license tags — are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week. The center can be reached at (813) 744-5660 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Send news of community interest to Barbara.Routen@gmail.com.